Shenandoah University

Shenandoah University is a private university in Winchester, Virginia. It has an enrollment of approximately 4,000 students across more than 200 areas of study in seven schools: College of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, Shenandoah Conservatory, Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy, Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing, School of Health Professions (Athletic Training, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant Studies and Physical Therapy) and the School of Education & Leadership. Shenandoah University is one of five United Methodist Church-affiliated institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[2]

Shenandoah University
Shenandoah university vertical logo.jpg
Former names
  • Shenandoah Seminary (1875–1925)
  • Shenandoah College (1925–1991)
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (separate institution 1937–1974)
MottoCuriosity Required
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
EndowmentUS $66.2 million (As of 2018) [1]
PresidentTracy Fitzsimmons
Location, ,
United States

39°09′58″N 78°09′29″W / 39.166°N 78.158°W / 39.166; -78.158Coordinates: 39°09′58″N 78°09′29″W / 39.166°N 78.158°W / 39.166; -78.158
CampusSmall city
ColorsRed and blue          
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division III
Shenandoah University is located in Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah University
Location in Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah University is located in Virginia
Shenandoah University
Location in Virginia
Shenandoah University is located in the United States
Shenandoah University
Location in United States


The university was founded as Shenandoah Seminary in 1875 in Dayton, Virginia, by Rev. Abram Paul Funkhouser and Rev. John (Jay) Paul Fries. Shenandoah Seminary became a junior college in 1924, changing its name to Shenandoah College the following year. Shenandoah Conservatory became a separate corporation in 1937 and began granting four-year degrees. In 1960, Shenandoah College and the Shenandoah Conservatory moved to the 126-acre Winchester campus and began offering four-year degrees in 1974 (at which time the college and conservatory corporations were merged). Shenandoah obtained university status on Jan. 1, 1991, and today (as of fall 2019) the student body represents 44 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. 272 full-time and 196 part-time distinguished faculty come from outside the U.S. The student body represents 59 foreign countries. Seventy-seven percent of full-time faculty have an earned doctorate (Ph.D. or similar) in their fields or other terminal degree.


A view toward the Brandt Student Center during spring.

The university operates in six locations:

  • Main Campus (which includes East Campus Commons in Winchester)
  • Downtown Winchester
  • Health Professions Building on the campus of Winchester Medical Center
  • Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield
  • Scholar Plaza, Loudoun
  • Inova Center for Personalized Health, Fairfax

The main campus is located in Winchester near Interstate 81, and the Health Professions Building is located near the Winchester Medical Center. The Scholar Plaza, Loudoun, site in Ashburn, Virginia, is home to graduate programs in business, education, leadership studies, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and physician assistant studies, as well as the accelerated-second-degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Shenandoah's educational site at the Inova Center for Personalized Health in Fairfax, Virginia, is the location for doctoral-level programs in pharmacy. ICPH, Fairfax, is also where the university offers graduate programs and postgraduate certificates in nursing and supports an online master's in public health. There are also a number of satellite offices and facilities located throughout Winchester.

In 2013, Shenandoah University accepted stewardship of 195 acres of land along the Shenandoah River, now known as the Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring Battlefield. Purchased by the Civil War Trust in 2012, stewardship of the property transferred to the university in spring 2013 to protect and preserve the former battlefield site. The property now serves as an outdoor classroom and living laboratory for the university community and the general public.


The Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre (main campus), 1998.

Shenandoah offers more than 200 areas of study at the bachelor's-, master's-, and doctoral-degree levels, as well as through undergraduate and graduate certificates, across seven schools. Its programming includes Virginia's first bachelor's degrees in virtual reality design and esports management, as well as the state's oldest music therapy program (offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels).

  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • School of Business
  • Shenandoah Conservatory
  • Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy
  • Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing
  • School of Health Professions
  • School of Education & Leadership

Shenandoah University no longer offers a tenure track for new faculty members. Instead, new faculty members undergo a 5-year probationary period, after which they are eligible for 3-year, renewable "career faculty contracts."[3]


Shenandoah University's Department of Athletics sponsors 21 intercollegiate sports, 10 for men and 11 for women. Its 22nd sport, men's wrestling, debuts in 2020. Shenandoah's men's and women's teams are known as the Hornets. All teams compete as members of the Division III of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the department holds membership in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). Shenandoah University formerly competed in the USA South Athletic Conference (USA South).

A newly constructed part of Shenandoah University's campus called Sarah's Glen where students can relax and study.

Partnership relationsEdit

Shenandoah University has agreements with many international colleges and universities, and also participates in the British Council's Business Education Initiative and Irish-American Scholars program in conjunction with universities and colleges in Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

Recent graduates celebrating.

Notable alumniEdit

  • Kate Flannery, actress, played Meredith Palmer (2005–2013) in the television comedy The Office[4]
  • Harold Perrineau, actor, played Link in The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions
  • Carter Beauford, American drummer, percussionist, and founding member of Dave Matthews Band
  • Tiffany Lawrence, a former Democratic member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, representing the 65th district. Lawrence is a former Miss West Virginia.
  • Wendy Gooditis, an American real estate agent, educator, and Democratic politician. Gooditis was elected in November 2017 to be the delegate from Virginia's 10th House of Delegates district to the Virginia House of Delegates.
  • Carl Tanner, an American operatic tenor
  • Richard Zarou, a contemporary composer of concert and film music and the host of the new music podcast No Extra Notes


According to the university's official history page, the name Shenandoah is derived from the Native American legend of Zynodoa, a brave warrior whose life of strength and courage and his appreciation of beauty resulted in having a river and a valley named for him. Popular myth further ascribes translation of the word "Shenandoah" to mean "daughter of the stars."[5]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "About Us – Shenandoah University". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  3. ^ Shenandoah University Faculty Handbook – Section 4.7 Types of Contract
  4. ^ "One on One with Kate Flannery".
  5. ^ Julia Davis, "The Shenandoah", Rivers of America, New York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc. , 1945, pp. 20–21

External linksEdit