Christopher Newport University

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Christopher Newport University
Christopher Newport University seal.png
Former name
Christopher Newport College
MottoStudents Come First
TypePublic University
EstablishedNovember 12, 1960; 60 years ago (1960-11-12)
PresidentPaul S. Trible Jr.
ProvostDavid Doughty, Ph.D.
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

37°03′47″N 76°29′35″W / 37.06306°N 76.49306°W / 37.06306; -76.49306Coordinates: 37°03′47″N 76°29′35″W / 37.06306°N 76.49306°W / 37.06306; -76.49306
260 acres (110 ha)
ColorsRoyal Blue and Gray[2]    
AthleticsNCAA Division IIICoast to Coast Athletic Conference, New Jersey Athletic Conference
MascotCaptain Chris
Christopher Newport University logo

Christopher Newport University (CNU) is a public liberal arts university in Newport News, Virginia. CNU is the youngest comprehensive university in the commonwealth of Virginia. The institution is named after Christopher Newport, who was a buccaneer (or privateer) and captain of Susan Constant, the largest of three ships which carried settlers for the Virginia Company in 1607, on their way to found Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, which became the first permanent English settlement in North America.


In 1960 the city of Newport News joined together with the Commonwealth of Virginia to create Christopher Newport College (CNC), which opened its doors in 1961[3] and at the time was located in the old John W. Daniel School building. The college was founded as an extension of the College of William & Mary and offered extension courses that had already been available in the area for some time. In 1964 the college was relocated to its current location, a 75-acre (300,000 m2) tract of land purchased and donated by the city. In this same year, the college's first permanent building was dedicated as Christopher Newport Hall. In 1971, CNC became a four-year college;[4] however, it remained an extension of William & Mary until 1977 when it attained its independence.[5] In 1992, the college became a university under the leadership of President Anthony R. Santoro, who oversaw the building of the first residence hall. In 1996, CNU made plans to become more competitive. Those plans included the expansion of university property, several new buildings and residence halls, as well as overhauling academic programs and the admission process.


  • H. Wescott Cunningham 1961–1970
  • Dr. James C. Windsor 1970–1979
  • Dr. John E. Anderson 1979–1987
  • Dr. Anthony Santoro 1987–1996
  • Paul S. Trible 1996–present


Christopher Newport University offers a variety of four-year bachelor of science and bachelor of arts degrees. Graduate programs in applied physics and computer science, environmental science and teaching are also available in five-year bachelor's to master's, as well as traditional formats. Academic programs are offered through the College of Arts and Humanities, the College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, and the College of Social Sciences, including the Joseph W. Luter III School of Business.

Joseph W. Luter III School of Business[edit]

The School of Business is accredited by the AACSB.[6]

College of Arts and Humanities[edit]

CNU's College of Arts and Humanities includes the Departments of English, Fine Art and Art History, History, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Music, Philosophy and Religion, and Theater and Dance.

Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)[edit]

The Army Reserve Officer Training Corps has maintained a strong presence at CNU for several years, offering classroom and field based training. The program is a component of the College of William and Mary's ROTC program, known as the Revolutionary Guard Battalion. It commissions several new US Army second lieutenants each year.

The Department of Fine Art and Art History[edit]

The Fine Art Department, located in the back of the Ferguson Center, offers a degree in fine arts with concentrations in art history and studio art.[7]

The Department of Theatre & Dance[edit]

The Theatre & Dance Department offers a degree in theater arts and a Bachelor of Music degree.

