E&H Students posing during Week of Welcome activity on football field

Increasing in Numbers

The population of Southwest Virginia increased by 1,105 residents this fall with the largest number of undergraduate Emory & Henry College students to attend classes on its Emory campus since 2004, representing a 2.1% increase over the previous year.

Posted December 15, 2023

“This is a monumental time for Emory & Henry’s future,” said President John W. Wells. “It proves the value and worth of a degree from Emory & Henry and how our students are transformational beacons to society. More parents and students are putting their trust in our college to deliver the best education possible with an eye on student support and job placement or graduate school admission.”

More than 425 new students arrived on campus in August, illustrating continued growth over the past three years.

“Students see the new enhancements taking place in nursing, business, student success, counseling support, extracurricular activities and career support,” said Jennifer Pearce, vice president for enrollment management and external affairs. “Our move to Division II athletics in the South Atlantic Conference has opened doors to new athletes as well as the appeal of first-class academic students seeking the rigor to be the best and most flexible graduate in the market area. Our graduates are in high demand with their hands-on experiences, liberal arts foundation and career center support for preparation.”

“Our graduates are in high demand with their hands-on experiences, liberal arts foundation and career center support for preparation.”

Students residing on campus have grown by 5%, with 971 students living in the Emory community. This summer, the College opened a new apartment complex to house 96 more students, located off Hillman Highway (more on p. 7). Students who have moved in are enjoying the scenic location, private balconies or patios, comfortable living spaces and all-new amenities.

New students joined the Emory & Henry community from 28 states and 11 countries. Twenty-three percent of the new students arrived from Southwest Virginia or the Tri-Cities region. Forty-eight students have identified as legacy students with a relative who graduated from the College. The class also contains 66 transfer students, more than half of whom come from community colleges such as Virginia Highlands Community College and others who come from four-year public and private universities. The College also saw an increase in campus diversity, with 17% more Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian or Alaskan Native students joining the campus community.

On the Marion campus nearly 250 graduate students enrolled in advanced degree programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant studies, clinical mental health counseling and nursing. The new hybrid MBA program launched this fall with 12 participants.

Haleigh Cooper '24 shares her research on a Mediterranean versus Western diet and the Gut-Brain Axis in Cynomolgus monkeys Haleigh Cooper ’24 shares her research on a Mediterranean versus Western diet and the Gut-Brain Axis in Cynomolgus monkeysEmory & Henry has made many strategic commitments over the past three years, including the addition of a new School of Business in the newly renovated Carriger Hall (more on p. 17); a new School of Nursing to address the great need for nurses in the region and other rural locations; and new advanced degree programs including clinical mental health and addiction counseling. The College is also transitioning the athletic program from Division III to Division II and competing in the South Atlantic Conference while awarding new athletic scholarships; investing with the support of donors in new centers for Student Success and Career and Professional Development services; establishing a new Center for Outdoor Studies and investing in the 1-81 corridor with a new multi-sport complex (more on p. 22) as well as the future development of an equestrian center (more on p. 15), both located at Exit 26. An economic impact study conducted in 2021 indicated that Emory & Henry contributed $96 million in economic support to the surrounding region, and that impact is expected to grow as new developments continue.

Ninety-five percent of students from the graduating class in 2022 obtained jobs or continued their studies in graduate school. “We’re committed to successful outcomes and the overall value of an Emory & Henry education,” said President Wells. “Our faculty is the finest in Virginia, developing students who think critically, problem solve, are adaptable and see the big picture. We’re honored that local employers throughout the region see their value too. Our students bring us great pride, and they are ready to change the world.” Stay up to date at

Related Content

  • Dr. Theresa-Burris

    Strengthening Our Commitment

    Dr. Theresa Burriss, previously at Radford University for more than 25 years, now serves as Emory & Henry College’s assistant vice president of community engagement and economic development.

    Read More