Virginia Wesleyan University

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Virginia Wesleyan University
Virginia Wesleyan University logo.png
MottoSapientia Illuminat Viam, "Wisdom Lights the Way"
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Academic affiliations
Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), Campus Compact, Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC)
Endowment$58.9 million (2019)
PresidentScott Douglas Miller
Academic staff
109 full-time, 35 part time
Administrative staff
199 full-time, 136 part time
Students1,674 (2019)
Other students
1,250 (continuing education)
Location, ,
United States

36°52′4.8″N 76°11′15.4″W / 36.868000°N 76.187611°W / 36.868000; -76.187611Coordinates: 36°52′4.8″N 76°11′15.4″W / 36.868000°N 76.187611°W / 36.868000; -76.187611
CampusUrban, 300 acres (1.21 km2)
ColorsBlue and Silver          
AthleticsNCAA Division IIIODAC
MascotBob Marlin

Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) is a private university in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The university is nonsectarian but is historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church.[1] It enrolls approximately 1,600 students annually in undergraduate, graduate, and online programs. Virginia Wesleyan transitioned from a college to a university in 2017.[2]

The Virginia Wesleyan University campus is also home to the Chesapeake Bay Academy, an educational institution founded in 1989 that educates and guides students with learning disabilities, including attention disorders (ADHD), dyslexia, and dysgraphia, and the Tidewater Collegiate Academy, an innovative laboratory for teaching and learning that extends from the primary grades through high school.

Through academic collaboration with local arts and sciences partners, on-site learning experiences are also provided at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach (the university and aquarium jointly own and operate "The Ocean Explorer," a marine science research vessel); The Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk; Busch Gardens Williamsburg; and the Norfolk Botanical Garden.[3]


The school was chartered in 1961 as Virginia Wesleyan College under the initiative of Methodist minister Joseph S. Johnston, later the college's first president.[4] It became a university in 2017.[5]

Presidents of Wesleyan
Name Tenure
Scott Douglas Miller 2015-
William Thomas Greer Jr. 1992-2015
Lambuth McGeehee Clarke 1966-1992
Joseph Shackford Johnston 1965


Virginia Wesleyan University consists of fours schools devoted to specific areas of study: the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities, the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Birdsong School of Social Science, and the D. Henry Watts School of Professional Studies.[6]

The Batten Honors College, named for Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Emerita Jane Batten and her late husband Frank Batten, Sr., was founded in 2017 with a mission to "inspire, engage, and prepare academically talented students to become leaders, environmental stewards, and impactful citizens in the global community."[7]

University College at Virginia Wesleyan University operates all for-credit programs outside of the traditional undergraduate program and also supports non-credit, continuing-education offerings.[8]

Westminster/Wesleyan Lifelong Learning Institute[edit]

In 2017, an anonymous private gift funded the establishment of the Lifelong Learning Institute. Through the partnership between Virginia Wesleyan University and Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay, those residing at W-CCBY can take non-credit courses in art, history, political science, psychology, religion, popular culture, and other subjects. Taught by Virginia Wesleyan faculty, the courses are offered to Westminster-Canterbury members on site, as well as on the Virginia Wesleyan campus.,[9][10]

Those living at Westminster-Canterbury also receive free admission to the University’s facilities, plays, concerts, lectures, and athletic events (post-season NCAA tournament play requires admission).[11]

Programming for the initiative—a component of Virginia Wesleyan’s University College—is coordinated by Dr. Ben Fraser, the Westminster-Canterbury Fellow for Religious Studies and Lifelong Learning. Several courses will be taught during each of two regular semesters, and roughly half will be on faith-related topics.[12][13]

Over 1,100 learners enrolled in WWLLI courses in the 2018-19 academic year.[14]


Situated on 300 acres (1.2 km2) in Virginia Beach, the university is separated into four villages. Bray Village (Village I) and Allen Village (Village II) offer combined living-learning environments built on the Jeffersonian model, with multi-purpose buildings. Brock Village (Village III) and Honors Village (Village IV) are solely housing units.[15] Construction began on a fifth village, Oxford Village, in June 2019 with an expected completion in late 2020.[16]


The Greer Environmental Sciences Center at Virginia Wesleyan University.

The following complexes and buildings, with completion dates noted, now house the university's academic, administrative, and residential functions.

