West Virginia Wesleyan College

West Virginia Wesleyan College
Latin: Wesleyanum Collegium Virginiae Occidentalis
Type Private liberal arts college
Established 1890
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment $42.4 million
President Dr. Pamela Balch
Academic staff
Students 1,452
Location Buckhannon, West Virginia, USA
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
Campus Rural
Colors Orange and Black         
Athletics NCAA Division II - MEC
Nickname Bobcats / Lady Bobcats
Mascot Bobcat
Affiliations CIC
Website wvwc.edu

West Virginia Wesleyan College is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia, United States. 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 United Methodist church.

In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked West Virginia Wesleyan College 14th on the list of Best Colleges in the South region.[1][2]It was also listed as one of the "Best Southeastern Colleges" by the Princeton Review in 2011. West Virginia Wesleyan College is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Wesleyan continues to serve as a residential, liberal arts college. The primary majors are elementary and secondary education, business, and natural sciences.


The College offers over 43 undergraduate majors and 36 minors. Wesleyan also has 3-2 engineering partnerships with Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, 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's in Education, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and Master of Science in Nursing.


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 and eight Presidents' Cups in 14 years. Each year, Wesleyan's 21 NCAA II teams successfully 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 over the past several years for its community service endeavors.[3][4] Students in the CCE also organized the first collegiate Jump Rope for Heart events in the United States.[5]


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, education, 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.

Wesleyan traditions


Wesleyan Bobcats logo.

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. The WVIAC disbanded after the 2012-13 season and the school joined the new Mountain East Conference.

One of the earliest sporting traditions at Wesleyan was football, which was introduced in the pre-college seminary in 1898. The school colors of orange and black go back to that very first game, when fullback and team captain Frank Thompson wore a turtleneck sweater in Princeton University's orange and black to honor two football greats of that university whom he especially admired. A more comprehensive athletic program was formally organized at the collegiate level in 1902. Early sports included football, baseball, basketball, and gymnastics, all for men only.

Many WVWC alumni have gone on to play professional sports. Among them, two alumni have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame - Earl "Greasy" Neale '15 of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969 and Cliff Battles '33 of the Washington Redskins in 1968.

Wesley Chapel

An important legacy of the College is Wesley Chapel. With the ability to seat 1,800 people,[6] Wesley Chapel holds the claim of largest worship space in the state of West Virginia. 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

Notable alumni


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