Alderson Broaddus University

Alderson Broaddus University (AB) was a private Baptist university in Philippi, West Virginia. It was founded in 1871 and suspended its operations on August 31, 2023.[3]

Alderson Broaddus University
Former names
Winchester Female Institute (1871-1876)
Broaddus Female College (1876-1885)
Broaddus College (1885-1894)
Broaddus Classic and Scientific Institute (1894–1918)
Broaddus College (1918–1932)
Alderson Academy (1901–1909)
Alderson Baptist Academy (1909-1918)
Alderson Academy and Junior College (1918-1925)
Alderson Junior College (1925-1932)[1]
Alderson-Broaddus College (1932–2013)
Motto"From the darkness into the light"
TypePrivate university
Religious affiliation
American Baptist Churches USA
PresidentAndrea J. Bucklew
ProvostJames M. Owston
Academic staff
47 Full-Time and 19 Part-Time[2]
Students767 (674 undergraduate)[2]
Location, ,

39°09′30″N 80°02′57″W / 39.15833°N 80.04917°W / 39.15833; -80.04917
Colors   Navy and gold
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division II

It was historically affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA. It was formed in 1932 as Alderson-Broaddus College by the union of two Baptist institutions: Alderson Junior College (founded 1901) and Broaddus College (founded 1871). The school adopted its final name in 2013.

Prior to the university's closing, its academics were organized into five academic divisions: the College of Health, Science, Technology, and Math; the College of Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences; the College of Business; the College of Medical Science; and the College of Adult and Distance Education.

Alderson Broaddus was the first college in West Virginia to offer a four-year degree in nursing and the first in the country to offer a four-year physician assistant degree.


The college's campus in the early 1930s.

Alderson Broaddus University derived its name from the merging of two Baptist institutions in 1932. The older of the two, Broaddus Institute, was founded in Winchester, Virginia, in 1871 by Edward Jefferson Willis, a Baptist minister who named the new school after Rev. William Francis Ferguson Broaddus, a prominent Baptist minister at the time of the American Civil War. In response to economic hard times, Broaddus Institute was moved across the Allegheny Mountains to Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1876. The college was moved again to the small town of Philippi in 1909. In 1918, it transitioned back to its former name Broaddus College.

The other institution, Alderson Academy, was founded in Alderson, West Virginia, in 1901 by Emma C. Alderson, a committed Baptist laywoman. Designed as a home school, it provided academic work in classics, sciences and normal studies. Originally supported by the Greenbrier Baptist Church, control was assumed by the West Virginia Baptist Association in 1910.

As the years passed, Broaddus became a junior college, then a senior college—first granting baccalaureate degrees in 1926—and Alderson Academy also added junior college status. Financial hardship in the late 1920s led to a decision to merge the two colleges, which shared common missions and outlooks as Baptist and liberal arts institutions; the merged institution, Alderson-Broaddus College, opened its doors in 1932. Since its founding, Alderson-Broaddus had been committed to a strong liberal arts education that seeks to imbue students with an appreciation of literature and the arts, Christian faith, music, and the sciences. In more recent times, the college was focused on developing programs in the natural and applied sciences as well. In 1945, Alderson-Broaddus developed the first four-year nursing and the first radiologic technology programs in West Virginia.

A portion of the physical assets of Storer College, a Black Baptist college founded in 1865 in Harpers Ferry, were transferred to Alderson-Broaddus in 1964 and used to fund the “Storer Scholarship” given annually to an African-American students..

In 1968, the college pioneered the nation's first four-year physician assistant (PA) program, an innovation that had significant influence on the development of the PA profession nationwide. From this program emerged in 1991 the college's first graduate degree offering, the Physician Assistant Master's program.

In 2011, the college chose Richard Creehan as president. Creehan embarked on a plan to expand the college and the institution increased enrollment by over 600 students, expanded the athletic department, and added many new academic programs. In 2013, the college's Board of Governors renamed the institution Alderson Broaddus University.[4] That same year, the institution matriculated the largest incoming freshman class in school history.

In June 2017, the Higher Learning Commission put the University on probation because it determined that the institution was at risk due to financial difficulties. In 2019, it was no longer on probation, due to improved financial performance.[5]

On July 31, 2023, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission revoked Alderson Broaddus University's ability to confer degrees after the end of 2023 and ordered to it cease admitting students so it can begin to close. The commission stated that the "University's financial condition renders the institution unable to create a stable, effective, and safe learning environment for its students". The state's governor, Jim Justice, worked to help the university stay open and resolve its financial challenges, but they were so significant that the university had failed to pay its recent utility bills.[6] On the same day, the university's board of trustees voted to close the university.[7] On August 31, 2023, the campus filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.[8]


The Burbick Hall administration building, with the Shearer Quadrangle fountain in the foreground.

The university was located on a 170-acre (0.69 km2) campus with housing for approximately 1100 students. The campus occupied a rolling hilltop overlooking the Tygart Valley River and the community of Philippi, with its county courthouse, church spires and the historic Philippi Covered Bridge, used by both Confederate and Union troops during the first land battle of the Civil War.