  • Jerry G. Bray, Jr. Village (Village I) (1966)
    • Residence halls:
      • Louise W. Eggleston Hall
      • Abel E. and Clara Eaton Kellam Hall
      • Margarette Hanes Old Hall
      • Paul Howard Rose Hall
    • Academic buildings:
      • Birdsong Hall
      • Peter D. Pruden Hall
      • Aubrey L. Eggleston Commons
  • Dennie Allen Village (Village II)
    • Residence halls:
      • East Hall (1990)
      • Franklin Little Hall (1990)
      • Alison J. and Ella W. Parsons Hall (1990)
      • Walter Clarke Gum Hall (1970)
      • Joseph S. Johnston Hall (1990)
      • Landmark Hall
      • William Travis Smithdeal Hall (1970)
    • Academic buildings (1990):
      • Charles and Bertha Mast Graybeal Hall
      • Guy C. and Ora Goodwin Roop Hall
      • Floyd E. Kellam, Jr., Social Sciences Lab (2002, 2014)
  • Joan and Macon Brock Village (Village III) (1993)
    • Residence halls:
      • North Hall
      • South Hall
      • Harry I. and Elizabeth W. Teagle Hall
    • Apartments and townhouses (2005)
  • Honors Village (Village IV) (2008)
    • Residence townhouses:
      • Broyles Hall
      • DeFord Hall
      • Hendrix Hall
      • Mastracco Hall
      • Watts Hall
  • S. Frank and Wilma Williamson Blocker Hall
  • Lambuth M. Clarke Hall (1998)
  • Fine Arts Building (1966)/Edward D. Hofheimer Theatre (1981)
  • Greer Environmental Sciences Center (2017)
  • Henry Clay Hofheimer II Library (1969, 2008)
  • Greenhouse (2017)

The following complexes and structures house additional administrative buildings as well as athletic and student activities facilities:

  • Jane P. Batten Student Center (2002)
  • Birdsong Field (2015)
  • Frank Blocker, Jr., Youth Center - Tidewater Collegiate Academy/YMCA Camp Red Feather (2017)
  • Robert F. and Sara M. Boyd Dining Center (1991)
  • Everett Tennis Center (2011)
  • Katherine B. and Mills E. Godwin, Jr., Hall (1999)
  • Physical Plant Building (1993)
  • Monumental Chapel (1975), Frank E. Brown Campanile (1975), The Beacon (2019)
  • TowneBank Park—Kenneth R. Perry Field (2017)
  • Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center (2017)
  • Trinder Center (1998) with Foster Field (1998)
  • TowneBank Park—Tom and Betty Broyles Field (2019)


Virginia Wesleyan University sports teams are known as the Marlins. The university participates in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III.

Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cheer, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, and indoor/outdoor track and field. Women's sports include basketball, cheer, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor/outdoor track and field, and volleyball.[17]

The university maintains an Athletic Hall of Fame honoring those who have made lasting contributions to Virginia Wesleyan's intercollegiate athletic program through outstanding achievements or service.[18]

In recent years, Virginia Wesleyan University has earned recognition as one of the top NCAA Division III programs in the country. The men's basketball team won the national championship in 2006, and the following year returned to the championship game, which they lost. The women's soccer team made it to the final four in 2006 after winning the ODAC tournament for the first time in program history. In 2016, Evan Cox was the Individual NCAA National Champion for Men's Golf. The Virginia Wesleyan softball team won the 2017 NCAA Division III National Championship[19] with a record 54 wins. Head Coach Brandon Elliott was named ODAC Coach of the Year and State Coach of the Year, while his coaching staff earned Regional and National Coaching Staff of the Year honors. Freshman pitcher Hanna Hull earned 2017 Schutt Sports/NFCA Division III National Freshman of the Year and honors as the first National Player of the Year in program history.[20]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ ""This is not how we love each other": Local United Methodists react to church's controversial ruling".
  2. ^ "Virginia Wesleyan College to become a university this year".
  3. ^ "Accolades".
  4. ^ Mansfield, Stephen S. (2010). Wisdom Lights the Way: Virginia Wesleyan College's First Half-Century. Donning. ISBN 978-1-57864-643-2.
  5. ^ ""Virginia Wesleyan Announces Transition to University Status"".
  6. ^ "Academics".
  7. ^ "Virginia Wesleyan University welcomes the 1st class of the Batten Honors College".
  8. ^ "University College".
  9. ^ The Wesleyan Review, October 2017
  10. ^ Virginia Wesleyan University Magazine, Fall 2018
  11. ^ Lifelong Learning Institute
  12. ^ The Wesleyan Review, October 2017,
  13. ^ Virginia Wesleyan University Magazine, Fall 2018
  14. ^ Nota Bene, Fall 2017 and Spring 2019
  15. ^ "Campus Map".
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Virginia Wesleyan Interactive Programs".
  18. ^ "Athletic Hall of Fame".
  19. ^ "DIII softball championship: Virginia Wesleyan sweeps final against St. John Fisher".
  20. ^ "Virginia Wesleyan Softball".
  21. ^ "Virginia House of Delegates 2019".
  22. ^ "LSU basketball coach Will Wade adds veteran Kevin Nickelberry to staff for next season". July 2, 2019.
  23. ^ "Randy Peele - Texas Southern University".
  24. ^ "Oklahoma City Thunder Basketball Operations".
  25. ^ "Senate of Virginia".
  26. ^ "ESPN Press Room - Bob Valvano".
  27. ^ "Keller Williams".

External links[edit]