The History of Averett University

Chartered in 1859 as Union Female College, the University later became Roanoke Institute before taking on the name Averett College in 1917. Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) followed in 1928 after the construction of Danville Hall opened to house the chemistry, biology, business, home economics and music departments. In 1971, SACSCOC accredited Averett as a senior college, and the college conferred bachelor’s degrees for the first time since 1914. On July 1, 2001, Averett College became Averett University. The first diplomas bearing the new name were awarded at the end of the year during the December 3, 2001 commencement ceremony.

This history of Averett offers a glimpse of where we have been—from our humble beginnings to our many “firsts”—and perhaps a hint of where we are going. One thing is constant: our dedication to preparing leaders for tomorrow. If you are an Averett graduate, you will likely recognize “your” Averett somewhere in these pages. Take this opportunity to rekindle your link to your alma mater.

We hope you enjoy your journey.

1854-1864: Union Female College


  • William Isaac Berryman opened the Danville Female Institute in his home on Patton Street to house 20 boarding students for two five-month sessions. The institute would close in 1858 due to management problems.


  • Nathan Penick moved to Danville from Halifax County, Va., and opened the Baptist Female Seminary, using Berryman’s home for classes. Penick was married to Jane Averett who taught music, French and English. She was the first of eight members of the Averett family to be affiliated with the school.
  • Joseph James Averett and his wife, Rosa Celeste, came from Halifax County to join the college faculty.


  • The school’s name was changed to Union Female College, derived from the three local Baptist associations that backed it financially: Dan River, Concord, and Roanoke.
  • The school was incorporated by the General Assembly of Virginia in 1859, and the first charter was written.
  • John Taylor Averett served on the college’s first Board of Trustees.


  • A new brick building housing Union Female College was constructed atop “Baptist Hill” at Ridge and Patton Streets in Danville, next door to Berryman’s home. The structure was built at a cost of $25,000.


  • William Allen Tyree replaced Penick and served as the first principal during the war years. Tyree was a brother-in-law of Penick. Tyree served as principal until 1863.


  • Having the word “union” in the college name during the war years proved an embarrassment to the community. The college’s name was changed to Roanoke Female College (or, R.F.C.) after the largest of the three Baptist associations.

1864-1917: Roanoke Female College


  • Thomas Hume, Jr., joined R.F.C. as co-principal from 1867 to 1872. Under the leadership of Isaac Beverely Lake and Hume, the school enrolled 91 students for 1868.


  • R.F.C. hired a third co-principal, Amana Eduard Preot who had come to Danville one year earlier to teach at the Methodist college.


  • John Taylor Averett became principal of Danville’s first public school system.
  • After Hume resigned, John Lipscomb Johnson and Samuel Wootton Averett joined the faculty as co-principals with Preot.


  • R.F.C. co-principal Preot was killed prior to commencement when a keg of beer exploded in his face.
  • After Preot’s death, John Taylor Averett and his younger brother, Samuel Wootton Averett became co-principals. Three areas of study were offered: preparatory, collegiate and ornamental.


  • John Taylor Averett imposed the rule for students to wear uniforms to avoid rivalry in dress.


  • Frederick Delius served on the music faculty for the year 1885-1886. Soon afterwards, Delius returned to England to become one of that nation’s foremost composers.


  • Samuel Wootton Averett left to become president of Judson College in Alabama.
  • John Taylor Averett was the first person to be named President of the College.


  • John Taylor Averett suffered a stroke, and spent his final three years as president partially paralyzed and in a wheelchair.


  • The Lyrian Literary Society began the school’s first library collection.
  • John Taylor Averett retired.
  • Charles Fenton James replaced John Taylor Averett as president.


  • Students established the Philomathean Literary Society, and its members were known as Philos.


  • Charles Fenton James added a wing to the Patton Street building that included the school’s first indoor plumbing.


  • Robert Edwin Hatton assumed the presidency after the death of Charles Fenton James on December 3, 1902. James was so loved by students that a marble commemorative plaque was commissioned in his honor. Today it can be found just to the right of the lobby in Main Hall.
  • Hatton added teacher training, economics and business to the curriculum and increased the library’s holdings to 2,500 volumes. He also added a tennis court, a basketball court, baseball grounds, and formed the first glee club.


