September 02, 2015
Wesleyan Celebrates a Major Milestone
West Virginia Wesleyan College will celebrate a special milestone tomorrow. On September 3, 1890, a cohort of 70 students began taking classes at the institution of higher learning in Buckhannon that was founded by the West Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. This was the accomplishment of a 16-year effort to establish a center of learning 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.
Originally known as the West Virginia Conference Seminary, the school opened in a three-story brick building located on the present site of the Lynch-Raine Administration Building. In 1905, the school changed its name to Wesleyan University of West Virginia and the name was officially changed in 1906 to West Virginia Wesleyan College, in honor of Methodism’s founder, John Wesley.
Since that time, Wesleyan has expanded dramatically with more than 45 undergraduate programs and five graduate programs. The Lynch-Raine Administration Building is now surrounded by more than 30 buildings on one of the most picturesque and beautiful campuses in the region.
Wesleyan’s has enjoyed robust enrollment growth since its founding and during the past decade and welcomed over 1,500 students this fall, including over 450 new students. Over half of Wesleyan’s new students are from West Virginia, of which 113 are PROMISE Scholar recipients. The largest cohort of out-of-state students are from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, and Florida.
Wesleyan continues to attract outstanding students, which is reflected in nearly 100 students who graduated with a 4.0 GPA and another 118 with a GPA of 3.5-3.99.
While Wesleyan still offers pre-ministerial studies along with philosophy and religious studies, the most popular programs today are nursing, biology, business, physics/engineering, and athletic training.
Both the City of Buckhannon and the Upshur County Commission will sign proclamations at their regular meetings tomorrow to commemorate Wesleyan’s founding in 1890. A special picnic for students, faculty, and staff will be held from 4:30-7 pm. The culmination of the 125th’s celebration will occur during Wesleyan’s annual Founders Day Convocation at 3 pm on October 16.
Since its early days, Wesleyan has enjoyed an outstanding academic reputation and is known throughout the nation for its tradition of excellence. Wesleyan graduates have been awarded an Emmy Award, Pulitzer Prize for Journalism, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences Award, the ACA Country Music Song of the Year, Dove Music Bluegrass Song of the Year, and Grammy Award nominee.
The school is ranked 31st among all baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly and has been selected as a regional first-tier college and university by U.S. News & World Report for the past several years.
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