To begin the 2017-2018 school year, President Miller gave the State of the University Address on August 22 to showcase to the campus community the progress Virginia Wesleyan has made and is continuing to make. President Miller began his address with a statement regarding the current issues in Charlottesville, Virginia, making it known that Virginia Wesleyan will “stand with all Americans who oppose bigotry, who fight for justice, and who see to do God’s work in abundance.”
Virginia Wesleyan since 1961 has been progressively growing as a community and will continue to grow as this 2017-2018 school year sets off. President Miller began with the many different academic accolades that we will see as a campus starting this school year, such as acquiring two graduate level programs and an online Business Administration program; gaining an extensive, competitive honors program; completing the Greer Environmental Sciences Center; and much more. One of the biggest changes that Wesleyan will become accustomed with is that as we attain these two graduate programs, Virginia Wesleyan will go from “an aspiring college to an inspiring University,” Miller said.
The change from college to university is one of which President Miller is excited for and hopes that the Wesleyan community, both current students and alumni, are as well. The opening of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center is another exciting change as well, and as a community that is directly affected by environmental issues, President Miller hopes students become more involved in helping the environment. The Greer Environmental Sciences Center is just one step in the “investment in environmental programs that will create a priceless legacy for our campus community, our home region, and our world,” Miller said.
On top of the academic progression, Virginia Wesleyan is also coming a long way in the athletic division. Virginia Wesleyan’s athletic success can be attributed to Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletes Joanne Renn, who gives 100 percent in her job every day. However, all of Virginia Wesleyan’s coaches and athletic staff are contributors to the numerous achievements accomplished by the athletic division this past year.
In May of 2017, our softball team became NCAA Division III National champions, named the number one team in the nation; had the National Player of the Year, Hanna Hull; and the National Coach of the Year, Brandon Elliot. In other sports, achievements included Evan Cox, who won an individual national championship in golf, and Marissa Coombs, who was an All-American athlete for indoor and outdoor track. Overall, Virginia Wesleyan had five athletes who earned All-American honors, 11 athletes who earned All-State, 18 athletes who earned All-Region, and 54 athletes who were recognized for All-ODAC achievements.
With all the great achievements Wesleyan’s athletic division had during the 2016-2017 school year, the future is still very bright for them. In the 2017-20188 school year, Wesleyan is welcoming the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center, which consists of a 400 meter, eight lane track and field. It is currently under construction with estimated completion occurring next month. Wesleyan will also be sending off women’s and men’s swimming teams for the first time this year.
Campus life will also be changing within the 2017-2018 school year. “You have heard a common theme today- that of generosity to this institution through philanthropy,” Miller said. Philanthropy is a major contributor to campus life for this school year. Villages I and II will be given name changes to Bray and Allen Villages in honor of generous and honored alumni.
The arts division of Virginia Wesleyan University will also be gaining a new building, the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, which is to begin construction later this year. One last project that the administration hopes to begin soon is the construction of the new Oxford Village. Oxford Village will be located across the street from campus and will be off campus housing for upperclassmen and graduate students; these apartments will consist of eight buildings and 248 units for students to enjoy.
Virginia Wesleyan University is setting off the 2017-2018 school year strong according to President Miller’s State of the University Address, in hopes that the student body will progress along with the campus we all love. In his 2015 State of the College Address, President Miller challenged Virginia Wesleyan to “be at the top of our game, every day, and in every respect…to be alert to those who can share and contribute to our mission, our vision, and our values.” Two years later, the progress VIrginia Wesleyan has achieved has been overwhelming.