Virginia Wesleyan College to become a university

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — After 56 years, Virginia Wesleyan College will have a new name in the fall. The school will now be known as Virginia Wesleyan University.

“I’m going to have trouble remembering I’m going to school with a different name,” Virginia Wesleyan junior Alana Peters joked. “I think it’s really time that our school starts moving forward and progressing as a campus.”

College President Dr. Scott Miller says now is the time for the change. Next year, VWU will have two graduate programs, three academic schools and a new honors program where the school plans to give full rides to brightest students from around the country.

The first class of the Batten Honors College opens in the fall. School officials say 22 freshmen with grade point averages of 4.11 will be given full tuition scholarships.

“We are sleepy no more,” Miller added. “It comes down to complexity of the institution, the mission and purpose and we have become a comprehensive institution in recent years which really has facilities the change.”

Miller says this change will come with hundreds of new eager students over the next couple years. The current enrollment is 1,400, but Miller hopes that will increase to 1,700.

“It was a shocker,” added senior Amber Gaines. “I think my biggest concern was that going from the name college to university was going to lose that small community feel, but I talked with faculty and staff and they explained it mainly is about the programs.”

By fall, every sign, t-shirt and banner needs to be changed. The new university will also change its address from Norfolk to Virginia Beach, because the majority of the campus is on the Beach side.

“Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach,” Miller said. “There is a sexiness that goes with our location.”

“I think it could attract a lot of students who want to be near the water,” Gaines added. “They want to be in a great place where they can have fun and get an education.”