West Virginia Wesleyan College

private liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia

Encyclopedia from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

West Virginia Wesleyan College
Latin: Wesleyanum Collegium Virginiae Occidentalis
Former name
Wesleyan University of West Virginia (1905–1906)
TypePrivate college
Established1890; 132 years ago (1890)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Academic affiliations
Endowment$42.4 million
PresidentJames Moore (interim)
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

38°59′19″N 80°13′18″W / 38.98861°N 80.22167°W / 38.98861; -80.22167Coordinates: 38°59′19″N 80°13′18″W / 38.98861°N 80.22167°W / 38.98861; -80.22167
ColorsOrange and Black   
NicknameBobcats and Lady Bobcats
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II - MEC

West Virginia Wesleyan College is a private college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. It has an enrollment of about 1,400 students from 35 U.S. states and 26 countries. The school was founded in 1890 by the West Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is currently affiliated with the United Methodist Church. West Virginia Wesleyan College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Main Hall, 1908

Early history

West Virginia Wesleyan College was founded in 1890 by the West Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The school opened on September 3, 1890, in a new three-story brick building that was where the current Lynch-Raine Administration Building now stands. Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Theology alumnus Bennett W. Hutchinson was the college's first president.

Following ten years focusing on college preparatory work, college-level instruction was first offered in 1900 culminating in the first baccalaureate degrees in 1905. For one year the institution was named Wesleyan University of West Virginia but it was quickly changed to West Virginia Wesleyan College in honor of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Pre-college instruction continued until 1923 when it was discontinued because the high schools in the state had grown enough to adequately perform that task.

Recent years

Dr. Pamela Jubin Balch, a 1971 graduate of Wesleyan, became the college's 18th president in July 2006. Dr. Balch is the first woman to serve as president in the college's history. At the outset of her tenure as President, Balch reinstated the college's briefly-discontinued nursing program as well as its 3-2 engineering program. The college has since expanded its academic programs, adding graduate degrees in athletic training, business administration, English Writing, and nursing.

In 2009 Wesleyan opened the $7.2 million Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts followed shortly thereafter by the $8.9 million David E. Reemsnyder Research Center in 2010. A series of residential improvements to the campus were realized in the construction of a new 140-bed residence hall on Camden Avenue as well as a comprehensive renovation and restructuring of Fleming Hall, the college's second oldest permanent residence hall after Agnes Howard Hall. Adding to its already-beautiful and decidedly park-like campus, Wesleyan developed a sprawling green space in front of Wesley Chapel and included a fountain that had long been envisioned for the space since President Stanley Martin's campus master plan of the mid-1960s. Recent academic restructuring has contributed to the academic success of the college, with individual departments now consolidated into seven schools: Arts and Humanities, Athletic Training and Exercise Science, Business, Education, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences. The College has seen consistent enrollment growth, with the number of students growing from 1,150 in 2006 to around 1,400 at present.

Wesleyan students have also enjoyed national success. During the Balch presidency, nine Wesleyan students have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships and one student became the first student from any West Virginia college or university student to become a Mitchell Scholar. Wesleyan's Students in Free Enterprise team has finished among the top 40 in the nation the past two years and Wesleyan ranks fifth among all NCAA Division II colleges and universities in the number of Academic Achievement Award winners. Wesleyan students have also been named NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship winners each of the last two years. Over 300 science majors have participated in federal and state-funded scientific research projects during the past five years.


The college offers over 50 undergraduate majors and 33 minors. Wesleyan also has 3-2 engineering partnerships with Marshall University and West Virginia University. Undergraduate degrees are awarded in Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Music Education. Graduate degrees awarded include the Master of Science in Athletic Training, Master of Business Administration, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and Master of Science in Nursing.

Approximately 80% of West Virginia Wesleyan's faculty have earned doctorates or comparable terminal degrees within their field. The student-faculty ratio is 14 to 1, with an average class size of 19.


Panorama of West Virginia Wesleyan College
West Virginia Wesleyan College
West Virginia Wesleyan College welcome sign on the corner of College Avenue and Meade Street
Statue of John Wesley in front of Wesley Chapel at WV Wesleyan College

The campus boasts 23 major buildings of Georgian architecture, a legacy of the presidency of Stanley H. Martin (1957–1972). The grounds are situated in a park-like setting of more than 100 acres. The campus also hosts a variety of local flora, such as white oak and spruce trees, dogwoods, laurels, and rhododendrons. Some of the recognizable buildings on campus are the Lynch-Raine Administration building, Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, Reemsnyder Research Center, and Wesley Chapel, which is the highest capacity chapel in West Virginia.

Student life

Wesleyan has retained its residential character; about 90% of the students live on campus, due to its inclusive campus housing policies.

