George Washington, whose birthday we observe twice this week, has contributed more than his name to Washington & Lee University. To this day, he is continuing to pay -- in hard cash -- part of the tuition of the 1,600 students who attend the four-year school at Lexington, Va. His postmortem annual contribution is $3.54 per student.
According to the university, this is how it came about:
In 1796, during his last year as president, he gave Liberty Hall Academy at Lexington a gift of James River Canal Co. stock then valued at $50,000. At the time, it was the largest gift ever given to American higher education. So the academy changed its name to Washington Academy.
The proceeds from the sale of the canal stock remain part of the university's endowment, calculated to yield $3.54 per present-day student.
W&L's second name was added much later to honor Gen. Robert E. Lee, the Confederate officer who became the college's president for five years after the Civil War.
The name linkage of Washington and Lee is appropriate: Lee's father, Gen. Henry (Light Horse Harry) Lee, was a Revolutionary War compatriot of Washington and a fellow Alexandrian. Taking a Stand for Seats
An individual can, indeed, make a difference in dealing with the bureaucracy. A former Metro commuter from Arlington, who asks anonymity, was peeved that he and many others -- including the elderly and disabled -- had to stand for long periods beneath a half-block-long shelter canopy outside the Rosslyn subway station while waiting for the next Lee Highway bus.
So he wrote to Metro. The letter was forwarded to the Arlington County government, which maintains bus stop facilities. Recently, bus passengers were pleased to find two benches bolted to the sidewalk. Now, if the bus riders want to show their appreciation, they might stop littering the bus shelter area with trash -- notably hamburger packages, wrappers and cups. It's disgraceful, all the more because there are three architecturally attractive trash receptacles in the shelter. After the Fall . . .
D.C. City Council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large) contributes to the public weal with a card, sent to those on her mailing list, reminding people that, by city law, "within the first eight daylight hours after snow or sleet stops falling, any owner or renter . . . must remove the snow or sleet from the abutting pavement or lay down some abrasive that will make pedestrian travel safe."
Also, she notes, a car that stalls or gets stuck on any marked "snow emergency route" cannot legally be abandoned: "The driver is required to get the car off . . . . " Easier said than done.