Student profile[edit]

  • 44% male, 56% female [8]
  • Students from every region in Virginia and 32 other states as well as several foreign countries[8]
  • Average high school GPA of 3.8 for the 2017–2018 academic year[9]
  • Average SAT 1192 Average Math and Reading[9]
  • Student demographics
    • 7% African American, 3% Asian American or Pacific Islander, 7% Hispanic American
    • 24% of the entering 2017–2018 freshman class are minority students[9]
    • 0.12% representing 30 other countries[10]


CNU participates mainly in the Coast to Coast Athletic Conference (C2C; known before November 2020 as the Capital Athletic Conference), having moved from the USA South Athletic Conference in July 2013. The football team remains a USA South associate member because C2C does not sponsor football. CNU fields a wide variety of college level teams on the Division III level. The Freeman Center houses the basketball, volleyball, and indoor track teams, while the lacrosse, soccer, baseball, softball, and field hockey teams play at a complex called "Captain's Field." The football and outdoor track teams compete at Pomoco Stadium, named for a local car dealership chain. Ratcliffe Hall was expanded in 2012 and now includes various athletic offices as well as the varsity gym. A sailing center is also located close to the campus along the James River.

CNU sports club programs include ice hockey,[11] equestrian, dressage, cycling, fishing, lacrosse, martial arts,[12] rock climbing, rugby, scuba diving, silver storm dance, soccer, swimming, table tennis, tennis, ultimate frisbee, rowing and volleyball.



Statue of Sir Christopher Newport
The Great Lawn of Christopher Newport University, featuring the McMurran and Forbes academic buildings.
The Great Lawn of Christopher Newport University, featuring the McMurran and Forbes academic buildings.

Residence halls[edit]

Residence halls on campus are usually segregated into the class of student living in them. In the recent years, new policies have been enacted that require all freshman and sophomore students to live in an on campus housing facility, unless they live in the commuting zone. Starting with the class of 2014, all students must live on campus during the junior year in addition to their freshman and sophomore years.

Freshman housing

The oldest housing facility on campus is Santoro Hall. Opened in 1992, the hall was named in honor of then President Anthony Santoro and his wife, Carol. This building is directly adjacent to one of the campus dining facilities, the Hiden-Hussey Commons. Santoro Hall, along with the newer York River Hall, is primarily used for freshman housing. York River Hall opened in 2002. This complex, consisting of two buildings (York River East/ York River West), houses over 500 students and is the largest residence hall on campus. Both Santoro and York River Halls are suite-style living residence halls. In each building, pairs of neighboring housing units share a common private restroom. Freshman also live in portions of Potomac River Hall.

Upperclassmen housing
York River Hall

Sophomore housing currently consists of James River Hall, opened in 2000, half of Potomac River Hall, opened in 2004, as well as Warwick River Hall, opened in 2012.[13] James River Hall boasts a variety of floor plans, including 4-, 5-, and 6-person apartments, 4-person suites, and three 15-person Theme Units. Potomac Hall, like York River Hall, is divided into two buildings (North/ South), and consists of suites of two bedrooms, located around a central living room and bath. Warwick River Hall is the newest residence hall on campus and accommodates 447 students in 4-, 5-, and 6-person suites each with a shared living room and bathroom.

Rappahannock River Hall at Christopher Newport University

Juniors and Seniors living on campus are generally assigned to either East Campus or Rappahannock River Hall. James River Hall also accommodates Juniors and Seniors in apartment style dorms.[14] CNU is currently planning construction on a dedicated upperclassmen residence, to be called "Shenandoah Hall." It is expected to house more than 200 seniors and to open in summer 2020.[15] Starting in 2009, five sororities and four fraternities live in Barclay Apartments, CNU's temporary Greek Village, and any additional fraternities and sororities live in the adjacent townhouses of CNU Landing as of 2012. Completed in 2002, CNU Apartments is a complex of five buildings of three or four stories, housing up to 355 students. These buildings, named after Virginia-born presidents, include Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Harrison, and Monroe.[16] The CNU Village rose to accompany CNU Apartments in 2005, adding room for an additional 398 students in apartment living.[17] Both the apartments and the Village feature 2 to 4 single bedroom apartments with a common living area (full kitchen, living room/dinette, washer and dryer). Below CNU Village, along Warwick Blvd., are a variety of eating establishments including Panera Bread, Moe's Southwest Grill, Subway, 7-11, Sushi & Spice, and Schooners, opened by three local restaurateurs who wanted to fill a void left by the lack of a social outlet on campus.