  • The College’s first yearbook, Echoes of R.F.C (later, Echoes), was published.


  • Robert Edwin Hatton resigned as president; John Bruce Brewer succeeded him.
  • Students established the Mnemosynean Literary Society, whose members were known as the Nemos.
  • A fifteen-acre tract on West Main Street was purchased from the Mountain View Land Company for $5,500 for the purpose of moving the campus away from the crowded downtown business area.


  • The Averett College Alumnae Association was founded.


  • The College name was changed to Roanoke Institute (R. I.) when President Brewer managed to win an affiliation with the Baptist General Association of Virginia for additional funding.
  • Main Hall (on West Main Street) was constructed at a cost of $40,670.


  • Roanoke Institute becomes Averett College and is accredited as a junior college.

1918-1940: Averett College Establishes Stability


  • President Crosland was forced to resign in 1921 after allowing young women to dance with one another during their afternoon recreation period. He was replaced by James Pressley Craft. President Craft, thinking he heard prowlers in the college’s kitchen, fired his pistol into the dark room only to find students raiding the icebox.

Averett discontinued its primary school.

  • The first issue of The Chanticleer, the Averett student newspaper, was published. The Chanticleer ceased publication in 1930 but resumed in 1934. The newspaper was named after the rooster Chauntecleer in Chaucer’s Nun’s Priest Tale: chanter, in French, means “to sing” and cler means “clear.”


  • The yearbook’s name was changed to Pendulum, for the grandfather clock in the lobby. The Pendulum suspended publication in 1990.
  • The Annex, behind Main Hall, was built at a cost of $60,000 and included 24 residence hall rooms, a swimming pool and a gymnasium.
  • The honor system was implemented.


  • A young history teacher named Mary Catharine Fugate joined the faculty.
  • An Averett student defined an oyster as “a fish built like a nut.” Concerned with students’ lack of scientific knowledge, President James Pressley Craft added a separate science department and hired a full-time librarian.


  • The annual May Day Festival began, a tradition that continued until 1969.


  • James Pressley Craft left Averett to assume the presidency of Hardin College in Missouri. John Walter Cammack succeeded him.


  • President Cammack raised $100,000 to construct a music and science building. The building was named Danville Hall in honor of the city whose citizens gave more than $40,000 for its construction. The four-story building housed the departments of chemistry, biology, business, home economics and music.
  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) responded to these changes by granting full accreditation to the college.
  • A local dentist and Trustee, Dr. T. L. Sydnor, donated funds to construct an athletic field.
  • The Lingernook, a log cabin, was built on the Sydnor Athletic Field where students could go to be alone, or to have parties.


  • The Daisy Chain had already become an old custom during commencement.
  • A home for the president was built at 174 Mt. View Avenue. The office of Institutional Advancement moved in when later another home was acquired for the president. The house is now called “Alumni Hall.”


  • President John Walter Cammack resigned. Curtis Vance Bishop became the ninth president of Averett College.


  • Averett discontinued its secondary school.


  • Renovations were made to the president’s home on Mt. View Avenue.


  • A tradition of “Hiding the Crook” began around 1940. The practice was abandoned in the early 1960s because somehow the Crook disappeared. (In 1999, the Crook was discovered in the college vault and placed in the college archives.)

1950-1967: Averett Marks a Century of Excellence with Growth


  • Five Averett students removed bones and a skull from a grave. They carried the bones to the Averett day students’ room to hold a séance. After complaints from fellow students, the perpetrators burned the bones in the college furnace. President Bishop suspended one of the students and expelled the other four. The incident garnered national media attention.


  • The senior class presented the college with its first television set. The RCA Victor set with a 21-inch screen was placed in “The Spot,” Averett’s student lounge. Popular television shows were “I Love Lucy,” “Father Knows Best” and “Dragnet.”


  • A new Gymnasium was built on Mt. View Avenue. On Sept. 29 the first dance held in the new gym included students from the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill.
  • Davenport Hall extension II was completed.


