The University's original athletic center, Doremus Gymnasium is named for New York stockbroker Robert P. Doremus, whose estate funded the University's original gymnasium and swimming pool. Doremus holds a small gym, the University’s Fitness Center, and staff offices. Presently, Doremus is under renovation, though a small Fitness Center will remain open during construction.
DID YOU KNOW?
While visiting Washington and Lee shortly before his death in 1913, Robert P. Doremus, a New York stockbroker, was greeted by a student who offered to escort him around the campus and show him points of interest. Doremus had come to Washington and Lee because he had decided that he would bestow his estate upon a Southern institution in honor of his Southern mother. He was in the process of visiting several schools, entirely unannounced, in order to determine which of them would receive the estate. Mr. Doremus was so impressed with the unidentified student's friendliness and courtesy that he did not complete his intended visit to UVA, and instead returned to New York right away. Upon his return, he provided in his will that upon the death of Mrs. Doremus, his entire estate should be given to Washington and Lee University. After Mr. Doremus' death that same year, his widow gave to the University its gymnasium and indoor swimming pool, estimated to have cost between $80,000 and $100,000. The building, completed in 1915, was named the Doremus Memorial Gymnasium. In 1936, after the death of Mrs. Doremus, the provisions of her late husband's will were carried out, and the entire estate, amounting to $1.5 million, was given to the University.