To "ad lib" can mean to speak, play or work in an impromptu, unplanned manner. Effective ad libbing happens when one is well prepared for the situation, with knowledge and experience to inform what needs to be done in the immediacy of a particular moment.

The fields of advertising, marketing and communications, and related fields of application like digital or social media, are changing literally every day. It is almost impossible to plan exactly what needs to be done in a particular situation by relying on the old ways of doing things. To know what to do, students must rely less on what has been done in the past and more on acquiring a depth of knowledge about people, culture and communications.

As a liberal arts institution, Washington and Lee University encourages students to explore the human condition, to be curious and to think both critically and creatively. W&L provides the perfect preparation for students who want to go into advertising, marketing and communications careers.

At W&L, we use "AdLib" as shorthand for "Advertising and the Liberal Arts." The resulting programming-far from improvised-is a thoughtful exploration of a profession that is always changing.

The AdLib Conference was founded in 2011 and has grown into a daylong conference and networking opportunity that brings alumni who work in the industry back to campus to share trends, best practices and lessons learned with current students.