Shenandoah University

Coordinates: 39°09′58″N 78°09′29″W / 39.166°N 78.158°W / 39.166; -78.158
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Shenandoah University
Former names
  • Shenandoah Seminary (1875–1925)
  • Shenandoah College (1925–1991)
  • Shenandoah Conservatory (separate institution 1937–1974)
MottoThe Big Little University Rising
Established1875; 148 years ago (1875)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment$68.4 million (2020)[1]
PresidentTracy Fitzsimmons
Location, ,
United States

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

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 six schools and colleges. Shenandoah University is one of five United Methodist Church-affiliated institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[3]


Rev. Abram Paul Funkhouser and Rev. John (Jay) Paul Fries founded the school as Shenandoah Seminary in 1875. At the time, it was located on a 10-acre campus in Dayton, Virginia, and classes were initially held in a two-room lo structure.[4][5] The school had 11 students enrolled in its first year.[5]

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). It sold its Dayton campus for $107,875.[6]

Shenandoah obtained university status on January 1, 1991, and today the student body represents 47 states plus the District of Columbia. The university, as of fall 2023, has 265 full-time and 189 part-time faculty members. The student body represents 42 foreign countries. Over 70 percent of full-time faculty have an earned doctorate (Ph.D. or similar) in their fields or other terminal degree.


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."[7]


Photo of the front patio adjacent to the Brandt Student Center
The front patio of the Brandt Student Center.

The university operates in six locations:

  • 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 location of campus is 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 degree 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 (Winchester location), 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 six 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

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."[8]


Photo of Sarah's Glen which includes the gazebo and grass area.
Sarah's Glen where students can relax and study on campus.

The Shenandoah athletic teams are called the Hornets. The university is a member of the NCAA Division III ranks, primarily competing in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) since the 2012–13 academic year. The Hornets previously competed in the USA South Athletic Conference (USA South) from 1992–93 to 2011–12.

Shenandoah competes in 22 intercollegiate varsity sports: Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor) and wrestling; while women's sports include basketball, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track & field (indoor and outdoor) and volleyball.

The university announced the creation of a Marching Band in June 2021, which debuted during the Fall 2022 semester.[9]

In fall 2023, football safety Haley Van Voorhis became one of the first women to play a position other than kicker in an NCAA football game, at any level.

Notable alumni[edit]


Photos of SU graduates at commencement.
Recent graduates at commencement.
  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "Shenandoah University - Profile, Rankings and Data". US News Best Colleges. 10 March 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  3. ^ "About Us – Shenandoah University". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  4. ^ "Shenandoah College Will Sell Old Campus". Associated Press. The Times Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia). May 15, 1960. p. 2D.
  5. ^ a b "A College Moves 70 Miles". The Daily News Leader (Staunton, Virginia). November 17, 1960. p. 4.
  6. ^ "College Campus, Buildings Sold for $107,875". Associated Press. The Bee (Danville, Virginia). p. 1-D.
  7. ^ Julia Davis, "The Shenandoah", Rivers of America, New York: Farrar & Rinehart, Inc., 1945, pp. 20–21
  8. ^ "Section 4: Contractual Statement". Retrieved 6 August 2023.
  9. ^ "Marching Band". Shenandoah University. Retrieved 2022-08-03.
  10. ^ "One on One with Kate Flannery – HoboTrashcan". Retrieved 6 August 2023.

External links[edit]