There are 21 NCAA Division II sports teams, and 70 clubs and organizations.

The college's athletics teams are the Bobcats, which compete in the NCAA Division II Mountain East Conference, of which it was a founding member in 2013. The Bobcats were former members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), having been recognized as having the top athletic program in the WVIAC.by winning, over 151 conference championships and earning a conference dominance of 18 Commissioner's Cups during the past 20 years[when?] and eight Presidents' Cups in 14 years. Each year, Wesleyan's 21 NCAA II teams successfully[clarification needed] compete at the regional and national levels. Wesleyan also ranks fifth among all NCAA II schools in the number of Academic Achievement Award winners.

The Greek system was initiated on campus in 1925, when the Board of Trustees authorized the establishment of two sororities and three fraternities. The four Panhellenic-affiliated sororities are Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, and Zeta Tau Alpha. The five Interfraternity Council-affiliated fraternities are Alpha Sigma Phi, Chi Phi, the Kappa Alpha Order, Theta Chi, and Theta Xi. There are also many additional organizational brotherhoods, sisterhoods, and honorary groups on campus including Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Psi Omega, Beta Beta Beta, Kappa Phi, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Sigma Alpha Iota, Sigma Tau Epsilon, Sigma Tau Delta, and Sigma Theta Epsilon.

Wesleyan students are highly active in community engagement projects. Some 87% of students participate in community service through the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development (CCE). The CCE has been recognized on both a state and national level for its community service endeavors.[1][2] Students in the CCE also organized the first collegiate Jump Rope for Heart events in the United States.[3]

Wesleyan traditions


Many features of modern campus life at Wesleyan have long traditions. The college currently boasts 21 sports, competing in NCAA Division II. The college offers varsity men's sports in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field. The college offers varsity women's sports in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and volleyball. The 21st varsity sport, women's lacrosse, formally began competition in the fall of 2010.

Wesleyan was a member of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC). The WVIAC disbanded after the 2012-13 season and the school joined the new Mountain East Conference.

Wesley Chapel

An important legacy of the college is Wesley Chapel. With the ability to seat 1,800 people,[4][5] Wesley Chapel annually hosts the West Virginia United Methodist Annual Conference each June. The "Conference Sunday" service, the culmination of the Conference, always fills Wesley Chapel to standing-room-only.

Wesley Chapel also provides a fantastic venue for the Arts. Several campus musical groups perform in the Chapel each semester, as well as artists who visit WVWC as a part of its annual "Arts Alive" Program. Many world-renowned artists have performed in Wesley Chapel over the years including a memorable performance by Maynard Ferguson, who famously performed a trumpet solo from the pulpit.

Written histories

  • Haught, Thomas W., West Virginia Wesleyan College 1890-1940, Buckhannon, WV: West Virginia Wesleyan College Press, 1940.
  • McCuskey, Roy, All Things Work Together for Good to them that Love God, Buckhannon, WV: West Virginia Wesleyan College Press, ca. 1950.
  • Miller, Brett T., Our Home Among the Hills: West Virginia Wesleyan's First 125 Years, Virginia Beach, VA: The Donning Company Publishers, 2014.
  • Plummer, Kenneth M., A History of West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1890-1965, Buckhannon, WV: West Virginia Wesleyan College Press, 1965.

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "WV Campus Compact Awards Engagement Honors to West Virginia Wesleyan" (Press release). West Virginia Wesleyan College. March 28, 2013. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014.
  2. ^ "West Virginia Wesleyan College Earns Place on National Honor Roll for Community Service" (Press release). West Virginia Wesleyan College. March 8, 2013. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ "Second Annual Jump Rope for Heart a Success" (Press release). West Virginia Wesleyan College. April 22, 2013. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014.
  4. ^ "Weddings". West Virginia Wesleyan College. West Virginia Wesleyan College. Retrieved January 27, 2017. The chapel seats 1800 people and has a complete sound system, grand piano and the largest pipe organ in West Virginia.
  5. ^ "125 Things We Love About Wesleyan" (PDF). Sundial. No. Summer/Fall 2015. West Virginia Wesleyan College. p. 18. 67. Wesley Chapel and Martin Religious Center: Wesley Chapel, which is a designated United Methodist historical site, is truly one of the iconic landmarks of Wesleyan’s campus. From its 204-foot tall steeple, to its 1,800-person sanctuary, to the classrooms, meeting rooms, and offices in Martin Religious Center, Wesley Chapel stands as the literal, as well as the spiritual, religious and intellectual heart of West Virginia Wesleyan College, just as it was intended to be when it was constructed in 1966.

External links

Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - West Virginia Wesleyan College