Emory & Henry annually observes Founders Day to celebrate the founding of the College and those individuals and groups whose efforts were instrumental in establishing Southwest Virginia’s first institution of higher education.
Initial planning for the founding of Emory & Henry began in October 1835, when members of the Holston Conference of the Methodist Church voted to establish a college in the region. By January 1, 1836, the site had been selected, and the cornerstone for the first building was laid September 30, 1836, at a founding celebration. Classes began in the spring of 1838.
Four area individuals are credited with raising funds and choosing the site for the College: Tobias Smyth, a local farmer and enthusiastic Methodist lay person; the Reverend Creed Fulton, a circuit-riding Methodist minister from Grayson County, Virginia; Colonel William Byars, a distinguished Presbyterian lay person from Glade Spring, Virginia; and Alexander Findlay, a successful business entrepreneur from Abingdon, Virginia.
Each year the College recognizes individuals with a service citation as a part of Founders Day observance.
Distinctive Alumni Awards
The College also recognizes several alumni awards as a part of Founders Day observance as well.