  • Averett College celebrated its 100th birthday. Alumni from throughout the United States came for the occasion. Sixty-three colleges and universities sent representatives.
  • Pritchett Auditorium was named for a local doctor, Dr. C. W. Pritchett. Built on the top of the new gymnasium, it was dedicated on Nov. 15, 1959, during the college’s weeklong Centennial Celebration.
  • Danville Hall’s extension was built.


  • Broadway veteran Mimi Kelly was the first concert booked in Pritchett Auditorium.


  • Civil Rights demonstrations were held in Danville; 130 students cancelled their plans to attend Averett.


  • Bishop Hall was completed. This building connected Danville Hall, Davenport Hall and the gymnasium/auditorium complex. President Curtis Vance Bishop assured parents that their daughters would not be exposed to either the elements or urban turmoil from September when they entered Averett to May when they left.


  • A three-story administrative wing and a two-story dormitory wing were added to Main Hall.


  • Curtis Vance Bishop died in 1966. President Bishop left to his successor a college over two-and-one-half times larger in square footage than the college he inherited.
  • At Bishop’s death, Mary Catharine Fugate, Dean of the College, was selected to serve as Acting President from January to September.
  • In September 1966, Conwell Axel Anderson assumed the presidency.
  • The Ember, Averett’s student literary magazine, began publication.
  • In August, the college purchased the house and property at 344 West Main Street, which the Catholic Church had used for their Sacred Heart Parochial School from 1953 to 1966. The old Walter W. Waddill house became the Fine Arts Building for Averett and its old Carriage House, constructed in 1869, became the pottery classroom.

The college held its first Parents’ Day, which gave parents the opportunity to talk with instructors and administrators.

1967 – 1980: Becoming a Senior College

  • The Board of Trustees made the decision for the junior college to move to a 4-year program. They reinstated baccalaureate degrees and coeducation, giving President Conwell Axel Anderson two years to strengthen the faculty and build a library.
  • The Trustees created a Board of Associates, comprised of professional and business leaders, to assist the administration with current and future programs.
  • The first development office was formed to coordinate fund raising, public relations, and alumni affairs.


  • President Conwell Axel Anderson appointed a Ministerial Advisory Committee to act as interpreter of the college to the Baptists in regard to the receipt of federal aid.
  • Under President Anderson students were finally allowed to keep cars on campus. A 200-car parking lot was constructed at the corner of Surry Lane and Woodland Drive.


  • Averett’s first African-American students enrolled as day students.
  • Mary Catharine Fugate retired after serving 45 years as Dean and Registrar.
  • The May Day Festival and Daisy Chain traditions came to an end. The last May Day festival was dedicated to Dean Mary C. Fugate.


  • The first issue of the Averett Journal was published in the spring. The Averett faculty created this publication where they could publish articles about their own specialties and learn about each other’s talents.
  • The Mary C. Fugate Hall was constructed, offering residence to 150 students in fifteen air-conditioned suites.
  • The Board of Trustees voted to make dormitory space available for male students. Wholly unprepared for the arrival of men in Averett residence halls, the college housed the first male resident students in Hotel Danville where they picked up all sorts of “bad habits.” When they were finally housed on Second Main it became the responsibility of Dean of Students Mary Jo Davis to help them adjust to life at Averett.
  • When the decision was made to tear down the old Fine Arts building and to construct a new library on that lot, a private home next door (built in 1890) was acquired from the Ayres estate for use as the newer Fine Arts building.


  • SACS accredited Averett as a senior college, and the college conferred bachelor’s degrees for the first time since 1914.
  • For the first time in the college’s history, men were awarded bachelor degrees at graduation.
  • The Mary B. Blount Library was constructed. On Sept. 14, 1971, students and faculty moved 34,000 books from the library in the basement of Bishop Hall to the new Blount Library at 344 West Main Street. After the move, a picnic was held on the athletic field.
  • The first issue of the alumni magazine, Potpourri, was published.
  • Replacing the Spot, the Bottom Inn, located in the basement of Bishop Hall, offered food services and a place for students to relax. A haven for students from academic life, the Bottom Inn was a place for grabbing a quick lunch, listening to contemporary music, or playing a game of ping-pong, pool or Foosball.
  • Attendance at chapel was changed from mandatory to voluntary.
  • The first Miss Averett pageant was held, a preliminary contest for the Miss Virginia/Miss USA pageant. Julia McLaney won the title of the first Miss Averett.


