Chartering the College

The founding of  Virginia Wesleyan College began with an effort by the new Norfolk Methodist District Superintendent, the Reverend Dr. Joseph S. Johnston, to obtain denominational approval for a Methodist-related college in the Hampton Roads area.  He saw an opportunity to link financial support for a new college to an already-planned capital campaign to raise pledges of support for Virginia Methodism's existing colleges and Wesley Foundations.  Timing was important, and solicited letters of encouragement for a new college during 1959-1960, followed by surveys of potential enrollment and financial support, led to resolutions of endorsement by appropriate church committees and boards and a vote at the June 1961 Virginia Methodist Annual Conference to establish Virginia Wesleyan College. With a charter granted by the Commonwealth of Virginia the following month, the College existed on paper, just two years after Dr. Johnston's initial effort.  But much work remained before the College could open, initially anticipated for 1964 but realized in September, 1966.


Written by Stephen S. Mansfield. Compiled by Sophie Rondeau.