Emory & Henry has ascended to a level of   positive impact that   is transforming not   only students but   Southwest Virginia.

Collectively We Give

The Collective Connections Campaign for Regional Impact and National Reach seeks to enhance student success and support regional growth and prosperity.

Posted December 12, 2022

At the intersection of the distinguished past and prosperous future of Emory & Henry College, lies an opportunity like no other—an opportunity to shape the landscape with the eye of an artist, the mind of a scholar, and a heart that belongs to Southwest Virginia.

Emory & Henry College Collective Connections. Regional Impact. National Reach. Emory & Henry has been a beacon of hope for Southwest Virginia for nearly 200 years as an engine of economic, educational and community prosperity. Contributing mightily to the economy in the region with an estimated economic impact of $96 million annually, the College is committed to deepening and broadening student success and regional growth and prosperity.

With a second consecutive year of record enrollment, recent recognition by U.S. News & World Report as a Top 20 regional university (South), the move to Division II athletics and the South Atlantic Conference, and several on-campus enhancements including the new Paul Adrian Powell, III Student Success Center, the School of Business for which a $5 million renovation is underway at Carriger Hall, the development of a 96-bed apartment housing unit on campus, and the addition of a new bachelor of science in nursing—Emory & Henry is making the most of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to further enhance its positive impact on the region at a time when other institutions of higher education are facing disruption.

“Emory & Henry is experiencing success well beyond what could have been imagined just a few years ago. The College enjoys record enrollments, higher levels of student engagement, growing validation of our mission, and accelerated progress toward our vision,” explained President John W. Wells. “Through bold programming in the health sciences, business, education, athletics, and the applied liberal arts, Emory & Henry has ascended to a level of positive impact that is transforming not only students but Southwest Virginia.”

The College has embraced the lessons learned from a long history of creative reinvention when updates were undertaken to make the College more relevant. Emory & Henry’s current growth is another exciting period of creative reinvention, deeply rooted in the institution’s steadfast focus on student success.

“How a college or university thrives, progresses and sustains its mission depends in every respect on the support of its alumni and friends, people who love the institution regardless of their affiliation with it,” said Dr. Charles Sydnor ’65, 18th President of Emory & Henry College.

“Our alumni and friends recognize there is something so valuable about the Emory & Henry experience that it has to be supported and preserved by providing philanthropic support.

“Emory & Henry has ascended to a level of positive impact that is transforming not only students but Southwest Virginia.”

—President John W. Wells

As I’ve heard President Wells say, ‘No institution in this day and age is going to serve the needs of its students and the expectations of the community by cutting expenses and downsizing. You’ve got to grow; you’ve got to expand.’ Today, Emory & Henry is embarking on the next chapter of our story as a triumph of continuity and a testament to embracing opportunity.”

The current administration, under the visionary direction of President Wells, is building on the leadership of past College presidents while implementing the multiple parallel elements of a new strategic plan, underpinning the growth the College is experiencing. “We have a unique opportunity to deepen and broaden our regional impact and national reach by building upon the strong foundation established by the thoughtful presidents of this great institution,” said President Wells.

The new projects and enhancements at Emory & Henry are the result of years of planning and foresight, guided by the College’s established strengths, by opportunities for flexible instruction models enabled by 21st-century technology, and by areas of emerging opportunity and need in the world which graduates are entering.

Equestrian center rendering Equestrian center rendering

An Unprecedented Opportunity with Unprecedented Leadership Support

This unique time in Emory & Henry’s history includes the unparalleled support and engagement of all four of the College’s living former presidents: Charles W. Sydnor, Ph.D. ’65, 18th President; Thomas R. Morris, Ph.D., 19th President; Rosalind Reichard, Ph.D., 20th President; and Jake B. Schrum, M.Div., 21st President.

The extraordinary extent of their continued support for Emory & Henry was showcased at the kickoff event for the Emory & Henry Collective Connections Campaign for Regional Impact and National Reach, which aims to elevate the E&H experience for all students, enrich the on-campus environment in support of student success, encourage community engagement, enhance visibility of Emory & Henry as a recognized destination along I-81, and embrace the full potential of the College’s high-caliber, high-performing, nationally-recognized athletics program and Intermont Equestrian Program.

“The continuity of the collective connections among our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community provides profound opportunities for Emory & Henry, our region and the nation.”

The event took place on campus during Homecoming weekend with more than 250 alumni, friends and donors in attendance. The highlight of the evening was the premiere of the Collective Connections Campaign video featuring President Wells and former presidents Sydnor, Morris, Reichard and Schrum.

“Connections are the cornerstone of the Emory & Henry experience,” said Sydnor. “The continuity of the collective connections among our students, faculty, staff, alumni and community provides profound opportunities for Emory & Henry, our region and the nation.”

Key components of the Collective Connections Campaign are increasing the visibility of Emory & Henry along I-81 and bringing new and upgraded programs to the students. The College owns the four corners of interstate exit 26. College officials have engaged nationally-recognized experts to explore opportunities that capitalize on the 1.4 million cars that drive past this interstate exchange each month.

One corner of this interstate exit will be developed into a first-class equestrian center that will be home to a widely-renowned program that boasts 22 national championships, replacing the current facility at exit 10 in Bristol, Va., that Emory & Henry inherited from Virginia Intermont College in 2014. The program has contributed significantly to the College’s recent enrollment success. Currently, more than 100 students are enrolled in the program, and demand continues to grow with new students added each semester.