  • Averett established its first Evening College by offering classes at night for patrons who were unable to attend during the day, especially for community college graduates who wished to earn bachelor’s degrees in business management, law enforcement or education.
  • The first Averett College men’s basketball team, coached by Gary Bannister, played a full schedule of games.
  • A Reading Center was established at 335 Townes Street to provide specialized training for Averett education majors and to offer service to the community.
  • The Virginia Beta Chapter of Alpha Chi National Honor Society was chartered at Averett. Chapter sponsors were Pauline Coll, Marilyn Russell and John Dever.
  • In February, Averett’s African-American students planned an annual Black Studies Week, featuring special guests and performers.


  • Under the leadership of Dean R. Kirby Godsey, Averett and Stratford colleges developed cooperative programs. Plans called for the colleges to merge.
  • Averett adopted Stratford’s 4-1-4-1 calendar, thereby creating January and May terms. The January terms were especially popular for study abroad programs.
  • Averett added a program in horsemanship, leading to a baccalaureate degree.
  • Under the direction of Dr. Lerond Curry, Averett added to the curriculum an Honors Colloquium designed to deal with contemporary issues.
  • The first recipient of an Honorary Degree from Averett College was Joseph M. Taylor, President of Danville Community College.


  • Paula Simms was the first African-American student to be selected as the college’s representative to the state’s Apple Blossom Festival as Apple Blossom Princess.
  • Danville’s Stratford College closed due to financial hardship. Stratford seniors were allowed to complete their senior year at Averett.
  • Averett students, determined to make their college the first in Virginia to field streakers, donned black capes and streaked through the campus. The next evening the Danville police were called to direct traffic as Danvillians turned out by the thousands for an anticipated repeat performance.


  • Averett joined NCAA Division III Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with teams in eight sports: men’s golf, men’s soccer, women’s field hockey, coeducational riding, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s tennis.
  • Joyce Weiblen, Athletic Director, coined the term Cougars as a nickname for the college’s athletic teams, using a play on words “Atlantic Coast Conference” and “Averett Cougar College.”
  • The college acquired the Mountain View Apartments.


  • The Admissions House at 334 West Main was acquired. It was later dedicated and named for Trustee W. Curtis English.


  • Averett College’s first Homecoming was held. SGA Vice-President Rossie Alston, ’79, spearheaded the effort to provide an annual Homecoming ceremony. Since 1978, a Homecoming Queen has been elected, and since 1988 a Homecoming King.


  • President Conwell Axel Anderson resigned. Howard W. Lee was named president.
  • Averett fielded its first women’s fast pitch softball team.

1980 – 1998: Graduate Degrees and Programs for Adult Learners


  • The first Master of Education degrees were conferred.
  • The men’s soccer team captured the Dixie Conference Championship and the Virginia State Championship.


  • Through the generosity of Jacob M. “Jack” Kleinoder, the Kleinoder Field was constructed from the old Sydnor Athletic field, located at the corner of Mt. View Avenue and Surry Lane. It was rebuilt as a soccer field, but was used for other games as well as for Commencement ceremonies.
  • Aviation was offered as a minor for students in Business Administration/Aviation Management.


  • Tennis courts were built across the street from the parking lot on Surry Lane.
  • A new President’s home at 500 Hawthorne Drive was acquired from the estate of Mrs. A. B. Carrington, Jr.


  • Dr. Jay Hayes, professor of history, published A History of Averett College.
  • Northern Virginia International Program opened at Columbia Baptist Church, in Falls Church.
  • Averett’s first MBA students enrolled in classes.
  • The Ada Nunn Frith Hall was constructed, a four-story brick building to house classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices.
  • Students buried a time capsule on the site of Frith Hall. The capsule contained a copy of George Orwell’s 1984, an Averett orientation package, a popular 45 RPM record, a college patch, a stopwatch, a list of research topics from psychology students, a sheet of gospel music, a copy of the application and tuition check from the college’s first MBA student and, courtesy of the Parents Association, a copy of a tuition bill.


  • President William Howard Lee retired. Frank Ross Campbell was inaugurated as the new president.
  • The ”rat night” tradition of “initiating” freshmen ended.


