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State of the University: Clear Vision of the Future
President Miller cites record fundraising, affordability, growing enrollment, and innovative partnerships as the University’s pathway forward
University News | August 19, 2022
Virginia Wesleyan University has “an immense respect and gratitude for the past, a clear vision of the future, and the commitment and creativity to solve the challenges of tomorrow,” President Scott D. Miller said during his annual State of the University address on August 19. The Virginia Beach university is growing and prospering, he said, despite external challenges in higher education and the world.
In his address, Dr. Miller announced that the University’s capital campaign concluded on June 30, 2022, with a record $181 million in private donations, allowing for construction of new buildings, renovation of existing structures, new instrumentation and technology, and significant expansion of scholarship offerings and endowment.
He noted that VWU’s endowment grew to $126 million last fiscal year, including an $80.3 million endowment for the Batten Honors College. All endowment funds have been invested in an environmentally friendly portfolio with Brown Advisory of Baltimore, supporting the adoption of long-term investment strategies that create an equitable, low-carbon, and regenerative economy. The Brown Advisory Foundation has also made a contribution to establish a student-managed investment fund at Virginia Wesleyan.
Dr. Miller cited the Greek word philanthropia, which means "Love for Humanity," to frame the University’s gratitude for support of its capital campaign.
“The philanthropists who gave literally transformational gifts to this campaign,” he said, “did so because of how much they care about our challenged society and how convinced they are that VWU is a university of consequence designed and determined to graduate problem solvers who have learned experientially.”
Affordability and accessibility for students were also a large focus of the address. Dr. Miller shared that the University is once again a leader in cost containment, with measures including: freezing tuition for the fifth straight year; creating three-year degree pathways for 27 bachelor’s programs; funding tuition for 160 academically talented students through the endowed Batten Honors College; and growth of a Work and Learn Program that helps nearly 40 percent of traditional VWU students gain job experience while covering a portion of their education costs.
He spoke of the concurrent enrollment Tidewater Promise program, which guarantees Tidewater Community College - Virginia Beach graduates entrance to VWU degree studies with junior-class status, allowing students to earn their baccalaureate degree for less than any other four-year institution, public or private, in the immediate region.
“At Virginia Wesleyan,” Dr. Miller said, “our longtime commitment to providing an affordable education has been a crucial differentiator that helps us appeal to financially responsible students who are looking to start their careers without the heavy burden of unreasonable student loans.”
In the 2021-2022 Academic Year, Virginia Wesleyan had an overall enrollment headcount in all programs at all locations of 3,141, including 1,577 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,261 continuing education and talent development learners, and 303 students at the University’s collaborative campus in Tokyo.
Dr. Miller shared key enrollment highlights that illustrate the non-traditional ways VWU is recruiting students, including the announcement of a new partnership with the Virginia Beach Police Department. The program awards VBPD officers credit for some of the college-level transferable content they received at Basic Recruit Academy, and officers are able to come to Virginia Wesleyan to complete additional coursework toward a baccalaureate degree.
“Increasing polarization and conflict within the community served by the Virginia Beach Police Department and similar departments across the country requires a broader body of knowledge and skills than have been taught in the past,” said Dr. Miller. “We are committed to being a strong community partner and are honored by the opportunity to support the VBPD with the educational resources that will allow them to achieve the highest professional standard.”
Watch the 2022 State of the University address in its entirety on the VWU Digital Broadcasting Network