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Our History


A young college, Virginia Wesleyan was chartered in 1961 with support from the United Methodist Church. In 1966, a small group of 75 pioneering students started at the new four-year, private college – the first of its kind in South Hampton Roads.

Since the moment of its charter, Virginia Wesleyan has continued to grow in scope and distinction. Our students come from all parts of the country, as well as throughout the world. Virginia Wesleyan also reaches across generations with the Adult Studies Program, established in 1982 for nontraditional-aged working students seeking their degrees through night and weekend courses.

Virginia Wesleyan campus has grown rapidly in recent years with new and exciting facilities, including high-tech classrooms, the one-of-a-kind Jane P. Batten Student Center and a variety of new programs. We graduated our 6,000th student in 2003.

At Wesleyan, you won't just learn the "facts," but how to apply them to your life and career.

A liberal arts education encourages and nurtures independent and critical thinking. In other words, it teaches you to think – to know where to go for information and knowledge. At Wesleyan, you won't just learn the "facts," but how to apply them to your life and career. We know that a solid education in the liberal arts is what future employers demand. We're all about creating leaders, not followers.

We are so dedicated to the value of a liberal arts education that our vision for the college is "to become a Phi Beta Kappa-caliber college." PBK is the most prestigious liberal arts organization in the country, and our goal of obtaining a chapter on campus demonstrates how serious we are about the liberal arts. We've got BIG plans for enhancing our campus and our programs so that we can attain this designation.

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