For four years, Lea Booth '40 was a member of Washington and Lee's baseball teams as a pitcher and first baseman under Cap'n Dick Smith's coaching and was one of the team's top hitters and pitchers his senior year. But, his contributions to W&L athletics were just beginning.
The journalism major spent two years writing for the Ring Tum Phi and then worked as the assistant director for W&L's news bureau his final years as an undergraduate.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, he returned to W&L in 1946 as Director of Public Relations and the University's first full-time sports publicist. Booth brought national attention to his alma mater through his extraordinary work with W&L athletics, such as promoting broad visibility for the 1950 Gator Bowl football team. He was also responsible for W&L being chosen for the Associated Press' Sports Oddities of the Year at least twice in the late 1940's.
Booth was granted a leave of absence from W&L in 1951 to serve as Chief Clerk of the Administration Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. After three years working in Congress, her was persuaded by W&L President Francis Pendleton Gaines to pioneer development of the Virginia Foundation for Independant Colleges.
Booth devoted 30 years to promoting that organization of 12 Virginia colleges, which was cited as the nation's most productive among 40 similar organizations, providing millions of dollars in operating support for the benefiting institutions.
Booth has remained W&L's No. 1 fan, making frequent pilgrimages over the mountains from his Lynchburg home to cheer on the Generals.