West Virginia Wesleyan College: Wikis

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West Virginia Wesleyan College
Established 1890
Type Private College
Endowment $42.4 million
President Dr. Pamela Balch
Faculty 137
Students 1,416
Location United States 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          
Mascot Bobcats
Website www.wvwc.edu

West Virginia Wesleyan College is a regionally accredited private, coeducational, liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. 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. The college assumed its current name on Tuesday June 5, 1906. (See expanded History.) U.S. News & World Report considers West Virginia Wesleyan a national liberal arts college and ranks it in the fourth tier.

Wesleyan was listed as one of the "Best Southeastern Colleges" by the Princeton Review in 2005, 2007 and 2009, and a "Best-Value College" in 2006 and 2007. Wesleyan is one of 150 schools to receive that distinction[1].

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

Contents

Academics

The College offers over 40 majors and programs of study. Undergraduate degrees are awarded in Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Music Education. Graduate degrees are awarded in Masters of Athletic Training, Masters of Business Administration, Masters of Education, and Masters of Science in Nursing. Majors include the option of a five-year Masters of Business Administration or Masters of Education Degrees.

  • Approximately 85% of West Virginia Wesleyan's faculty have earned doctorates or comparable terminal degrees within their field.
  • The student-faculty ratio is 14 to 1, with an average class size of 19.
  • Approximately 90% of students that apply to law, medicine, athletic training and other graduate programs are accepted. Nursing job or graduate placement has consistently stayed at or near 100% for several years.

Campus

The campus boasts 23 major buildings of Georgian architecture, a legacy of the presidency of Stanley H. Martin (1957-1972). The beautiful campus is one of the immediate attractions for potential incoming freshmen. The grounds are situated in a park-like setting of more than 100 acres. It is surrounded by towering oak and spruce trees, dogwoods, laurels, and rhododendrons. The most recognizable buildings on campus are the Lynch-Raine Administration building, Annie Merner Pfeiffer Library, and the beautiful Wesley Chapel with its towering and majestic steeple which can be seen for miles around.

Student life

Wesleyan has retained its residential character; about 90% of the students live on campus, due to its inclusive campus housing policies.

Wesleyan is one of fewer than 50 American colleges and universities with a 1:1 ratio of computing services for students. Wesleyan participates in the Dell University program. All students are highly recommended and encouraged to have a laptop computer. The campus is thoroughly connected offering 2,200 Internet ports, and wireless access in common areas.

There are 19 NCAA Division II sports teams, and 70 clubs and organizations. Some 87% of students participate in community service.

The college's athletics teams are the Bobcats which compete in the NCAA Division II West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC). Wesleyan has won over 151 conference championships earning a conference dominance of 14 Commissioner's Cups during the past 15 years. Each year, Wesleyan is recognized as having the top athletic program in the WVIAC. All of Wesleyans's 19 NCAA II teams successfully compete at the regional and national levels.

The Greek system was initiated on campus in 1925, when the Board of Trustees authorized the establishment of two sororities and three fraternities. Today, Wesleyan's Greek Community thrives and the character of the young men and women involved with the Greek organizations on campus reflect the values of the college. The majority of active alumni of Wesleyan are affiliated with the Greek system. In addition, Greek Alumni continue to be the most prolific donors to the college. The four Panhellenic-affiliated sororites are Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Xi Delta, Zeta Tau Alpha. The five Interfraterntiy Council (IFC)-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.

History

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Early History

The mission of West Virginia Wesleyan College is reflected in its name. Its founding in 1890 by the West Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church climaxed a 16 year effort to establish a center of learning in the then-young state that would reflect the values of the Methodist community, meet the church's need for an educated leadership, and provide an educational resource for the general citizenry of the state and region.

Although the founders were always loyal to these principles, the immediate catalyst for the College's establishment was perhaps less lofty: by 1882, Methodists believed they had lost control of West Virginia University in Morgantown, leading to an exodus from the state university of Methodist students who now sought an educational alternative.

