The College is named after two influential men: Bishop John Emory, an eminent church leader, and Patrick Henry, a renowned patriot of the American Revolution and Virginia's first governor. Bishop Emory symbolizes belief in the union of faith and learning, while Governor Henry represents the commitment to the ideals of freedom and civic virtue.
The naming of the College occurred at the Holston Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in October 1836 in western North Carolina. According to an eyewitness account recorded years later, the Rev. Samuel Patton, rose from his seat and spoke ardently in favor of naming the new college Emory & Henry.
John Emory (1789 - 1835)
A seminal influence on Methodism and education, John Emory started out as a circuit-riding preacher in Maryland before serving as minister in some of the most prestigious Methodist Churches in the eastern U.S. During the later years of his life, he served as an ambassador between American and British Methodism and in 1832 was elected to the episcopacy. Emory held a firm belief that education heightened the soul's well-being and was a strong advocate for the education of women. Emory presided over the Holston Annual Conference when it met in Nov., 1832 in nearby Wytheville, Va.
Patrick Henry (1736 - 1799)
Probably the most quoted man of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry was a vehement supporter of individual rights and the colonists' need for self-government. A lawyer by trade, Henry was adored by the common man and his oratory abilities made him famous throughout the colonies. His famous "give me liberty or give me death" speech is credited by some as single-handedly delivering Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. Henry was elected as the first post-colonial Governor of Virginia. Henry's sister, Elizabeth Henry Campbell Russell, lived in Saltville, Va. Madame Russell Methodist Church in Saltville is named for her.