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United Methodist Heritage

In 1748, John Wesley founded the Kingswood School, marking the integration of educational ministry into the Wesleyan heritage. Methodism, focused on personal and social transformation, extended its principles to learning, offering church-related higher education accessible to all. This commitment, rooted in values like compassion and community, shaped Methodist-related schools as holistic development centers.

Virginia Wesleyan, founded by the Virginia Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church in 1961, exemplified this tradition. Originally housed in downtown Norfolk's Glasslight Hotel building, it later moved to Virginia Beach in 1966. Despite its transformative journey, the university maintained a partnership with the United Methodist Church. However, since becoming a university in 2017, the governance shifted to independence, differentiating operational policies from the Church.

In 2020, the United Methodist Church found itself grappling with a contentious issue that had been simmering for years – LGBTQ rights. The controversy erupted on a national scale, leading to the disaffiliation of a number of churches across the country. In response, a new conservative entity, the Global Methodist Church, emerged as a distinct denomination. Amidst this turmoil, Scott Miller, President of Virginia Wesleyan University, assumed a pivotal role as the leader of the North American Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges and Universities. He underscored VWU's steadfast commitment to fostering an inclusive community that welcomed individuals of all backgrounds and orientations, aligning with the university's core values of diversity and acceptance.

While governance changed, the United Methodist Church's influence over the University lessened, symbolizing autonomy while upholding Methodist heritage. The Church's modest scholarship support continued, reflecting its dedication to diverse and accessible education. This aid not only eased financial burdens for students but also exemplified the Church's commitment to nurturing learning and growth.
Virginia Wesleyan's campus reflected diversity, attracting students of varying ages, faiths, and ethnicities. This amalgamation of perspectives enriched the academic environment, fostering a space where ideas converged and broadened worldviews.

Central to Virginia Wesleyan's mission was providing a rigorous liberal arts education, molding students into capable professionals and responsible citizens. This holistic approach recognized that genuine learning surpassed textbooks, encompassing self-discovery and societal comprehension. Graduates weren't just experts in their fields, but contributors to their communities.

Over time, the echoes of John Wesley's vision resonated in the lives of over 300,000 annual attendees at 117 United Methodist schools across the US. Virginia Wesleyan embodied the enduring power of education entwined with ministry, its legacy weaving into Methodist education's intricate tapestry.

The narrative of Virginia Wesleyan and its Methodist counterparts continued evolving, reminding us that education sparks transformation, intertwined with self-improvement and societal progress. John Wesley's Kingswood School legacy persevered, influencing minds and hearts beyond classrooms. The university's proactive efforts to foster inclusivity and unity further demonstrated the enduring relevance of its mission in a world that constantly evolves.

Services and Programs

Monumental Chapel and Beazley Recital Hall

Nestled at the heart of Virginia Wesleyan University's bustling campus is a place of profound significance – the Monumental Chapel and Beazley Recital Hall, a singular building that resonates with spirituality and community connection. Each week, its hallowed halls come alive with the echoes of worship, drawing students, faculty, and staff into moments of shared reverence.

Haygood United Methodist Church (HUMC)

For those seeking a different kind of spiritual haven, Haygood United Methodist Church (HUMC) stands as a beacon of solace on Wesleyan/Haygood Drive. More than just a place of worship, HUMC has woven a deep connection with VWU. The Pastor and Director of Campus Ministries at HUMC wear a dual hat, extending their ministry to encompass the campus community. This unique collaboration between the church and the university fosters spiritual growth and bolsters the sense of unity among its members.

The affiliation with HUMC goes beyond spiritual benefits. Members of the church also enjoy scholarship advantages stemming from this partnership, a tangible reflection of the mutual support between faith and education.

Robert Nusbaum Center

Named in honor of a dedicated patron, the Robert Nusbaum Center champions the education necessary to champion religious freedom in our diverse world.

Central to the Center's ethos is the power of common goals that transcend religious boundaries. A meeting point for individuals of all faiths, it facilitates dialogues grounded in shared concerns, striving to find harmonious solutions to the complex problems of our time.

