Warren Wilson College: Wikis


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Coordinates: 35°36′39.5″N 82°26′30.7″W / 35.610972°N 82.441861°W / 35.610972; -82.441861

Warren Wilson College
Motto We're not for everyone... but then, maybe you're not everyone.
Established 1894
Type Private Liberal Arts
Endowment $41.8 million[1]
President Sandy Pfeiffer
Faculty ~60 full-time, ~15 part-time
Undergraduates 900
Postgraduates 70
Location Asheville, NC, USA
Campus Rural suburban
Colors Blue and Gold
Nickname Owls
Affiliations Presbyterian
Website www.warren-wilson.edu
Warren Wilson College Farm
Flooding after Hurricane Frances, September 2004

Warren Wilson College is a small liberal arts college in the Swannanoa Valley, North Carolina just on the edge of Asheville, near U.S. Highway 70. It is known for its curriculum of work, academics, and service, called "the Triad." The Triad requires every student to work an on-campus job, perform at least one hundred hours of community service over four years, and complete a requisite course of academic work in order to graduate.

Warren Wilson is one of the few colleges in the United States that require students to work for the institution in order to graduate. It is part of the Work Colleges Consortium. The college operates a working farm.



The property was purchased in 1893 by the Women's Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church. The women of the church were concerned that many Americans in isolated areas were not receiving a proper education. The women decided to establish church-supported schools in areas where there were few public services. They determined a need for a nonconventional grading system, as the young people who came to these mission schools usually had no prior formal education.

In 1894 the Asheville Farm School officially opened with 25 boys' attending and a professional staff of three. It was not until 1923 that the school graduated its first class. The first post-high school programs offering vocational training began in 1936. School leaders hoped that this type of training would give the students more prospects in the job market.

In 1942 the junior college division was established. That same year the Asheville Farm School merged with the Dorland-Bell School of Hot Springs, which brought high school-age girls to campus. The Farm School and junior college operated under a common administration.

After World War II, the public education system in North Carolina improved dramatically and the need for the mission's high school diminished. The last high school class at WWC graduated in 1957.

In 1952 WWC became one of the first colleges or universities in the South to desegregate, when it invited Alma Shippy, an African American, to attend.[2]

WWC was a junior college until 1967, when it became a four-year college offering six majors. The first bachelor's degrees were awarded in 1969. In 1972, the National Board of Missions deeded the WWC property over to the college's Board of Trustees.


Since that time, the college has grown into a small (about 900 students) liberal arts school with some nationally known programs. In contrast to its original student population of underprivileged mountain youth, Warren Wilson now enrolls students of many different geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. It confers both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees and, via its MFA Program for Writers, the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. In addition to traditional majors such as biology and English, undergraduates have the option of majoring in outdoor leadership or environmental studies.

The college has been featured in Outside Magazine, which named Warren Wilson and Asheville No. 4 on it list of "40 schools that turn out smart grads with top-notch academic credentials, a healthy environmental ethos, and a A+ sense of adventure." The college also has been profiled in The New York Times. It also has been featured USA Today, The Boston Globe and Southern Living, among many publications.

Warren Wilson maintains a working relationship with the North Carolina chapter of Outward Bound, located on the western edge of campus. The college also has forged partnerships with The Jane Goodall Institute, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Mountain Area Child and Family Center and many other organizations.

William Sanborn "Sandy" Pfeiffer, Ph.D., began serving as the college's sixth president in July 2006. He was formally installed in April 2007.

Warren Wilson College is renowned for its environmental commitment. The college's farm was named the 2006 "Outstanding Conservation Farm Family" for the Mountain Region of North Carolina. Warren Wilson also received the national 2006 Campus Sustainability Achievement Award. That same year, the Doug and Darcy Orr Cottage became the second building in North Carolina to receive the prestigious Gold level certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

The Village South residence hall, which opened in 2006, recently became the first dormitory in North Carolina to receive a LEED Gold rating. In June 2009, the College's EcoDorm became the first building on a college campus to achieve LEED Platinum in the category of Existing Buildings (EB).

The Natural Science Seminar is the name for the undergraduate research and presentation that is required for all B.S. degrees given by the college. Students' completing undergraduate research as a part of the Natural Science Seminar (NSS) often present their research at the North Carolina Academy of Science conference, and historically have taken home many awards. Students of Biology, Environmental Studies, and Chemistry have frequently been inducted into Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. [3]

Notable events, rankings, and alumni

In September 2009 Warren Wilson College's EcoDorm was featured in a New York Times article highlighting its environmental design and residents.[1]. In February 2010 the dorm was featured on CNN International's "Eco Solutions."

The mountain-biking team earned second place in the nation (Division II) in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and third in 2008 and 2009.

Warren Wilson College has been one of Sierra Magazine's "Coolest Schools" nationwide in the fight against global warming since the ranking began in 2007. TheDailyGreen.com ranked Warren Wilson second among the nation's 10 "Greenest Colleges."

Warren Wilson College is one of the 2009 Kaplan Newsweek Guide's "25 Colleges That Might Be Right for You."

The 20th anniversary issue of Blue Ridge Country magazine named Warren Wilson College as one of "14 People and Places Making a Difference in the Region."

The Fiske Guide to Colleges has selected Warren Wilson College as one of its "Best Buys of 2010" among private colleges and universities nationwide. Warren Wilson is one of only two independent institutions in North Carolina to receive this recognition. According to the guide, the schools "qualify as Best Buys based on the quality of the academic offerings in relation to the cost of attendance." With tuition and fees of slightly more than $24,000 for the 2009-10 academic year, Warren Wilson is rated as "inexpensive" compared with other private schools in the selective guide.

Miriam Weinstein continues to list WWC in her guide, Making A Difference.

WWC is included in Barron's Best Buys in College Education, The Princeton Review and Forbes.com rankings.

In addition, Warren Wilson is mentioned in Cool Colleges for the Hyper-Intelligent, Self-Directed, Late Blooming, and Just Plain Different by Donald Asher, a guidebook for those students seeking unique college experiences.

The Parent Soup Financial Aid and College Guide selected Warren Wilson for inclusion in "Discounts and Deals at the Nation's 360 Best Colleges."


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2009. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2009 Endowment Market Value and Percentage Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2008 to FY 2009" (PDF). 2009 NACUBO-Commonfund Study of Endowments. National Association of College and University Business Officers. http://www.nacubo.org/Documents/research/2009_NCSE_Public_Tables_Endowment_Market_Values.pdf. Retrieved February 19, 2010. 
  2. ^ "College's invitation to integrate made history", CNN.com, Accessed 23 February 2007.
  3. ^ Dr




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