The David Student Union[edit]

The David Student Union

The David Student Union (DSU) is a $36 million, 116,000-square-foot (10,800 m2) facility whose construction began in 2003 and opened September 9, 2006. Constructed in a "Neo-Georgian" architectural style, the first floor contains the campus Convenience Store, parallel the DSU dining facilities: The Discovery Bistro, Discovery Cafe, Chick-fil-A, Discovery Pizza, and Regatta's. The campus Bookstore and Convenience Store closed during the Fall 2010 semester in favor of an online bookstore and instead contains a student lounge, admissions office, and apparel store. All on-campus students receive a mailbox and access to a full-service Post Office located on the second floor of the DSU. Four large conference rooms named for past U.S. Presidents are located around a central lobby area at the top of the steps. The Ballroom is also located on the second floor. The building provides offices for Student Life, The Captain's Log, Career Development, International Studies, Academic Advising, and others. Private desks with computers are provided for students as well as quiet study sections and recreational areas. The building was named in honor of William R. and Goldie R. David.

Academic buildings[edit]

For the opening of the Spring 2010 semester, Christopher Newport University opened the Lewis Archer McMurran Jr. Hall. This building has neo-Georgian architecture. The building is 85,000 square feet and frames the university's Great Lawn on its western side. McMurran Hall houses the Departments of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, History, English, and Government. It has a 150-person lecture hall, two 50-person lecture halls, and over 25 other classrooms.

To the north of McMurran Hall is Ratcliffe Hall, the former home of the Departments of English and Government. Once CNU's gymnasium, the building was renovated to include classroom and office space for students and faculty. Other academic buildings on campus include Gosnold Hall, Forbes Hall, and the Business and Technology Center (BTC Building), located across Prince Drew Lane. Finally, the Ferguson Center for the Arts is home to the Departments of Music and Theater & Dance.

Wingfield Hall, the former home of the Departments of Psychology and Language, was demolished in 2011 to make way for the Joseph W. Luter Hall, home of the school of business.

The Joseph W. Luter III Hall is the house of the Luter School of Business. The building, following the Neo-Georgian architecture of surrounding new structures, has a new 100-seat tiered lecture hall, 14 traditional classrooms, teachings labs, research labs and faculty offices.

The Mary Brock Forbes Integrated Science Building is a 156,000-square-foot (14,500 m2) academic hall situated on the north edge of the great lawn, and houses the College of Natural and Behavioral Science as well as the Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Psychology departments. It also includes spaces for students to interact, 50 faculty offices, a large lecture hall, 50 classrooms, and research labs.

The Paul and Rosemary Trible Library[edit]

The Paul and Rosemary Trible Library reading room
The Paul and Rosemary Trible Library reading room
The entrance to Christopher Newport University, featuring the York River Hall freshman residence hall, the Trible Library, and the Pope Chapel.

The university's library, renamed for Rosemary and Paul S. Trible Jr., had a multimillion-dollar addition completed in early 2008. The new 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) facility houses most of its collection in the original section. The new library was dedicated January 24, 2008, and fully opened at the start of the Spring 2008 semester. The Trible Library boasts a new Einstein's Cafe, a 24-hour study lounge, and an IT help desk.

In early 2009, the Mariners' Museum Library relocated to the Trible Library, providing students and the community with convenient access to the largest maritime history collection in the Western Hemisphere.[18] The Paul and Rosemary Trible Library was slated for another expansion beginning in 2016 which would add another floor to the back portion of the facility. Due to the renovations, the Mariners' Museum Library moved back to the Mariners' Museum and reopened in Fall 2017.

In August 2018, the library expansion opened adding 3 floors of new space. Additions included a 100-seat theater, expanded Media Center, a two-story reading room, and 44 group study rooms.

