Founded in 1890 by the Methodist Episcopal Church (now part of the United Methodist Church), West Virginia Wesleyan College began as a college preparatory school; a shortage of public high schools in West Virginia meant there were not enough college-ready students in the region to sustain a college. After spending a decade setting the stage for its evolution into a full college, the school was briefly called the Wesleyan University of West Virginia, but dialed back the name to “college” as a better reflection of its mission. In the 21st century, WVWC has added graduate degrees and widely expanded its programs to meet the needs of contemporary West Virginians, and has been named one of the top regional institutions in the South by U.S. News & World Report and the Princeton Review.
Academic ProgramsWest Virginia Wesleyan College is primarily a traditional liberal arts college, in which all students get a foundational preparation in the humanities and sciences before moving on to their majors. The educational focus at WVWC is mainly undergraduate, though some graduate degrees are offered, and the curriculum is grounded in the Methodist/Wesleyan tradition – ethics, intellectual rigor, social justice, and service leadership. WVWC offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nearly as many minors, from the classical humanities to nursing, business, computer science, and the sciences.
In the mode of the small liberal arts college West Virginia Wesleyan is known for its excellent student support, with a 13:1 student:faculty ratio and classes that are generally smaller than 19 students. Around 80% of the faculty have the highest degree in their field, and all classes are taught by experienced faculty members, who take an active role in academic and spiritual guidance. In recent years, WVWC has developed a 3-2 engineering program with Virginia Tech, UVA, and West Virginia University; students earn a complete BA from WVWC, and a complete Engineering BS from the partners, in only 5 years. Graduate degrees are growing in stature, including the MBA, Master of Education, MFA in Creative Writing, and MS in Nursing.
Student LifeWest Virginia Wesleyan has a student body of just over 1400, a number that helps the college retain its liberal arts atmosphere. With around 90% of students living on campus as traditional residential undergraduates, WVWC cultivates a close-knit, familial environment, where students live, work, and play together. More than 70 on-campus, student led clubs and organizations help students find their tribe and connect with their peers, whether through a vivacious Greek Life, or one of the many musical ensembles, honor societies, professional organizations, or hobby/recreation groups.
Community service is also extremely important to Wesleyan life; nearly 90% of students participate in some service activity through the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development, working on-campus and in the communities of the West Virginia Hills. The Wesleyan Bobcats compete in 21 NCAA Division II varsity teams, including the newest, women’s lacrosse. WVWC’s football program dates back to 1889, well before Wesleyan was even a university, and the colors orange and black were originally selected to emulate Princeton University, one of the nation’s first college football programs.