Originally known as the West Virginia Conference Seminary, the new school opened on Wednesday, September 3, 1890, in a new three-story brick building, located on the present site of the Lynch-Raine Administration Building. The original building was destroyed by a fire on Sunday February 5, 1905. It was replaced the following year by the current structure. In keeping with the tradition of seminaries or academies of the day, it offered largely pre-college instruction. Bennett W. Hutchinson, a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Theology and an ordained minister, came from Massachusetts to accept the presidency. Mr. Roy Reger of Buckhannon was the first of 201 students to enroll that first year.

Full-fledged college work was initiated in 1900 and gradually expanded until the first baccalaureate degrees were awarded in 1905. After one year as Wesleyan University of West Virginia, the name was officially changed on Tuesday June 5, 1906 to West Virginia Wesleyan College, in honor of Methodism's founder, John Wesley. Pre-college study continued through 1922-1923, after which it was deemed unnecessary due to the growth of high schools in the state.

The early beginnings of the College were modest, and the fledgling school was frequently plagued by debt. The debt became particularly threatening during the Great Depression of the 1930s. But the shortage of fiscal resources never dampened the vision of the college community and its supporters. By 1939, when the three major Methodist bodies united to become the United Methodist Church, leaders of the College dreamed of making Wesleyan the outstanding liberal arts college in the state, a challenging vision for a financially struggling college of fewer than 500 students.

1890 to 1930

Historians of the College credit Thomas W. Haught, an 1894 graduate of the Seminary, 20 year academic dean (1909-1929), long-time faculty member, and three-time acting president, as one of Wesleyan's most influential champions of academic excellence. In addition to strengthening the faculty and the emphasis on academics, he led efforts to achieve initial accreditation by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1927.

1957 to 1972

The presidency of Dr. Stanley H. Martin (1957-1972) marks the period of the College's most dramatic growth, measured in student enrollments, increased academic stature, and an expanded physical plant. It was largely his vision that gave the campus its present Georgian character. Wesley Chapel, Christopher Hall of Science, the Benedum Campus Center, Jenkins Hall, Doney Hall, Holloway Hall, McCuskey Hall, and the Martin Religious Center are tangible expressions of the expansion that characterized President Martin's tenure.

1973 to 1976

Following the successful tenure of Martin, John D. Rockefeller IV served as Wesleyan's President from 1973 to 1976. The current gymnasium and athletic center was completed during Rockefeller's tenure. For a period of time, it was referred to on campus as "The New Gym," but was re-named the John D. Rockefeller IV Center after his departure in 1976. Immediately following his tenure at Wesleyan, Rockefeller served as Governor of West Virginia from 1977 to 1985, and went on to serve as the Junior Senator from West Virginia in the United States Senate from 1986 to the present day.

In 1976, WV Wesleyan alumnus Rev. Ronald E. Sleeth '42 was inaugurated as president of the institution. Sleeth's wife Natalie Sleeth, a prolific composer of sacred choral music, wrote the song Joy in the Morning to commemorate the event. Joy in the Morning was performed at the inauguration by the WVWC Concert Chorale. The anthem was later published, and remains a favorite of many church choirs. President Sleeth retired from the presidency one year later and returned to the Chicago area in order to return to his first loves of teaching and preaching.

1995 to 2006

In 2006, President William Haden retired after eleven years in office. He was the second longest serving President in the history of the college. During his tenure the College completed the most successful capital campaign in its history with $46.4 million in gifts and pledges. The College also significantly upgraded its information technology network and Wesleyan and four other private colleges formed the College Independent Enterprise (ICE) to share a common administrative computing system. President's Haden tenure also had difficult times. During his time in office, Wesleyan accumulated additional debt while faculty salaries were stagnant. As of 2008, faculty salaries at Wesleyan are the lowest among similar institutions (25% lower than the average for associate professors and 20% lower than the average for full professors).[1] Salary stagnation, uncertainty over the college's direction, and other issues has resulted in on-going high turnover among the faculty. Ten year attrition of tenured faculty stands at over 30%. Attrition of tenure-eligible non-tenured faculty is considerably higher. Nearly a third of departments have seen 80-100% turnover over the past five years. His presidency culminated with two no-confidence votes in his administration and, ultimately, the declaration of a financial emergency, which was accompanied by a temporary revocation of all faculty tenure, contributions by the college to pensions, and announcement of a plan to close a number of academic programs. No tenured faculty members were removed from the College during this short period.

