The Bonner Program

The Bonner Program is a unique leadership development program for students with an interest in service and social responsibility. Students are given a framework to be involved in community service while receiving financial support. 

Bonners participate in service based on their career, educational, and service interests. Six Common Commitments guide Bonners:

  1. Social Justice - Advocating for fairness, impartiality, and equality while addressing systemic social and environmental issues.
  2. Civic Engagement - Participating intentionally as a citizen by actively engaging in public policy and direct service.
  3. Spiritual Exploration - Exploring personal beliefs while respecting the spiritual practices of others.
  4. Diversity - Respecting and embracing the many different dimensions of diversity in our lives and communities.
  5. International Perspective - Developing understanding to participate successfully and sensitively in a global society.
  6. Community Building - Establishing and sustaining a vibrant community through relationships and common interests.

Program Details

W&L Bonners are eligible to receive work-study wages for service in the community and receive financial support for activities, such as conferences, internships, individual projects, and workshops. In addition to an interest in service, most students must demonstrate financial need as evidenced by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Bonners are expected to participate during all four years at W&L, completing 1800-hours of service and leadership training. Bonners participate in at least 280 hours of service and leadership training each academic year and are encouraged to complete two summers of full-time service. Bonners also:

  • Participate in Bonner Cornerstone activities, such as Orientation, First-Year Service Trip, Sophomore Service Exchange, and Senior Service Capstone Presentation
  • Assume leadership roles 
  • Participate in a student developmental model that challenges each Scholar to develop skills, knowledge, commitments, and responsibilities
  • Commit to making connections between  service and education at W&L
  • Receive work-study wages for service work
  • Funded group service trips 
  • Peers who share a passion for social justice
  • Mentoring from program staff
  • Structured leadership development program, that includes guest speakers, focused-skills training, and leadership workshops.
  • Funding for conferences and training focused on social justice and leadership
  • Connections with students at other Bonner schools 

While prospective students who have applied to W&L may apply to the Bonner Program, only those students who have been admitted to the University will be considered. 

Applications for the program are accepted on a rolling basis from February 1 - April 10. 

Office of Admissions

Gilliam House
19 Letcher Avenue
Lexington, Virginia 24450

Bonner Program

Marisa Charley
Mattingly House
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia 24450

Passion Points to the Perfect Profession

Bonner Scholar
Hannah Denham '20 has combined business journalism with women and gender studies at W&L to create a liberal arts education that suits her interests and ambition.