Course Project

As a lab course, we need to centralize our work around a course project. Our starting point will be to learn about the shift in student demographics at W&L over time.  Some still think of W&L as a Southern institution, but any conversations with students on campus today quickly reveal that the student body includes many from New Jersey, Massachusetts, and other Northern states as well as the midwest. But how do we quantify and visualize that information?

And there’s the strong assumption that W&L students historically have been from the South. We will collect the data to show exactly where W&L students have come from over the years. We will develop an interactive map that visualizes the origins of W&L students from 1790 until 2015. In this Fall Term we will not complete every year of that data set, but we will establish the structural foundation and create version 1.0 of the interactive map.

Data sets

Our baseline source for current student data is the student information sheet provided by the registar office. I have sanitized the data to remove names and ID numbers.

Our baseline source for student data from the period prior to 1888 is the 1888 Catalogue of the Officers and Alumni of Washington and Lee University (1749-1888), which is available in digital form through the Internet Archive and the HathiTrust. We will use the data in that catalogue to create our initial data set. Later, we will cross reference this initial data set with additional records.

Sample Maps

Students attending W&L in Fall 2015, grouped by year of anticipated graduation. (International students not included.)


Heat map of students attending W&L in the fall of 2015

Map of students based on membership in Fraternities and Sororities. First-year students are excluded.

Map of 2015 KA membership by hometown.

Heat map of students atending W&L: Class of 1862