The University began construction on the Chapel in 1867 at the request of Robert E. Lee, who served as president from 1865 to 1870 of what was then called Washington College. His son, George Washington Custis Lee of VMI, proposed the simple Victorian design; Col. Thomas Williamson, also of VMI, drew up the plans and specifications. Built of brick and native limestone, the Chapel was completed in time for graduation exercises in 1868. Lee attended weekday worship services here with the students and the lower level housed his office, the treasurer's office and the library. For more information on the 20th century history of the Chapel see Lee Chapel on Digital Humanities under our featured links.