Crucially, the Robert F. Boyd Endowment, an integral facet of the Center, funds continuing education. Seminars featuring renowned guest speakers provide a platform for clergy, aspiring clergy, and laypeople to engage deeply with matters of faith and society. These seminars extend Continuing Education Units to clergy members of the Virginia Annual Conference, enriching their understanding and growth.
The Institute within the Robert Nusbaum Center extends its influence beyond academia. It orchestrates events like "Awakening," a vibrant youth gathering of the Virginia Conference, and the Tri-District Leadership Workshop, empowering local church leaders through intensive training. The annual pastor's licensing school stands as a testament to the Institute's commitment to nurturing the spiritual leaders of tomorrow.


The Presiding Bishop of the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church holds an ex-officio position on the Board of Trustees.

In 2015, Dr. Scott D. Miller assumed the role of Virginia Wesleyan's fourth president. Rooted in a lifelong Methodist journey, Dr. Miller obtained his undergraduate degree from West Virginia Wesleyan. He also led as President of Wesley College in Delaware, an institution with Methodist affiliation, from 1997 to 2007. His leadership extends to broader Methodist education circles – he has served as the past President and Chair of the Board of Directors for the North American Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (NAAMSCU), is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Association of Methodist Schools, Colleges, and Universities (IAMSCU), and holds the position of Chair for the Association of Educational Institutions (AEI) of the UMC.

The Pastor and Director of Campus Ministries at Haygood United Methodist Church embrace a dual role that encompasses both the Church and Campus Ministry. In this capacity, they dedicate themselves to serving students and the wider campus community.

Learning Opportunities

Campus Ministries

The Office of Campus Ministries presents an array of diverse programs and services, catering to a wide range of spiritual and personal development needs. In addition to its direct collaborative affiliation with Haygood United Methodist Church, the campus ministry also maintains a meaningful relationship with the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, located across from the campus at the corner of Wesleyan Drive and Baker Road. This multi-faceted connection enriches the spiritual tapestry of the university community.

Civic Engagement and Service Learning

Recognized as a National Liberal Arts College with an elective Community Engagement classification, Virginia Wesleyan University prioritizes civic engagement as a core component of its educational philosophy. The Birdsong Civic Engagement Endowment provides crucial support for initiatives that connect students with volunteer opportunities aimed at addressing pressing community needs. Through these experiences, students not only contribute positively to their communities but also cultivate enriching and transformative personal growth.


Virginia Wesleyan University boasts significant affiliations that hold immense value for students embarking on a journey in ministry. Notably, the university maintains strong connections with prestigious institutions such as Duke University (Duke Divinity School), Emory University (Candler School of Theology), and United Theological Seminary. Through these affiliations, Virginia Wesleyan students gain access to unique pathways into theological education and ministerial preparation.

For aspiring students, the opportunity of early assurance agreements is at hand. These agreements provide a structured path for VWU students to secure their future in ministry education, solidifying their commitment to a life of spiritual leadership.

The impact of these affiliations is tangible within the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Presently, over 70 VWU graduates actively serve as pastors within this conference, embodying the strong foundation and education they received. Additionally, another 40+ alumni clergy contribute their talents and passion to various annual conferences and denominations, reflecting the breadth of influence that VWU's theological education has on a broader scale.

Financial Aid

At Virginia Wesleyan University, a wealth of financial aid opportunities awaits, ensuring that diverse students have access to the education they deserve.

  • Virginia United Methodist students entering full-time Christian service in the Virginia Conference receive up to one-half tuition assistance.
  • Dependent sons, daughters and spouses of Virginia conference clergy receive up to one-half tuition.
  • Virginia Wesleyan University Dollars for United Methodist Scholars provides a $1,000 VWU matching scholarship when a Virginia Conference student's home church contributes $1,000 in tuition assistance to the student.
  • Members of Haygood United Methodist Church also benefit from a range of scholarships, reinforcing the strong connection between faith and education within the community.

Virginia Wesleyan University goes beyond its campus to access endowed scholarships available through esteemed institutions like the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation, the Virginia United Methodist Foundation, and the University itself. These scholarships collectively reflect the dedication to fostering academic excellence and spiritual growth.

For those eager to explore these financial aid opportunities, the VWU Office of Financial Aid stands ready to provide further information. This commitment to accessible education ensures that students can embark on their academic journey with confidence and focus, supported by a community invested in their success.