In 2011, Emory & Henry College will begin to celebrate the 175th anniversary of its founding with a year of events aimed at drawing attention to the institution's history and timeless quality.
The celebration will begin August 2011 at the opening convocation of the 2011-12 academic year. A variety of anniversary events will continue until May 2012, all of them celebrating the historic founding of Southwest Virginia's oldest institution of higher education.
"This will be a year of celebration not only for the Emory & Henry family but for Southwest Virginia, a region that is dear to the hearts of Emory & Henry people and important to the mission and longevity of this incredible institution," said Dr. Rosalind Reichard, the 20th president of the College.
To date, events for the year-long celebration include, among other activities, faculty lectures, alumni lectures, and an enhanced Homecoming Day celebration.
The theme for the anniversary celebration is "Legacy & Vision: Timeless Quality Since 1836." The slogan is derived from President Reichard's inauguration theme in 2007 and a quote attributed to an E&H alumnus, Kermit Hunter, Class of 1931. Speaking at an E&H Commencement in 1958, he said: "Emory and Henry has a timeless quality that keeps reaching on and on down the years, not only blessing and hallowing this mountain country of Southwest Virginia, but also sending out tides of influence that touch the whole hungry soul of man. This is more than a college – it is a way of thinking, a way of living."
Emory & Henry was founded in 1836. On Jan. 1 of that year, Creed Fulton and two other members of a committee established by the Holston Conference of the Methodist Church met at was then known as the Crawford Farm and determine that would be the location for establishing a manual labor school.
On Sept. 30 of that year, a ceremony was held, during which a cornerstone was laid for the first building of the college, which was the predecessor to the current Wiley Hall, Emory & Henry’s chief administration building.
On Oct. 17, 1836, the Holston Annual Conference voted to call the new school "Emory and Henry" College, in honor of the state's first governor, Patrick Henry, and a well-known clergyman, Bishop John Emory. Together, the two men symbolize faith and civic virtue, the primary pillars of the college's ongoing mission.