In September 1852, Lee became the superintendent of West Point. During his three years at West Point, Brevet Colonel Robert E. Lee improved the buildings and courses, and spent a lot of time with the cadets. Lee's oldest son, George Washington Custis Lee, attended West Point during his tenure. Custis Lee graduated in 1854, first in his class.
After graduating from West Point, Lee became a member of the U.S. Army and began a long and remarkable military career. He distinguished himself in the Mexican War earning three honorary field promotions. His accomplishments were many including Assistant to the Chief of the Engineer Corps and Superintendent of West Point. In later years he was appointed president of a college in Lexington, Virginia that was later renamed Washington and Lee University in honor of his outstanding years of service.