  • The Jordan Common was built and named in memory of Trustee Robert S. Jordan.
  • The first MBA degrees were conferred.


  • The college’s Annual Fund topped $1 million for first time in its history.
  • President Frank Campbell initiated the first Founder’s Day celebration, which was held on March 17th. Malcom Huckabee, Provost, addressed the faculty, staff, alumni and friends who gathered in Pritchett Auditorium.


  • Averett Adult Curriculum for Excellence (AACE) program opened academic centers in Danville (SOVA) and Vienna (NOVA). This was a non-traditional distance-learning program whereby working adults through an accelerated format could receive an A.A. or a B.A. in business administration.
  • The AACE houses at 146 Woodland Avenue and 303 Robertson Averett were acquired.


  • The North Campus (707 Mt. Cross Road) and the Equestrian Center (1231 Gammon Road, Pelham, NC) properties were acquired.
  • The first graduates of the AACE program received degrees.


  • The Emily Swain Grousbeck Music Center was constructed on Mt. View Avenue, providing practice rooms, a music library, a media center, classrooms and a recital hall.
  • Averett began leasing space at the Danville Regional Airport (424 Airport Drive) for its aviation program, including the bachelor’s degree in airway science.


  • The College opened a Central Virginia Center in Richmond.
  • The first Honors Convocation was held. This ceremony was established for the recognition of superior academic achievements of students in the various disciplines. Faculty members from each department presented the awards.


  • The new Equestrian Center was built on 100 acres in Providence, NC. The facilities included an indoor ring, a stable, and three outdoor training areas.
  • The women’s soccer team competed for the first time in the Dixie Conference.
  • The Averett Honors Program began in the fall of 1993, emphasizing student-generated information and student-led discussions.


  • The college acquired the Financial Aid house at 119 Robertson Avenue, along with a house at 132 Woodland Drive to be used as an Interim Student Center.
  • Online learning comes to Averett: the college began holding MBA classes via interactive distance learning technology with Marine bases in Camp Lejeune, N.C. and Quantico, Virginia.
  • AACE classes began in the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, N.C.
  • Averett received the largest gift in its history, a $2.84 million dollar bequest from the estate of former Trustee Mary B. Blount of Roanoke.
  • Residence hall rooms were wired for cable television and equipped with analog phone lines. All Averett students were provided with voice mail capabilities.


  • The college dedicated the David S. Blount Chapel in Frith Hall.
  • Bishop Hall’s Conference Center was created.
  • AACE classes began in the Tidewater Center at Virginia Beach.
  • Averett’s men’s baseball team played its first full schedule of conference play.
  • The alumni Potpourri’s name was changed to Current Magazine.


  • North Campus baseball, softball and soccer fields were completed.


  • The E. Stuart James Grant Convocation and Athletic Center was completed on property across the Dan River, at the newly acquired North Campus.
  • AACE changed its name to Graduate and Professional Studies.

2000-2014: Averett University


  • The Averett Commons apartments opened, built on the former Kleinoder soccer field.
  • The Digital Media Lab was opened in bottom Frith.
  • A new Football Field House was completed.
  • Averett partnered with Virginia Tech and DCC on Aug. 31 to establish a new learning center in the area.


  • On July 1, 2001, Averett College became Averett University. The first diplomas bearing the new name were awarded at the end of the year during the December 3, 2001 commencement ceremony.
  • The first diplomas as Averett University were awarded on Dec. 3.


  • Frank Ross Campbell retired from the presidency on June 30. Richard Anthony Pfau began his term as the new president on July 1.


  • President Pfau’s inauguration was held on March 29.
  • The Averett Cougars won their first Dixie Conference Baseball Tournament, played at Dan Daniel Park, with a win against Christopher Newport (April 19, 2003). It was the first conference championship win in the program’s 8-year history, with Ed Fulton as Coach.
  • Averett opened a new Graduate and Professional Studies campus in Lynchburg, Virginia, in May.


  • On October 14th, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new student center at the corner of Woodland and Townes streets.
  • Averett women’s softball team captured its first USA South Conference tournament championship. Head Coach Kathy Bocock led the Cougars to victory.
  • Dr. Jay Hayes, professor of history, published The Lamp and The Cross: A History of Averett College, 1859-2001.