Recent Years

Dr. Pamela Jubin Balch, a 1971 graduate of Wesleyan, became the College's 18th president in July 2006. In the history of the college, Dr. Balch is the first female to serve as president. Since her arrival, Wesleyan has reinstated its nursing and 3-2 engineering programs and has begun renovating all residence halls and several academic buildings.

In May 2007, President Balch announced that the long-anticipated construction of the newest addition to campus, the Virginia Law Center for the Performing Arts, would begin effective immediately. Now completed, the Performing Arts Center was dedicated and opened on April 2, 2009.

In the summer of 2008 the college began construction of the 24,000 square-foot David E. Reemsnyder Research Center - an addition to the Christopher Hall of Science which will house state of the art research facilities for students in the sciences. The Reemsnyder Center is scheduled to be completed in late fall, 2009.

Wesleyan Traditions

Sports

Many features of modern campus life at Wesleyan have long traditions. The college currently boasts 18 sports, competing in NCAA Division II. The college offers men's sports in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, and track and field. The college offers women's sports in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. A 19th varsity sport, women's lacrosse, will formally begin competition in the fall of 2010.

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 indicted into the National Football League Hall of Fame - Earl "Greasy" Neale '15 of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1969 and Cliff Battles '33 of the Washington Redskins in 1968.

Music on Campus

Music was an important part of campus life, beginning in 1890 when two pianos and an organ were installed in the seminary's new building. In 1902, the current Annex Building was constructed as the Conservatory of Music, the College's first building dedicated solely to academic purposes.

And as early as 1910, the Wesleyan Volunteer Band, followed in 1930 by the Student Volunteer Movement, established a tradition of service among Wesleyan students, concentrating in those early years on foreign missions of the Christian church, but also maintaining strong ties to the local community.

In 1969, a Casavant Frères pipe organ was installed in the newly-built Wesley Chapel. The organ is currently the largest true pipe organ in the state of West Virginia with 4,244 pipes and 4 manuals. The instrument is frequently used for campus convocations, recitals and concerts, chapel services, and West Virginia Annual Conference (United Methodist Church) events. In recent times, the organ has encountered some technical problems and the college has started a campaign to refurbish and renovate the instrument.

Today, WVWC has a wide variety of performing groups including a concert band, percussion ensemble, Concentus Vocum, and the renowned Concert Chorale and Jazz Ensemble programs, both of which have toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.

The school's unofficial anthem is "My Home Among the Hills," written by former trustee E. W. “Bill” James and is sung at every school ceremony. The song has been used at special functions throughout the state, including the governor's inaugural ceremonies.

Wesley Chapel

An important legacy of the College is Wesley Chapel. With the ability to seat 1,800 people [2], Wesley Chapel currently claims the 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 the late Maynard Ferguson, who famously performed a trumpet solo from the pulpit.

Written Histories

  • Haught, Thomas W., West Virginia Wesleyan College 1890-1940, Buckhannon, WV: West Virginia Wesleyan College Press, 1940.
  • McCuskey, Roy, All Things Work Together for Good to them that Love God, Buckhannon, WV: West Virginia Wesleyan College Press, ca. 1950.
  • Plummer, Kenneth M., A History of West Virginia Wesleyan College, 1890-1965, Buckhannon, WV: West Virginia Wesleyan College Press, 1965.

External links

References

  1. ^ Average Faculty Salaries: A Comparison of Public and Private Institutions by Midwestern State, Midwestern Higher Education Compact, August 2008.
  2. ^ West Virginia Wesleyan College Archives

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