University Profile


Virginia Wesleyan is Coastal Virginia’s Premier University of the Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Mission Statement

An inclusive community dedicated to scholarship and service grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, Virginia Wesleyan University inspires students to build meaningful lives through engagement in Coastal Virginia's dynamic metropolitan region, the nation, and the world.


Virginia Wesleyan University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, baccalaureate, and masters degrees. Questions about the accreditation of Virginia Wesleyan University may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

The Setting

Virginia Wesleyan has often been defined by its desirable and unique location in Coastal Virginia. Located in Virginia Beach, the University is just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay on a beautiful 300-acre park-like campus. The area is home to a host of business, governmental, and cultural institutions, as well as rich historical and natural resources that offer tremendous opportunities for students. The University’s setting complements its dual commitment to the development of the intellect and to involvement in society. Nestled in the heart of one of Virginia’s largest metropolitan areas, Virginia Wesleyan is physically insulated from the bustle of the city traffic, and yet the vast resources of its surrounding urban area are easily accessible. Regardless of their major(s), students are only a few minutes away from a living laboratory. The University offers many opportunities for students to bring the theoretical and the practical together in this rich environment.

Proud of Our Past, Focused on Our Future

Virginia Wesleyan College received full accreditation in is first year of eligibility, enjoyed steady enrollment gains, and attained membership in the selective Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. The College held its first commencement in May 1970, graduating 41 pioneering students. Since then, the College has become a University and has grown to over 1,600 students and 10,000 living alumni.
Rooted in the liberal arts tradition as well as its Methodist heritage, Virginia Wesleyan provides a broad academic foundation while cultivating productive and engaged citizens. Funded by the Teagle Foundation, the University developed a unique enhanced four-credit-hour curricular model, implemented in 2011, that prepares students by providing them with expanded opportunities to learn by doing, to connect theory to practice, and to link the classroom to the world.

During the 2016-17 academic year, Virginia Wesleyan’s academic program was organized to reflect a more contemporary model. The institution organized its academic program into schools—the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities, the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and the Birdsong School of Social Science. In 2018, the D. Henry Watts School of Professional Studies was added. The Batten Honors College was founded in 2016 and establishment of Virginia Wesleyan University Global followed. In 2020, the University entered into an exclusive collaboration agreement for a joint campus in Tokyo, Japan. This collaboration between Lakeland University Japan and VWU Global enrolls approximately 400 students in associate degree programs.

Virginia Wesleyan College was authorized by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to become Virginia Wesleyan University, effective with the start of the 2017-18 academic year. Many institutional achievements led to this pivotal moment in the institution's history, most notably the structuring of the academic program, initiation of the Batten Honors College, completion of a comprehensive campus master planning process, and a move to Level III status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The change in status enabled the addition of new graduate programs and an online degree program. Accreditation for the campus in Japan is authorized through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and Lakeland University.

Virginia Wesleyan has had four presidents: Joseph S. Johnston (1965), Lambuth M. Clarke (1966-1992), William T. "Billy" Greer (1992-2015), and Scott D. Miller (2015-).  Rev. Johnston served as “executive officer” from 1961 to 1964 before serving as the first president.


The ongoing sustainability efforts of the University’s faculty, staff, and students reflect a larger commitment to ethical conduct and social responsibility through environmental stewardship and education. Virginia Wesleyan is committed to waste reduction, recycling, energy efficiency, green building practices, composting and other earth-friendly landscaping practices, promotion of public transportation and more.

The Climate Commitment, carbon neutrality, and climate resilience initiative sets new standards for climate leadership in higher education.  Current VWU President Dr. Scott D. Miller was a charter signatory when this initiative was passed in 2006. When he became University President in 2015, Dr. Miller's demonstrated commitment to sustainability reinforced Virginia Wesleyan’s own efforts.  The University is also a member of the U.S. Green Building Council and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

Environmental Guiding Principles

Virginia Wesleyan University recognizes our responsibility to protect and enhance the environment and its biodiversity for the health of local and global ecosystems, future generations, and ourselves.  We are committed to responsible stewardship of campus resources and to demonstrating leadership in sustainability.  As a learning community located in the rich and unique ecosystems of Coastal Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we are committed to promoting and developing the next generation of environmental stewards. The ongoing sustainability efforts of the University reflect a larger commitment to ethical conduct and social responsibility through environmental stewardship and education.

We seek to be a campus community:

  • In which the University is an environmental leader in all aspects of institutional functions, including planning, operations, purchasing, and maintenance;
  • In which environmental efforts encourage interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching and research;
  • In which diversity, inclusion, and equity are valued and recognized for their role in supporting and creating a vibrant, sustainable, healthy, and resilient community;
  • In which we acknowledge our obligation to live responsibly as part of a forested ecosystem that mantles our campus and promotes a rich learning environment;
  • In which we build a campus community that promotes health and wellness efforts in harmony with the natural world; and
  • In which University leadership and expertise contribute to Coastal Virginia’s local and regional environmental efforts.

To advance our goals, we will:

  • Incorporate environmental and social concerns as a priority in University decision making, planning, and investing;
  • Consider social, environmental, and economic impacts of Virginia Wesleyan’s policies, practices, and growth;
  • Train the next generation of environmental stewards and professionals of local and regional distinction;
  • Foster the University’s national-niche programs in environmental sciences and the Batten Honors College by encouraging investments from internal and external resources;
  • Seek practices and procedures that protect, enhance, and regenerate the environment;
  • Promote the University as a living laboratory for sustainability, contributing to the education, outreach, and research mission of the University;
  • Use participatory processes in developing Virginia Wesleyan’s policies and practices; and
  • Fulfill our responsibility as good neighbors by working with the community to foster social equity, environmental justice, and healthy natural systems.
Our decisions and actions will be guided by the Virginia Wesleyan University mission statement, reflective of the University’s values and resources. As a learning institution, we recognize that achieving environmental sustainability will be an evolving practice.