West Virginia Wesleyan College
Latin: Wesleyanum Collegium Virginiae Occidentalis
Former name
Wesleyan University of West Virginia (1905–1906)
TypePrivate college
Established1890; 134 years ago (1890)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Academic affiliations
Endowment$42.4 million
PresidentJames Moore
Academic staff
Location, ,
United States

38°59′19″N 80°13′18″W / 38.98861°N 80.22167°W / 38.98861; -80.22167
ColorsOrange and Black   
NicknameBobcats and Lady Bobcats
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II - MEC

West Virginia Wesleyan College is a private college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. It has an enrollment of about 900 students from 35 U.S. states and 26 countries. The school was founded in 1890 by the West Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is currently affiliated with the United Methodist Church. West Virginia Wesleyan College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.


Main Hall, 1908

Early history

West Virginia Wesleyan College was founded in 1890 by the West Virginia Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The school opened in 1890, in a new three-story brick building where the current Lynch-Raine Administration Building now stands. Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Theology alumnus Bennett W. Hutchinson was the college's first president.

Following ten years focusing on college preparatory work, college-level instruction was first offered in 1900 culminating in the first baccalaureate degrees in 1905. For one year the institution was named Wesleyan University of West Virginia but it was quickly changed to West Virginia Wesleyan College in honor of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Pre-college instruction continued until 1923 when it was discontinued because the high schools in the state had grown enough to adequately perform that task.

Recent years

Pamela Jubin Balch, a 1971 graduate of Wesleyan, became the college's 18th president in July 2006. Dr. Balch is the first woman to serve as president in the college's history. At the outset of her tenure as President, Balch reinstated the college's briefly-discontinued nursing program as well as its 3-2 engineering program. The college has since expanded its academic programs, adding graduate degrees in athletic training, business administration, English Writing, and nursing.


The college offers over 50 undergraduate majors and 33 minors. Wesleyan also has 3-2 engineering partnerships with Marshall University and West Virginia University. Undergraduate degrees are awarded in Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Music Education. Graduate degrees awarded include the Master of Science in Athletic Training, Master of Business Administration, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and Master of Science in Nursing.

Approximately 80% of West Virginia Wesleyan's faculty have earned doctorates or comparable terminal degrees within their field. The student-faculty ratio is 14 to 1, with an average class size of 19.


Panorama of West Virginia Wesleyan College
West Virginia Wesleyan College
West Virginia Wesleyan College welcome sign on the corner of College Avenue and Meade Street
Statue of John Wesley in front of Wesley Chapel at WV Wesleyan College

The campus boasts 23 major buildings of Georgian architecture. The grounds are situated in a park-like setting of more than 100 acres.

Student life

Wesleyan has retained its residential character; about 90% of the students live on campus.

There are 21 NCAA Division II sports teams, and 70 clubs and organizations.

The college's athletics teams are the Bobcats, which compete in the NCAA Division II Mountain East Conference, of which it was a founding member in 2013. The Bobcats were former members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC), having been recognized as having the top athletic program in the WVIAC.[citation needed]by winning, over 151 conference championships and earning a conference dominance of 18 Commissioner's Cups during the past 20 years[when?] and eight Presidents' Cups in 14 years. Each year, Wesleyan's 21 NCAA II teams successfully[clarification needed] compete at the regional and national levels.

The Greek system was initiated on campus in 1925, and many fraternities and sororities have been founded since.

Some Wesleyan students participate in community service through the Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development (CCE).[1][2] Students in the CCE also organized the first collegiate Jump Rope for Heart events in the United States.[3]

Wesleyan traditions


Main article: West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats

The college currently boasts 21 sports, competing in NCAA Division II. The college offers varsity men's sports in baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, soccer, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field. The college offers varsity women's sports in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and volleyball. The 21st varsity sport, women's lacrosse, formally began competition in the fall of 2010.

Wesley Chapel

With the ability to seat 1,800 people,[4][5] Wesley Chapel annually hosts the West Virginia United Methodist Annual Conference each June.

Notable alumni

This article's list of alumni may not follow Wikipedia's verifiability policy. Please improve this article by removing names that do not have independent reliable sources showing they merit inclusion in this article AND are alumni, or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. (August 2023)


  1. ^ "WV Campus Compact Awards Engagement Honors to West Virginia Wesleyan" (Press release). West Virginia Wesleyan College. March 28, 2013. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014.
  2. ^ "West Virginia Wesleyan College Earns Place on National Honor Roll for Community Service" (Press release). West Virginia Wesleyan College. March 8, 2013. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014.
  3. ^ "Second Annual Jump Rope for Heart a Success" (Press release). West Virginia Wesleyan College. April 22, 2013. Archived from the original on May 12, 2014.
  4. ^ "Weddings". West Virginia Wesleyan College. Retrieved January 27, 2017. The chapel seats 1800 people and has a complete sound system, grand piano and the largest pipe organ in West Virginia.
  5. ^ "125 Things We Love About Wesleyan" (PDF). Sundial. No. Summer/Fall 2015. West Virginia Wesleyan College. p. 18. 67. Wesley Chapel and Martin Religious Center: Wesley Chapel, which is a designated United Methodist historical site, is truly one of the iconic landmarks of Wesleyan's campus. From its 204-foot tall steeple, to its 1,800-person sanctuary, to the classrooms, meeting rooms, and offices in Martin Religious Center, Wesley Chapel stands as the literal, as well as the spiritual, religious and intellectual heart of West Virginia Wesleyan College, just as it was intended to be when it was constructed in 1966.
  6. ^ "West Virginia Legislature". www.wvlegislature.gov. Retrieved 2023-08-22.
  7. ^ "West Virginia Veterans Memorial - Roy Earl Parrish". West Virginia Archives and History. Retrieved 2023-07-20.

Further reading