  • The Graduate and Professional Studies division added an M.Ed. program in the Lynchburg, VA area for Spring 2005.
  • The Baptist General Association of Virginia cut its ties with Averett on April 6.
  • In May, two new graduation awards for Graduate and Professional Studies students were given: the Malcolm Knowles and Frank R. Campbell awards for high grades.
  • The test flight of NASA’s Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) took place at the Danville Regional Airport. NASA selected Averett as the general manager of the SATS Lab Project.


  • The Graduate and Professional Studies Program announced the expansion of its accelerated Master of Education degree program to Chesapeake, Martinsville, and Richmond.
  • Averett’s new student center opened its doors. The center featured a new Dining Hall, Juts Café, Daly Gameroom and various offices and recreation areas. It was officially dedicated on April 12, 2007.


  • The aeronautics department established a bridge program for pilots with American Eagle Airlines. The bridge program allows Averett aeronautics graduates with fewer flight hours to apply for flight officer positions. Also in 2007, the department formed a partnership with NetJets, a cutting-edge, fractional airline company.
  • Averett University’s flight team, The Flying Cougars, earned a trip to the National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) competition with a third place finish in regional competition in October. The Cougars captured third place in both ground and flight events and captured the top female and male pilot awards during the Region X competition held in Lynchburg.
  • In December, Averett announced the reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The reaffirmation of accreditation will stand until 2017 when it will be up for renewal.


  • On May 14, Dr. Tiffany McKillip Franks was named the 24th President of Averett University. She officially took office July 1, replacing Dr. Richard A. Pfau upon his retirement.
  • US News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges Guide ranked Averett University in its list of the top 48 baccalaureate colleges in the South.
  • The Association of College Unions recognized the Student Center with a 2008 design award. This was the third recognition for the center and its architects, Charlottesville-based VMDO. The Central Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and the Society for College and University Planning previously issued awards of excellence for the Student Center’s design.
  • Averett announced plans for the establishment of a Center for Excellence in Autism Education. The first phase of the plan began in the fall with a certificate training program for area teachers. Future plans call for the establishment of a regional resource center for parents, students, teachers and paraprofessionals.
  • In October, the University unveiled the two newest additions to its fleet of student-training aircraft – Liberty XL2s. The Liberty XL2s represent the next generation in state-of-the-art training aircraft.
  • Averett Board of Trustee member Dr. Martti Ahtisaari was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his worldwide peace efforts and diplomacy. Ahtisaari, the former president of Finland, holds an honorary doctorate from Averett.


  • The University celebrated its sesquicentennial (150 years). Celebrations were held across the Commonwealth and a slate of activities were held throughout the spring, including a concert, worship service, lecture series and grand party on April 17th  at the Student Center. The April party featured history displays, students dressed in period costume, and historical interpreters. Also during the celebration, the University affirmed the leadership of Averett President Dr. Tiffany Franks, the University’s 24th president.
  • Averett began offering undergraduate and graduate level degree programs at South Boston’s Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. The University also began offering education courses allowing teachers to renew their certification.
  • Student Laura Thompson of Canton, Ohio was named National Champion at the Lower Training Level Division during the National Intercollegiate Dressage Association’s (IDA) National Championship in Findlay, Ohio April 18-19.
  • Averett and The Franklin Center for Advanced Learning and Enterprise in Rocky Mount formed a partnership to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration –  Management Science to area residents.
  • Averett University joined with more than 700 schools around the country to support our nation’s veterans by participating in The Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program. The Yellow Ribbon Program allows veterans who served on or after Sept. 10, 2001 to be eligible for additional tuition support in the form of discounts and other aid.
  • The Honorable Charles R. Hawkins, Virginia legislator, donated the papers from his legislative career to Averett in October. The University set up a special display, The Charles R. Hawkins Collection, in the archives of Mary B. Blount Library to house this historic collection. The collection includes Hawkins’ correspondence, newsletters, speeches, memoranda, newspaper clippings, reports, campaign materials, photographs and other items relating to his 25 years of service in the Virginia General Assembly.
  • The Virginia Autism Council (VAC) gave Averett approval to issue a certificate of training in autism spectrum disorders. Averett began offering classes focusing on autism spectrum disorders in the fall of 2008.
  • In December, the University announced it was expanding its educational options with the launch of a four-year degree program in sociology and criminal justice that can be completed via online and independent study coursework.


