Longwood University

Longwood University
Longwood University
Motto Discover the Power in You
Established 1839
Type Public
President Patrick Finnegan
Students 4,800
Undergraduates 4,080
Postgraduates 720
Location Farmville, Virginia, United States
Campus Rural, 154-acre (623,215.9 m2)
Colors Blue and White[1]
Athletics NCAA Division I
Nickname Lancers
Affiliations Independent
Website http://www.longwood.edu

Longwood University is a four-year public, liberal-arts university located in Farmville, Virginia, United States. It was founded in 1839 and became a university on July 1, 2002. It currently has an undergraduate enrollment of about 4,080 and a total enrollment of 4,800.



Longwood offers over 100 majors and minors in three colleges: the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business and Economics, and the College of Education and Human Services.[2]

The university is consistently ranked in the top ten public, masters-level universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report. In 2005 it was recognized by USA Today as among 20 schools in the country that promote and foster student success.[3][4] The Longwood Theatre program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.[5] The Longwood Music Department is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music.

The Longwood faculty includes Dr. James William Jordan, who was recognized as State Teacher of the Year in 1992 by the Virginia General Assembly. An anthropologist, he founded the Longwood Archeology Field School in 1980. He has led archeological studies in central Virginia to study the cultures of its earliest inhabitants, as well as studies of nineteenth century sites, including plantations, cemeteries and historic buildings.[6] In 1995 he was selected as the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Professor of the Year.[7]

The President, Patrick Finnegan, is a former Dean of the United States Military Academy at West Point, and a Retired Brigadier General.

The Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences[8] offers many programs. Two signature programs are the MBAdvantage Program,[9] in which students receive a bachelor's degree in a field in Arts or Science and an MBA in about five years, and the Liberal Studies program. The Liberal Studies major is designed specifically for students' seeking certification to teach with an Elementary or Middle School Endorsement.[10] With careful scheduling and attention to the requirements for admission to the teacher preparation program, a student can complete all degree and program requirements in four years. Liberal studies majors take courses in English, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. They also take 40 credits of Education courses from the Department of Education and Special Education. The Teacher Preparation Program is administered through the Office of Professional Services.[11]

The Office of Professional Services coordinates field and clinical experiences for undergraduate and graduate candidates who are pursuing a teaching license. Field and clinical experiences include Practicum I, Practicum II, Partnership, Professional Semester and Graduate Professional Semester. In order to pursue field and clinical experiences, admission into the Teacher Preparation Program is necessary.


Founded on March 5, 1839, as the Farmville Female Seminary Association, Longwood University is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States and one the oldest public institutions of higher education for women in the United States. The Farmville Female College was incorporated in 1860 as the increasing prosperity of the seminary led the stockholders to expand it into a college. Longwood is the third oldest public institution of higher learning in Virginia, after the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia.

On April 7, 1884, the state of Virginia acquired the property of the Farmville Female College, and in October of the same year the Normal School opened with 110 students enrolled, making it the first state institution of higher learning for women in Virginia. The Normal School expanded its curriculum over the years and progressed through a succession of names. It became the State Normal School for Women in 1914, the State Teachers College at Farmville in 1924, and Longwood College in 1949. In 1954, graduate programs were authorized. Longwood became fully coeducational in June 1976.

A popular myth on the university campus holds that whenever the time the college changed its name, catastrophic events like the Ruffner fire, deemed "The Great Fire of 2001," occurred.

Other examples include:

  • 1884: The college changes its name to the State Female Normal School in Farmville. This was part of the agreement when the Commonwealth of Virginia bought the school from its original owners, because the owners were bankrupt following the Civil War.
  • 1923: Right before the school changed its name to the State Teachers College the next year, a fire destroyed the dining hall, sitting behind Ruffner Hall.
  • 1949: Just after the school changed its name to Longwood College, a fire destroyed White House Hall, a building next to East Ruffner (currently where part of Main Tabb is today), and a mirror image to Grainger Hall, which housed an auditorium. The decision was made by then-President Dabney Lancaster to wait for the new auditorium (now Jarman Hall) to open two years later, then expand Tabb to connect directly to Ruffner.

