This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Since 1997, 37 projects have added or renovated roughly 585,000 square feet of space at a cost of nearly $217 million in public and private money.


support the creation of a university branch in their county. The closest state-supported college at the time was in Radford, a three-hour drive to the east.


The men — two lawyers and an


engineering firm owner — secured Darden’s support and headed for Rich- mond to plead with lawmakers for the money needed to start the school. A college was about to be born. That fall, with $5,000 in initial


state funding and $6,000 in local dona- tions, the college opened its doors to 109 area students, two-thirds of whom were Korean War veterans. The school initially was called Clinch Valley Col- lege of the University of Virginia. After 1999, in a marketing move, it became the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. The site picked for the school was the county’s old Poor Farm, which offered a large sandstone building suit- able for the first classrooms. Since those humble beginnings,


Southwest Virginia has continued to support the college. The college’s endowment stands today at roughly


$85 million, which equals or exceeds that of many larger Virginia schools. Sixty percent of the endowment’s income goes toward scholarships. That allows students who receive financial aid, 80 percent of the student body, to graduate with some of the lowest student debt in the nation. In 2014, more than half of U.Va.-Wise graduates left with no student debt, and the average debt for the remainder was $12,496. The college has grown at an


accelerating pace. Begun as a two-year institution, it awarded its first bachelor’s degrees in 1970 when enrollment was roughly 400, still almost all from the region. Full-time enrollment exceeded the 1,000 mark in 1991 and stood at 2,065 in the 2015-16 academic year. The eventual enrollment target is 2,600, Henry says. Students, many among the first in their families to attend college, now come from all around the state. All but five Virginia counties are represented, and fully a fourth of the student body calls Northern Virginia or Hampton Roads home.


www.VirginiaBusiness.com


New facilities With the growing enrollment


has come a campus building boom. Since 1997, 37 projects have added or renovated roughly 585,000 square feet of space at a cost of nearly $217 million in public and private money. Notable among those were: an $8.3 million health and wellness center; a 3,000-seat, $30 million convocation center; three new residence halls totaling more than $20 million; more than $23 million in science center construction and renova- tion; a new $9.6 million dining hall; and a new $37.2 million library that opens this fall. The construction work — much


of it done by local contractors — has provided jobs and economic activity. That represents just one of many ways the school contributes to the local economy aside from the payroll and student and school spending. For example, the David J. Prior Convoca- tion Center, which opened in late 2011, has stimulated spending in the area by attracting visitors to various events. In the most recent fiscal year, the center


VIRGINIA BUSINESS 81


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88