A new honor society was formed for education majors and graduate students. The Alpha Zeta Alpha Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), International Honor Society  inducted its charter members during a special ceremony on April 24th.

  • In the fall, Averett welcomed its largest new student undergraduate enrollment on record, with 340 new students on the Danville campus.
  • A grand opening was held on August 20th for The Schoolfield House Booksellers, the University’s new bookstore, located in a historic house at 354 West Main Street. The bookstore, which was completely refurbished, is open to the public and has meeting space for community group events.
  • Averett University was named a “military friendly” school for 2011 by G.I. Jobs magazine. This honor ranked the University in the top 15 percent of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide that are doing the most to help America’s military and veterans as students.
  • The University held a grand opening for The Galesi Family Student Success Center on Oct. 12. The 6,500-square-foot center is located off Woodland Drive in the University’s former dining hall. The center is home to the office of student success, the tutoring program, writing and academic support, Col. S. Stone Gregory Jr. Career Services, the honors program and the study abroad program.
  • The Adult Professional Program began offering classes for recertification in conjunction with its M.Ed. program in curriculum and instruction. Teachers who need to take one or two courses (6 hours maximum) to gain state recertification may now enroll in any graduate course in the M.Ed. program as a special student.
  • Averett announced a partnership agreement with Danville Regional Medical Center (DRMC) on Oct. 18 that transitions DRMC’s School of Nursing to the University. DRMC will provide the clinical training at the hospital and Averett will lead the educational component of the program.


  • In January, the University announced it was moving its Graduate and Professional Studies Program to a new campus – Riverview Campus – in Danville’s Tobacco Warehouse District – the former Dimon headquarters on Bridge Street. The Riverview Campus not only houses offices and classes for the Graduate and Professional Studies Program, but courses for the health sciences initiative and traditional undergraduate classes as well.
  • The University added a new full motion flight simulator, the Redbird FMX Advanced Aviation Training Device, to its pilot-training capabilities. The simulator’s technological features, such as wrap-around visuals, a fully enclosed cockpit, reconfigurable construction and a motion platform, create a level of realism that is invaluable in training the pilots of tomorrow.
  • Ginger Henderson ’87, assistant professor of equestrian studies and coach of the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) Team, was named IDA Coach of the Year during the national competition at the University of Florida April 29-30.
  • The Graduate and Professional Studies was approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to offer courses leading toward a master of business administration degree through video conferencing at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, the Crossroads Institute in Galax and the New College Institute in Martinsville.
  • The equestrian studies department was approved to offer a new concentration: equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP). The concentration is also available as a minor to students in the psychology and sociology/criminal justice programs. In the new concentration, students take four core courses including introduction to equine assisted psychotherapy, equine behavior and two practicum courses where they gain hands-on experience. By the time students are finished, they will be nationally certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).
  • The University opened two new locations for its Graduate and Professional Studies Program – one in Chesapeake on Independence Parkway and the second in Richmond at the Watkins Centre on Midlothian Turnpike.
  • During the summer, the University renovated the first floor of Main Hall for the creation of Averett Central, a one-stop-shop designed to better serve students in accomplishing the “business” of being in school. When students arrived in August, they found the registrar and student financial services (financial aid and student accounts) offices all together in one central location.
  • For the second year in a row, G.I. Jobs magazine recognized Averett as a “military friendly” school. This honor ranked the University in the top 20 percent of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide that are working to help America’s military and veterans as students.
  • Averett earned the 34th spot among Regional Colleges (South) in the 2012 edition of Best Colleges by U.S. News Media Group. The University is the highest-ranked Virginia school among the 99 Southern schools listed as Regional Colleges.
  • In the fall of 2011, the University began offering non-credit continuing education courses. The courses covered a variety of topics and interests including introduction to historic preservation, politics and the media, American art – from our founding to today and an introduction to Islam.


For more information about Averett University and our programs, contact us or apply now and get started on your career today!