Feature Stories

Share this Story

State of the University: Record Fundraising and Endowment Growth

Despite pandemic-related economic challenges, outside financial support ensures VWU’s prosperity

University News | August 20, 2021

President Miller

Photo Gallery: State of the University 2021

While national media reports are painting a challenging picture for American higher education, Virginia Wesleyan University President Scott D. Miller described ways the private Virginia Beach institution has continued to grow and prosper during his annual State of the University address on Friday.  

In his address, Dr. Miller highlighted accessibility and affordability for students, record fundraising, and growth in physical assets and endowment. 

“Despite all the financial challenges facing our students and the University over the last 18 months, our donors have remained true and provided record levels of support,” Dr. Miller told guests during the event in the University’s TowneBank Arena. “In fact, fundraising from public and private sources has been the best in University history.”

President Miller shared that during the last six years the University has attracted $167 million of private donations, and over $10 million in state and federal designated award dollars. This support has resulted in construction of new buildings, renovation of existing structures, new instrumentation and technology, and a larger endowment. The increase in endowment has significantly expanded the University’s scholarship offerings, he noted. 

“It has enabled us to revise our position in the marketplace and be more responsive,” said Dr. Miller. “It has led to increased opportunities for our students. This support has truly transformed us from an aspiring local college to an inspiring global university.”

Virginia Wesleyan had an overall headcount of 1,608 undergraduate and graduate students in 2020-21, plus an additional 1,203 continuing education learners and approximately 300 learners at the University’s collaborative campus in Japan. The highly selective Batten Honors College, founded in 2017, also reached its desired capacity of 160 scholars in 2021.

Dr. Miller noted that VWU’s endowment grew to $123 million in the 2021-22 academic year, including an $80.2 million endowment for the Batten Honors College. In keeping with the most significant of the three pillars for the Batten Honors College, the BHC funds are invested in an environmentally friendly way, including the adoption of long-term investment strategies that create an equitable, low-carbon, and regenerative economy.

Dr. Miller also set goals for the future and highlighted the University’s recent accomplishments. Among them:

  • Reaching an overall headcount of 1,608 undergraduate and graduate students, an additional 1,203 continuing education learners, and 300 learners at the University’s collaborative campus in Japan.
  • Continuing a multi-faceted plan of affordability that combines the fourth consecutive year of freezing tuition costs for the 2021-22 academic year, the Batten Honors College, an expanded Work & Learn Program for student employment, a concurrent enrollment program and Fair Transfer Agreement with all community colleges in Virginia, affordable out-of-semester 12-month course options, and a fifth-year tuition guarantee.
  • Joining an elite group of 68 National Liberal Arts Colleges in the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), facilitated by the University of Southern California’s Race & Equity Center, to inform and shape VWU’s initiatives for diversity, equity and inclusion. Also joining New American Colleges and Universities (NACU), a selective consortium of 24 like-minded independent institutions from across the country, as well as becoming one of three Virginia universities—and just 104 nationwide—invited to join Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU), the oldest and largest organization connecting the world’s urban and metropolitan universities.
  • Growing the endowment from $55 million in 2015 to $123 million in 2021-22.
  • Growing a workforce development partnership with Virginia Beach Economic Development, offering continuing education programs to Virginia Beach residents and beyond to build a stronger and more resilient Coastal Virginia amid the pandemic.
  • Continuing campus construction in year five of the University’s capital improvement plan, including renovation of Susan T. Beverly Hall (the original Fine Arts Building), updates to the Malbon Center for Technology, relocation and expansion of the Barclay Sheaks Gallery, construction of DeFord Manor, establishment of the David L. Kaufman Center for Enrollment, modernization of Clarke Hall with the addition of a new business center, and upgrades to the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field.
  • Adding several new academic programs, including an online Master of Education and restructuring of on-campus undergraduate education programs to include majors in elementary education, special education and education studies. Also adding a major in computer information systems and a minor in cybersecurity.
  • Winning a third national championship in four seasons for VWU softball, with team accolades for NCAA Division III National Player of the Year, National Catcher of the Year, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, NCAA Division III National Pitcher of the Year, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Pitcher, and Division III Coaching Staff of the Year by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA).

Watch the 2021 State of the University address in its entirety on the VWU Digital Broadcasting Network.