On April 24, 2001, a main university building, Ruffner Hall, caught on fire and burned down despite the efforts of multiple local fire departments including the Farmville fire department. It was in the middle of a renovation and was subsequently rebuilt. Ruffner Hall, built in 1839 as the "College Building", evolved through several stages of construction and expansion from 1839 to 1907. For decades the sprawling Ruffner, whose image appears on the university's logo and seal, was the main administration building, with administrative offices on the first floor and student housing on the upper two floors. After students vacated the building by the early 1970s, dorm rooms were converted to office and classroom space. The former library, Lancaster Hall, was renovated and reopened in 1996 as the main administration building. Ruffner was then used primarily for classrooms and faculty offices before being closed in 1999 for renovation.

Governor Mark Warner officially signed legislation changing Longwood's designation to university on April 24, 2002, the one-year anniversary of the fire that destroyed Ruffner Hall.

On July 1, 2010, Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan became the 25th president of the university, having previously served as the dean of the Academic Board at the United States Military Academy – and following Patricia Cormier, who had served as president since 1996.[12]


Main campus

Longwood's main campus comprises approximately 154 acres (0.62 km2) near downtown Farmville, Virginia. The architecture of the campus ranges from its more historic “north core” to its more contemporary southern end – organized along a central promenade, Brock Commons.

The older part of campus stretches along High Street from French dormitory to Grainger Hall. These six red-brick Jeffersonian buildings (French, Tabb (being renovated to serve as future athletic offices), South Tabb (offline and scheduled for future demolition) and South Ruffner dormitories, and Grainger, Ruffner, and Blackwell Halls) date from the 1830s to the 1920s, are joined by a covered colonnade, and bear the university’s signature red roofs.

At the center of this complex is Longwood’s main building, Ruffner Hall. The College of Arts and Sciences and recently[when?] the university’s athletic offices, are located along this section of campus. To the western end of the north core is the administration building, Lancaster, as well as Jarman Auditorium and the Chichester Science Center, which was completed in 2007.

Longwood University from the entrance to Wheeler Residence Hall

Adjacent to the campus' central pedestrian walk, Brock Commons, are the College of Business and Economics in Hiner Building, the Cunninghams dormitories, the Dorrill Dining Hall, and Lankford Building, the student union. At the south end of campus are the library, music and arts buildings, and the Hull Education Center.

In September 2009, Longwood completed, a new Communications and Theater building features a 75 seat flexible black box theater, 100 seat studio theater, multi-function classrooms, costume lab, rehearsal studio, traditional drafting lab, and a computer design lab.[13]

The Health and Fitness Center opened on August 28, 2007. The 80,000-square-foot (7,400 m2) facility features an indoor track, basketball and racquetball courts, a climbing wall, work-out rooms, juice bar, and the latest weight, exercise, and training equipment.

Across Main Street, a new retail/student housing complex consisting of four four-story buildings arranged in a pedestrian mall-type setting, called "Longwood Landings", was completed in the fall of 2006. This complex includes the university's bookstore.

Bedford Hall, the Art building on campus, is currently under renovation, with completion of the $30 million project scheduled in 2011.

Lancer Park

A satellite area known as Lancer Park sits north of the main campus just across Route 460 and includes several athletic fields, athletic facilities and residential apartments. New vehicular and pedestrian bridges [14] access Lancer Park.


Athletics logo

The Longwood University Lancers athletics program transitioned into a NCAA Division I independent in 2007. The men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, and tennis. Women's sports offered include basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, and tennis. The program has produced a number of professional athletes, most notably Jerome Kersey (NBA), Michael Tucker (MLB), and Tina Barrett (LPGA), all of whom were part of the school's inaugural Athletics Half of Fame Class in 2006.

In 1980, Longwood's men's basketball team reached the NCAA Division III Final Four. Longwood has been home to two Division II NABC First Team All Americans: Jerome Kersey (1983,1984) and Colin Ducharme (2001). Ducharme was also named the DII National Player of the Year by the NABC in 2001, while leading the Lancers to DII East Regional Finals. Longwood's women's basketball team is also steeped in tradition, competing in the NCAA Division II Tournament 4 times, most recently in 2003.

In 1991, Longwood's baseball team won the Division II South Atlantic Regional Championship and advanced to the DII College World Series in Montgomery, Alabama. The baseball team has had 29 winning seasons in its 33 year history.

Longwood's women's golf team has won 5 Division II National Golf Coaches Association National Championships (1987–88, 1990, 1993, 1995) and has finished second 4 times.

Longwood's softball team has a strong history and has beaten many nationally ranked opponents.