At the opposing interstate corner, Emory & Henry will develop a multi-sport athletic complex that will provide critical space for the College’s fastest-growing sports—track and field and cross-country as well as other athletic programs, including men’s and women’s soccer, rugby and lacrosse.

Apartment-style housing to be finished in the fall of 2023 Apartment-style housing to be finished in the fall of 2023

Collective Connections Campaign Areas of Support

Enriching student success is the primary pillar of support for the Collective Connections Campaign, followed by enhancing the Intermont Equestrian Program and developing a multi-sport complex.

Opportunities to enrich student success at Emory & Henry include creating additional scholarships for both merit and demonstrated financial need to further enhance academic success among students and student-athletes; enhancing programming, scholarships and community service on campus and beyond to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; expanding services offered by the Office of Student Success available to all Emory & Henry students; providing new and enhanced on-campus housing for students to support growth and retention; and developing additional workforce development initiatives benefiting Southwest Virginia and Middle Appalachia, among others.

“Our collective connections are exemplified by our deeply rooted sense of place and purpose,” said Morris. “We labor in the vineyard of education because of our students. Emory & Henry has an amazing impact on people and the region. As our reputation grows, so does our influence.”

Specific areas of support for the Intermont Equestrian Program include state-of-the-art stabling with 12x12 matted stalls to accommodate up to 100 horses, wash bays, grooming areas, and veterinarian and farrier work spaces; indoor arena with spectator seating and ADA access for regional/national competitions; outdoor all-weather arena; expansive fenced paddocks; collaborative student learning spaces; tack room and student lockers; and offices for faculty and coaches.

E&H Grad “Our collective connections are rooted in shared encounters and traditions. There was magic from the very first moment I met Emory & Henry students. They demonstrated an intense love of this extraordinary place that was selfless. I knew then that this is the place I wanted to be,” said Reichard. “From 2006-2013, we laid the foundation for this remarkable wave of growth at Emory & Henry. We expanded both our reach and our reputation – setting the stage for the next exciting chapter.”

Areas of support for the multi-sport complex include an NCAA regulation track with nine running lanes; a field area inside the track for shot put, javelin and discus competitions; a grandstand area for spectators and guests; competition-style soccer fields; a parking area with a greenway and sidewalks to the Emory Campus; lacrosse fields; and locker room space for both home and visitor teams.

“Our collective connections are amplified by our commitment to academic excellence and meaningful experiences,” said Schrum. “I have long said that the Emory & Henry experience is so meaningful for students because we are peddlers of hope and we have a pervasive spirit of generosity. We have all laid the foundation for this Collective Connections Campaign by growing our regional footprint and embracing the power of philanthropy. Today, we are poised to make new connections, collectively, as a community.”

It is well documented that Emory & Henry alumni are among the most philanthropic in the entire nation. This notable distinction is a reflection of the deep appreciation for their experiences at Emory & Henry.

“One of the best phrases I’ve heard about Emory & Henry came from a student who wrote to me: ‘At Emory Henry we are encouraged to find our place in the world and to use our gifts to make the world a better place.’ I don’t think you can capture the Emory & Henry experience any better than that,” said Reichard.

New multi-sport complex proposed design New multi-sport complex proposed design

Support from Emory & Henry Alumni, Friends and Donors

Support from alumni, friends and donors is integral to the continued growth and forward momentum of the College.

“Emory & Henry is fortunate to have a close-knit group of donors and alumni who have been and will continue to be very supportive to help make possible the financial resources that are necessary for the College to be competitive in this higher education environment,” said Morris. “Personally, I’m very pleased to be able to support a scholarship in the name of my mother that goes to a student from a particular region in Southwest Virginia where my mother raised our family or to a student coming from her native state of North Carolina. Support from alumni, friends and donors contributes in meaningful ways to the growth and forward momentum of this remarkable institution.”

“Our collective connections are amplified by our commitment to academic excellence and meaningful experiences.”

Under the stewardship of Collective Connections Campaign Director and Associate Vice President for Advancement Shannon Earle, Vice President for Advancement Greg McMillan ’90, and Co-Chairs Kyra Bishop ’77 and Tom Bishop ’75, the Campaign has made steady progress toward the $25 million fundraising goal. During the kickoff event, President Wells announced that more than $5 million has already been committed to the Campaign.

E&H Homecoming “Emory & Henry must be part of the solution for growth and prosperity in Southwest Virginia. The success of the Collective Connections Campaign is imperative for Emory & Henry to be relevant in the rapidly changing world of higher education. The world needs more Emory & Henry – not less,” said President Wells. “It is time for Emory & Henry to be seen. We no longer need to stay tucked away off the interstate. Your commitment and gifts toward this effort will ensure that our College will be seen by the millions of travelers on I-81. We have so much to be proud of as we recognize the importance that this mighty institution brings to our region and our nation and as we seek to reach our transformative goals of moving our footprint to exit 26. The time has come to shine our beacon of hope brighter and wider than ever before in service to our students, our community, our region, the nation and beyond.”

To support the Collective Connections Campaign, please visit

Aerial photograph of Emory & Henry College campus

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