From a charter to the beginning of classes
From Virginia Wesleyan's chartering in 1961 until early 1965, a year prior to opening, the College consisted of the Board of Trustees. Dr. Johnston served as chairman of the Board from 1961 until 1964 and in early 1965 was chosen to serve as the College's first president. By then the trustees had acquired the Smith farm astride the Norfolk/Virginia Beach border as the campus site, had approved the academic village design concept proposed by the architects, and had hired the first academic dean and chief development officer. A ceremonial groundbreaking in July, 1965 preceded the beginning of Village I construction, even as fundraising proved difficult and the projected opening enrollment was reduced. Community interest in the birthing of a new college remained high, and in September, 1966 Dr. Johnston's successor as president, Lambuth Clarke,the several other administrators and the dozen first faculty members welcomed the 75 freshmen who became Virginia Wesleyan's pioneer students.
Written by Stephen S. Mansfield. Compiled by Sophie Rondeau.