Although playing as a Division I Independent in most sports, Longwood does hold conference affiliation in three sports. Men's soccer is a member of the Atlantic Soccer Conference (ASC) and captured their first conference title in 2008 and repeated in 2011. Women's lacrosse plays in the National Lacrosse Conference and took home conference titles in 2009 and 2010. The Women's Lacrosse team will join the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2013. Also, the field hockey team plays in the NorPac Conference. The women's soccer team also captured a championship in the (now defunct) United Soccer Conference. In 2007 the men's golf team became the first to reach NCAA Division I postseason play.

In 2011 the Longwood Lancers unveiled their new mascot- a horse named ElWood.

Club sports

Longwood also has many club sports, including rugby, baseball, football, lacrosse, roller hockey, golf, and others. The men's rugby team took 3rd place in USA Rugby's Division 3 National Tournament in 2007, and again in 2009. The 2010-2011 season ended with the Lancers ranked #1 in the nation for Division 3 schools having beat Occidental College (CA) in the National Championship by the score of 36-27 on May 1st in Virginia Beach, VA. The Championship is the school's first in history. The club baseball team in their second year of competition made it to the Division II club baseball world series in Johnstown, PA. They went 2-2 and finished 4th.

Student life

Longwood University's Princeton Review "Quality of Life Rating", at 68 on a scale of 60 to 99, is the lowest among Virginia's rated public colleges and universities. As of August 2010, the Princeton Review also reports that Longwood has the second fewest registered campus organizations (129) among Virginia's public colleges supplying this data.[15] Additionally, Longwood has the second lowest freshman retention rate (79%) of all participating public colleges and universities in Virginia.[16]

Longwood has been voted one of the greenest campuses in the Southeast by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.[17]


Longwood has several annual traditions, such as the Oktoberfest and Spring Weekend concerts. Oktoberfest is usually held on the first weekend in October, while Spring Weekend typically occurs on the third weekend in April. Concerts run by the student radio station WMLU are held on the final two days of both Spring Weekend and Oktoberfest. Artists such as The Ramones, Peter Himmelman, Lovell Sisters, Air Miami, Matthew Sweet, Lois Maffeo, Brenda Kahn, Something Corporate, Yellowcard, Carbon Leaf, Cartel, Dierks Bentley, Taylor Swift, Andrew W.K., Regina Spektor, Josh Kelley, Flogging Molly, Story of the Year, The Fray, Matt Nathanson, Baby Bash, 311, Phunk Junkeez, The Bloodhound Gang, 2 Skinnee J's,and Shwayze have performed in the past. Throughout the rest of the year weekend events are sponsored by the student activities board, Lancer Productions. Past acts have included comedians Elvira Kurt, Stephen Lynch, Loni Love, Jimmy Fallon, Carrot Top, and Jon Stewart.

Secret societies

Popular at Longwood is its secret society, CHI, represented by the Greek letter X.[18] Shrouded in mystery, CHI was founded on October 15, 1900. Members are secretly "tapped" and are revealed only at the conclusion of their senior year during the annual CHI Burning, a large bonfire held on campus to commend members of the Longwood community for their selfless acts.[18] CHI at times leave "CHI droppings" on campus, and it is considered very rare for somebody to find one.[citation needed] Pieces of CHI are not meant to leave campus, and are to be passed down before one graduates, per tradition.

Another secret society at Longwood is Princeps, which was founded on 7 principles of leadership.[clarification needed] Members are selected during their undergraduate career and are not revealed until graduation. The group recognizes and honors citizens of the Longwood community who are exceptional leaders. The mysteries of this organization are only revealed with their droppings around campus and their recognition of those who embody the spirit of Princeps. Students often step on the black crowns painted around campus for good luck, and avoid stepping on the blue Rotunda symbols. If one steps on one of the Rotunda symbols, it is said that he or she will produce blue babies.

Joan of Arc

Jeanne d'Arc in Longwood University's Ruffner Hall

Unique among public American universities is Longwood’s adoption of a patron saint. Saint Joan of Arc is said to both protect and inspire Longwood students. The University’s two prized depictions of Joan are Jeanne d’Arc, — known affectionately as “Joanie on the Stony" — an 1870 plaster statue created by French sculptor Henri-Michel-Antoine Chapu, and Anna Hyatt Huntington's 1915 bronze Joan of Arc equestrian statue, nicknamed “Joanie on the Pony.”