The Old Main building was built in 1909 but destroyed by fire in 1977. It was replaced by New Main, later renamed Burbick Hall, which was primarily used for administration.

The oldest extant building on the campus, Whitescarver Hall (circa 1911), was named for George M. Whitescarver of Pruntytown, WV. The Classical Revival building was designed by the architectural firm of Holmboe & Lafferty and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.[9]

The local general hospital, Broaddus Hospital, was established on the Alderson-Broaddus campus in the 1950s, and operated from there until moving to a new location in the late 1990s.

At the time of closure, the campus included seven residence halls (Priestley Hall, Benedum Hall, Kincaid Hall, Battler Hall, and Blue, Gold and University Halls), Burbick Hall, the old Broaddus Hospital building, the Hamer student center and cafeteria, an arena for basketball, swimming, wrestling, and acrobatics and tumbling programs, tennis courts, a grass field used for intramural sports, a turf field stadium for football, lacrosse, and soccer teams, six academic buildings (including the Withers-Brandon complex for humanities and social sciences, the Kemper-Redd science building and Myers Hall for the health sciences), a building housing Pickett Library and Funkhouser Auditorium, and Wilcox Chapel.



For much of its existence, Alderson Broaddus's primary sport was men's soccer (led by Bob Gray from 1978-91). The athletic programme expanded dramatically under President Creehan from 2011, notably with the addition of American football.

Known as the "Battlers" (harkening back to the 1861 Battle of Philippi), Alderson Broaddus was a member of the Mountain East Conference (MEC) and NCAA Division II. The team's colors were Navy Blue, Gray and Gold, and its mascot was named Skirmish. At the time of its closure the university offered 20 sports, all at the Varsity level: Football (which became a full varsity program in 2013),[10] Acrobatics & Tumbling, Baseball, Football, Softball, Men's and Women's Basketball, Men's and Women's Soccer, Men's and Women's Lacrosse, Men's and Women's Volleyball, Men's and Women's Cross Country, Men's and Women's Track & Field, Men's and Women's Wrestling, Men's Sprint Football and Cheerleading.

AB and its predecessor institutions had been members of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) since that league's formation in 1924. The WVIAC disbanded at the end of the 2012–13 school year, after the nine WVIAC members that then played football announced they would break away to form a new league that eventually became the Mountain East Conference.

Shortly after the announcement of the Mountain East split, AB found a new conference home, accepting an invitation to join the G-MAC in the fall of 2013.[11] AB and three other West Virginia schools—former WVIAC members Davis & Elkins and Ohio Valley, plus independent Salem International—all entered the G-MAC.[11]

In 2012 AB started its football program, initially competing at the club level before moving up to Division 2 the following year. Alderson Broaddus originally competed as an independent football team without a conference. In 2016 the G-MAC conference decided to partially make football a competitive sport in the conference with the full competition to start in 2017.The Battlers first defeated Kentucky Wesleyan in the Founders Cup in 2015 to become the first ever G-MAC football Champion. The Battlers became the first G-MAC Conference football champions on 11/12/16 when they defeated Kentucky Wesleyan University 31–28. The G-MAC added another new team to the conference in 2017 of Malone University.

Alderson-Broaddus Baseball won the G-MAC conference title for the first time on May 14, 2016, over Trevecca Nazarene 9–6.

On June 9, 2020, Alderson Broaddus announced that they will leave the Great Midwest Athletic Conference and will join the Mountain East Conference.

With the revocation of the school's degree-granting status in July 2023, the university immediately ended all athletic activities.[12]

Notable alumni



  1. ^ Owston, James M. (2007). "Appendicies". Survival of the Fittest? The Rebranding of West Virginia Higher Education (PDF) (Ed.D. thesis). Marshall University. Retrieved October 17, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "College Navigator - Alderson Broaddus University".
  3. ^ "Alderson Broaddus files for bankruptcy in preparation for closure".
  4. ^ Shauna Johnson, Name change for Alderson-Broaddus College,, USA, April 21, 2013
  5. ^ Jake Jarvis, WV's Alderson Broaddus removed from probation by accreditor, but still on 'notice',, USA, July 15, 2019
  6. ^ Brad McElhinny, State officials revoke authorization from Alderson Broaddus, order the start of a wind-down,, USA, July 31, 2023
  7. ^ McCluskey, Mitchell (August 2, 2023). "Financially struggling university in West Virginia closes down, leaving students scrambling". CNN. Retrieved August 3, 2023.
  8. ^ "Alderson Broaddus University files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy". WBOY. August 31, 2023. Retrieved August 31, 2023.
  9. ^ "National Register Information System – (#89002317)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  10. ^ Stevens, Rich (June 25, 2012). "More than meets eye in breakup of WVIAC". Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston, WV. p. 1. Archived from the original on January 2, 2013. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "G-MAC News: Conference Adds Three New Members" (Press release). Great Midwest Athletic Conference. August 21, 2012. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  12. ^ "D-II program forced to shut down athletics" Football Scoop. Retrieved 2023-07-31.