General Policy for All Use of Lee Chapel
Washington and Lee University departments and University-sanctioned campus organizations are permitted to use designated areas in the Lee Chapel & Museum. This use is confined to programs of the university, the Lee Chapel and Museum and those that relate directly to the university's overall educational, cultural and social goals.
Activities in the Chapel need not be religious in nature, but all events must respect the integrity of the space and must not compromise the site's function as a university venue and public museum. Use of the Chapel is subject to guidelines and restrictions necessary to protect the historic integrity of the site and its collections, as well as the safety and health of visitors and staff. Permission to use Lee Chapel does not imply endorsement, sponsorship, or support by the Chapel of the views, opinions, programs, or activities of the speakers, presenters, or organizers.
The operation and control of the Lee Chapel & Museum is vested in the Site Manager in accordance with approved policies and rates, subject to periodic review. The Lee Chapel Site Manager reserves the right to deny a request judged not to be fully within the mission and intentions of this policy and guidelines.
A Lee Chapel Staff member is available to answer questions regarding Chapel reservations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Because of other duties, an appointment should be scheduled in advance.
Contact our staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-458-8768.
Who May Schedule an Event in Lee Chapel?
Because the Lee Chapel and Museum functions as the university chapel, use of the building is available only for those groups who meet the following criteria:
Any University department, program, or Recognized Student Organization requesting to use a University facility for its own purposes. For purposes of clarification, a University department, program, or Recognized Student Organization is not considered an internal group if it is requesting the use of Lee Chapel on behalf of or for the use of an external group. Internal Groups must submit a Internal Group Reservation Form prior to their event. An event will be held tentative until all information regarding the event has been supplied. See Forms.
Please note: in keeping with university policy, the solid pocket doors of the Recumbent Lee statue chamber will be closed with flags in front for all internal group events.
An external group sponsored by an Internal Group while meeting the following conditions or requirements:
- The Sponsored Group and the associated use of Lee Chapel is consistent with our mission
- The Internal Group has direct involvement with planning and execution of the event.
- Requests for these organizations MUST be submitted by the Internal Group. A reservation form and a Sponsored Event Protocol Form must be completed. See Forms.
- A representative from both the Sponsored Group and Internal Group, who will assume full responsibility for the group's event, must be present at all times during the event.
For clarification, an external group is any group, individual, organization, or program not directly affiliated with the University. External groups may reach out to those defined as an internal group for sponsorship.
Approval of requests for Sponsored Groups lies solely with the Site Manager, and may require the endorsement of the Director of the Museums. Fees for the use of the space will apply. See Fees.
Requests made by an Internal Group or a Sponsored Group to use University Facilities for Major Events must be made at least four (4) weeks prior to the date of the Major Event. Major Event means any Event where one or more of the following applies:
1. Over 50 people are anticipated to attend the Event;
2. Public Safety determines that the Event is likely to impact campus safety or security, or require coordination with local law enforcement or other external agencies;
3. The Event is likely to interfere with other University business, functions, and/or activities; or
4. Alcohol is intended to be served (other than strictly for religious purposes).
Please review the University Facilities Use Policy for more information.
Funeral and Memorial Services
The Lee Chapel auditorium is an unconsecrated and non-denominational space. Funeral Services are restricted to current or retired members of the University faculty and staff, as well as the current student body, who have died within the past year. Memorial services are restricted to the immediate University family, listed above, as well as alumni who have been living in the immediate vicinity (Lexington and Rockbridge County), who have died within the past year. Approval of requests for funeral and memorial services lies solely with the Site Manager, and may require the endorsement of the Director of Institutional History.
The Lee Chapel auditorium is available for wedding ceremonies for W&L students listed in the University Directory for the current year, current and retired faculty and staff listed in the University Directory, alumni listed in the W&L Alumni Directory, university-related board members and officers emeriti, and the son or daughter of any of these individuals. As a courtesy and when scheduling permits, the Lee Chapel also hosts Virginia Military Institute students (when Jackson Memorial Hall is unavailable), Lexington City, Buena Vista and Rockbridge County residents not otherwise affiliated with the university, and out of region weddings. Fees will apply.
Requests for the auditorium must fulfill the requirements outlined in the wedding policies under Weddings section of this website.
Because most major events are planned well in advance, it is unlikely that the university would require the Lee Chapel auditorium if it has not been previously scheduled. However, for the rare exception, usually an emergency, the university always has priority. Scheduled users will be notified as early as possible in order to accommodate a change in venue.
For complete information on scheduling the Chapel, see Scheduling and Reservations.