Rituals and myths dealing with the two statues abound. Joanie on the Stony, for example, heralds the occasion of every CHI walk with a pair of mysteriously appearing blue and white carnations. Joanie on the Stony is also said to bring good luck for tests to students who touch her clasped hands on their way to class.

Joanie on the Pony, however, with her knight's armor and sword, acts as Longwood’s protector. On the night of the Great Fire of 2001, Joanie turned bright red upon her horse from the intense heat of the flames. Although the fire spread west-ward, engulfing Grainger Hall along with Ruffner, the connected student dorms past Joanie to the east remained untouched — the fire stopped directly before her.[19]

In October 2009, Joanie on the Pony was vandalized. After being restored, she was placed in Ruffner Hall in April 2010.

The Dos Passos Prize

The English department at Longwood University awards the annual John Dos Passos Prize For Literature, founded in 1980. Notable past recipients include Graham Greene, Tom Wolfe, Shelby Foote, Paule Marshall, Ernest J. Gaines, E. Annie Proulx, and Richard Powers.

Notable alumni

Name Class year Notability References
Jerome Kersey 2006 former professional basketball player (drafted in the second round in 1984 by the Portland Trail Blazers. Finished degree in 2006).
Michael Tucker 1993 former professional baseball player
Jason Mraz did not graduate Singer, Songwriter
Pat McGee did not graduate Singer, Songwriter

See also

  • Farmville fire department
  • Undergraduate information and applications "[5]", "Longwood University", 2010. Retrieved on March 10, 2010.
  • Education and Special Education "[6]", "Longwood University", 2010. Retrieved on March 10, 2010.
  • Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences "[7]".
  • Longwood University Barnes & Noble Bookstore "[8]".


  1. ^ University Style Manual - Longwood University
  2. ^ "Majors/Areas of Study - Academic Programs - WhyLongwood.com". Longwood University. 2009. http://www.whylongwood.com/academics/majors/index.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-03. [dead link]
  3. ^ "America's Best Colleges 2008". U.S. News and World Report. 2008. http://www.usnews.com/usnews/edu/college/rankings/brief/t1univmas_s_brief.php. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  4. ^ Sanoff, Alvin P. (August 28, 2005). "Newly listed: 20 colleges that foster student success". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2005-08-28-colleges-success_x.htm. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 
  5. ^ "Longwood's theatre program is re-accredited". News Release. Longwood University. May 13, 2004. http://www.longwood.edu/news/releases/nast.html. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  6. ^ Laura B. Randolph, "THE THOMAS JEFFERSON/SALLY HEMINGS CONTROVERSY: Did Jefferson Also Father Children By Sally Hemings' Sister?", Ebony, February 1999, accessed 16 February 2011
  7. ^ "James William Jordan", Longwood University
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ [3]
  11. ^ [4]
  12. ^ "Meet the New President". Longwood University. 2010. http://www.longwood.edu/president/newpresident.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  13. ^ "New Communication Studies and Theatre Facility". Longwood Theatre. Longwood University. http://www.longwood.edu/theatre/pages/newfacility.html. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  14. ^ "Longwood building two bridges for Lancer Park vehicle and foot traffic". Longwood University Press Release, October 12, 2009. http://www.longwood.edu/2009releases_16934.htm. 
  15. ^ "Longwood University". The Princeton Review. http://www.princetonreview.com/schools/college/CollegeCampusLife.aspx?iid=1022921. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  16. ^ "Longwood University". The Princeton Review. http://www.princetonreview.com/schools/college/CollegeAdmissions.aspx?iid=1022921. Retrieved 2010-08-03. 
  17. ^ "Cool Schools". Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. http://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/current-issue/features/cool-schools/. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  18. ^ a b "Chi Turns 100". Longwood: A magazine for the Alumni and Friends of Longwood College. Longwood University. Winter 2001. http://www.longwood.edu/longwood/Winter01/oncampus2.html. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  19. ^ "Longwood’s "Joanie on the Pony" undergoes conservation effort, regains sword". News Release. Longwood University. May 17, 2006. http://www.longwood.edu/news/releases/2006/joaniepony.html. Retrieved 2008-04-08. 

External links

Coordinates: 37°18′5.6″N 78°23′39.1″W / 37.301556°N 78.394194°W / 37.301556; -78.394194

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