Emory & Henry College has endured through intelligent management, generous philanthropists and good fortune. Perhaps more than any other resource, however, the power and endurance of its values has helped Emory & Henry remain a vibrant college for 175 years. When the founders of this College named it for Bishop John Emory and Governor Patrick Henry, they were not only underscoring the College‟s mission, they were blessing the institution with the means to survive and to thrive. They were endowing the College with the values of spirituality and civic virtue that would have relevance to students and supporters throughout generations.
The cornerstone for Emory & Henry was laid in 1836, and the first students were enrolled in 1838. The Commonwealth of Virginia granted a charter to the college on March 25, 1839. Emory & Henry is now the oldest institution of higher learning in Southwest Virginia and one of the few in the South which have operated for more than 170 years under the same name and with continued affiliation with the founding organization.
Following the September 1836 cornerstone ceremony of Wiley Hall, the Holston Annual Conference met in October 1836 in western North Carolina to formally approve the founding of Emory & Henry and to name the College. More information about the College's namesakes John Emory & Patrick Henry can be found here.