Ferguson Center for the Arts[edit]

In 1996 the university acquired the Ferguson High School building and property, which was adjacent to campus. This building was used for classrooms until it was extensively renovated to become the Ferguson Center for the Arts, which opened in fall of 2005. Many features of the original high school, which was located between what is now the concert hall and the music and theatre hall, can still be seen throughout the current building. It houses a 1,725-seat concert hall which is acoustically engineered so that anyone on stage can be heard from any seat without a microphone, A 453-seat music and theatre hall, and a 200-seat studio theatre. It also contains two art galleries, a dance studio, and several classrooms.

Pope Chapel[edit]

Opened in early 2013, the Pope Chapel, named for Larry Pope of Smithfield Foods, is a 14,000-square-foot (1,300 m2) gathering place for various on campus religious organizations located at the campus entrance across from York River Hall and the Trible Library.

Christopher Newport Hall[edit]

Christopher Newport Hall
Christopher Newport Hall during the May 2015 commencement ceremony.

In the fall of 2015 a new administration building was opened and named Christopher Newport Hall. The 81,000-square-foot (7,500 m2) structure houses the Office of Admission, Office of the Registrar, Financial Aid, Housing, the Center for Academic Success, the President's Leadership Program and the Center for Career Planning, among others. The $42 million facility serves as a new landmark on campus and is at the head of the Great Lawn opposite Lewis Archer McMurran Jr. Hall. In May 2015, towards the end of construction, Newport Hall served as the backdrop for commencement ceremonies.

Student life[edit]

The Captain's Log[edit]

The Captain's Log[19] is a student run organization that acts as the official newspaper of Christopher Newport University.


Currents is CNU's completely student-run literary magazine. Students from all disciplines may submit poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, playwriting, and lyrics. Currents is also CNU's oldest on-campus organization.[20]

Greek life[edit]

Greek life at Christopher Newport has grown in the recent years to include eight North American Interfraternity Conference listed fraternities, seven National Panhellenic Conference listed sororities and five NPHC listed Greek organizations.

Other fraternities

Campus ministries[edit]

The campus has several religious organizations. These include Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IV), Young Life, Hillel International, Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU), Because Christ Matters (BCM), Catholic Campus Ministry, the Canterbury Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Lutheran Student Fellowship, and The Hampton Roads Church Student Fellowship. These organizations are now able to meet and hold events in the Pope Chapel, which opened in early 2013.

WCNU Radio[edit]

WCNU Radio is a student-run, non-commercial, web-based radio station.[21]

Notable people[edit]




  • Quarstein, John, V.; Rouse, Parke S. Jr. (1996) [1996]. Finneran, Elisa F. (ed.). Newport News - A Centennial History. Conner, Edward A. (1st ed.). Newport News, Virginia: City of Newport News. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 96-71877.


  1. ^ "Fall Headcount Enrollment". Archived from the original on 2012-07-22. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  2. ^ CNU Graphics Style & Specifications Archived 2010-06-02 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ [1] Archived October 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ (Quarstein 179)
  5. ^ (Quarstein 209)
  6. ^ [2] Archived February 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Department of Fine Arts | Christopher Newport University
  8. ^ a b [3] Archived July 14, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c "Fall 2017 Freshman Class Profile" (PDF). Christopher Newport University Institutional Research. May 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  10. ^ [4] Archived February 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ CNU Ice Hockey - Home
  12. ^ [5][dead link]
  13. ^ [6] Archived November 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Residence Halls". Retrieved 2016-04-07.
  15. ^ Clark, Brett (6 June 2017). "New upperclassman housing to grace CNU's campus". The Captain's Log. Christopher Newport University. Archived from the original on 2017-09-06. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  16. ^ [7] Archived July 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ [8] Archived March 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ "About the Library". Mariners' Museum. 1933-10-29. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  19. ^ "The Captain's Log Official Website".
  20. ^ "Currents 2016". Currents 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-10-14. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  21. ^ "WCNU Radio official website".

External links[edit]