Five Decades of Distinction

Virginia Wesleyan College Celebrates 50 Years

The 2011-12 academic year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Virginia Wesleyan College. Chartered in 1961, Virginia Wesleyan first opened its doors to students in 1966 with support from the United Methodist Church. The following timeline highlights important milestones in the College's history:

Highlights of Five Decades of Distinction


1961 Virginia Methodists create VWC in June
1961 VWC chartered by Commonwealth of Virginia in July
1963 Trustees create VWC symbols, College seal, Marlin mascot, and blue and silver as the VWC colors
1965 Joseph Johnston becomes first VWC president
1965 Campus groundbreaking in July
1966 Lambuth Clarke named second VWC President
1966 Classes begin in September
1969 Hofheimer Library opens



1970 VWC becomes member of Dixie Athletic Conference
1970 First commencement ceremonies held in June
1970 VWC receives full accreditation from the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS)
1975 Monumental Chapel opens
1976 Cunningham Gym opens
1976 Community Council formed



1982 Adult Studies Program begins
1982 VWC elected to Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges (VFIC)
1983 VWC Joins Tidewater Consortium
1983 First Party in Dell
1984 Christmas Tree lighting ceremony begins
1985 Wesleyan Scholars launched
1989 VWC joins Old Dominion Athletic Conference



1991 Honor Code established
1992 Beech Grove controversy
1992 Dr. William T. "Billy" Greer becomes president
1994 Center for Sacred Music opens
1994 Carnegie Baccalauriate I
1995 Wesley Statue unveiled
1996 Center for Study of Religious Freedom opens
1996 Let the Mud Games begin
1997 VWC Office of Community Service Opens




2000 VWC wins VFIC Ethics Bowl
2002 Jane P. Batten Student Center opens
2006 National Basketball Championship
2006 First BS diploma awarded
2009 First Class of Athletic Hall of Fame inductees
2009 Christened Undergraduate Research Vessel The Ocean Explorer in partnership
Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
2011 New Curriculum model begins


Dr. Stephen S. Mansfield, former history professor, academic dean, and College archivist, has authored an historic book to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the College's founding. Wisdom Lights the Way: Virginia Wesleyan College's First Half Century (Donning Company Publishers) is now available in the Scribner Bookstore in the Batten Center on campus.

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