The Shepherd Alliance brings together students, faculty, and staff from four unique institutions: Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, Morehouse and Spelman Colleges in Atlanta, Georgia, and Washington and Lee University–Law and undergraduate schools–in Lexington, Virginia. In addition, Bonner Scholars at other institutions are eligible to participate. While the geographic distance between the schools is great, it is the demographic differences that distinguish each and which provide one of the most enriching aspects of the program. With a commitment to academic excellence and dedication to service, participants from each school bring to the table a unique knowledge and experience base from which to draw during their summer placement and with which to enrich fellow participants during the opening and closing conferences.

Washington and Lee’s Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability integrates academic study and learning through service and reflection. It endeavors to inform our students about poverty and what can be done to foster human capabilities for communities and individuals who have been left behind in domestic and international development.

It promotes a structure for student leadership and volunteer service in the local Rockbridge community and summer internships across the nation as a part of Washington and Lee’s effort to accentuate student honor, leadership, and learning.

In keeping with our university mission to cultivate a readiness to sacrifice on behalf of others, the Shepherd program seeks to offer opportunities for students to acquire skills and qualities of character that dispose them to serve communities and disadvantaged individuals.

In combination, this threefold effort helps our graduates develop a stronger sense of vocation. We hope they will be conscious of how their conduct as professionals and citizens will affect the opportunities of disadvantaged persons to contribute to a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities. Thus, the Shepherd Program is integral to the total education on which Washington and Lee prides itself.