Johnson City Press
EMORY, Va. — Some staff members at Emory & Henry College are on the move to new office spaces, making room for new students to call the college home this fall.
With continued increase in enrollment after a record-breaking year in fall 2022, staff in the offices of Admissions and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging offices are moving into new spaces as their historic homes are being converted back to residential space that once served students for many years on campus.
Campus leaders expect an all-time record number of overall enrolled students and an all-time record number of students living on campus this year. The college has increased its first-year enrollment by 33% since the fall of 2020.
“We are in a very fortunate situation at Emory & Henry, seeing enrollment gains with great interest in our new innovative academic programs by our faculty, our progressive move to D2 and competing in the South Atlantic Conference,” President John W. Wells said in a news release. “Students are coming from 32 states, 11 international countries and we have an 84% uptick of students from Southwest Virginia. We may be bursting at the seams, but the energy and enthusiasm is high to welcome new students to E&H and Southwest Virginia.”
Last year, college officials purchased and rented homes around the area to accommodate the growth and announced this spring the school will break ground on new apartments along College Drive and Hillman Highway to be occupied by the summer of 2023.
More than 450 new students will ascend on the campus starting Aug. 6, with classes for fall semester officially starting Aug. 15, when close to 700 upperclassmen return. It’s anticipated 900 students will be living on the Emory campus, setting a new residence record surpassing 858 last year.
Overall enrollment on the Emory campus is expected to exceed 1,100 with another 280 graduate students in Marion working on advanced degrees in health sciences and health counseling. This is the first fall for new pre-nursing students to ascend on both campuses and start their journey toward earning a bachelor’s of science in nursing.
Eighty-four percent more Southwest Virginia students are attending for the first time compared to last year’s class, as well an increase of 8% of students from the entire Commonwealth.
Transfer students grew 64% over last year with the majority transferring from four- year public and private colleges with the remainder consisting of local, regional and national community colleges. The incoming class grew in diversity by 30% with more Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian or Alaskan Native students enrolling.
“Students are eager to take their lives to the next level in academics, athletics, citizenship and creating new relationships at their college of choice,” said Jennifer Pearce, vice president for enrollment and external affairs. “Emory & Henry has much to offer when it comes to more than 90 hands-on academic programs, outdoor adventure and various groups to find engagement and belonging. We continue to serve the Appalachian Highlands through our civic innovation programs, the arts, as well as internships and employment, while embracing this beautiful region that attracts and amazes students.”
Ninety four percent of students from the graduating class in 2021 have landed jobs or continued their studies in graduate school. Emory & Henry launched its new van Vlissingen Center for Career and Professional Development in 2020 and has increased its internship placement across the world as well as networking with new employers for job placement.
Plans are underway to introduce a new highly engaged Student Success Center this fall, housed in Wiley Hall. The center will support student advising, coaching, belonging, tutoring, mental health counseling, disability services, and more.
Two onsite counseling professionals have been added to the team, including Gus the therapy dog, as well as the implementation of “timelycare” telehealth for students, a 24/7 wellness application for all students to access during times of crisis or for preventive care tips such as exercise, diet and mindfulness.
New pathway programs into Emory & Henry programs in health sciences, nursing, education and business are being implemented including a Fast Track Master in Education, Master of Nursing Science in summer 2023 and a master’s of business administration hybrid/online program rolling out fall 2023 pending approval from its accrediting body for the latter two.
Students with an undergraduate degree from E&H will receive discounted tuition for continuing their education in health sciences through the Health Sciences Gateway Program, including eligible alumni.