The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

The College at Wise surpassed the $50 million goal for its “Fulfilling the Dream” campaign, which has permanently enriched the teaching and learning environment at UVA’s only branch campus, located in Southwest Virginia. Alumni and friends supported the establishment of professorships, provided endowed funding for undergraduate research and international educational experiences and funded student life and student leadership development opportunities. The UVA-Wise campus underwent a tremendous physical transformation during the campaign, with enhancements including the Hunter J. Smith Dining Commons, the Gilliam Center for the Arts, the Winston Ely Health and Wellness Center, the Twin Leaf Clock project, and significant renovations to the Fred B. Greear Gymnasium and the Lila Vicars Smith House.


Undergraduate Research

Through the support of the C. Bascom Slemp Foundation, the College at Wise has significantly enhanced its undergraduate research programs. In 2011, the foundation established the C. Bascom Slemp Fund for Undergraduate Research. The fund has allowed students from a wide range of disciplines to complete substantial research projects. The fund has enabled additional field research, opened up opportunities for students to present their outcomes and supported faculty mentors guiding the research. Expounding on their findings before an audience of peers and faculty is exciting for undergraduates and inspires them to continue their work.

The Gilliam Center for the ArtsGilliam

In the fall of 2009, for the first time in school history, UVA-Wise students attended courses in art, drama and music under the same roof in the Gilliam Center for the Arts. Made possible by Richard and Leslie Gilliam and Marvin and Marcia Gilliam, the center is named in honor of the Gilliam family’s unwavering and generous support of the College at Wise. This facility has transformed the visual and performing arts program, and provides a beautiful and functional venue for bringing the fine arts into the lives of students, the surrounding community and beyond.

Gifts at Work

New Dining Commons Offers Practical but Meaningful Impact

Before the opening of the Hunter J. Smith Dining Commons in January 2010, students at the College at Wise had one primary dining option on campus, a facility built in 1982, designed to serve a campus population of only 262 students. With the student body approaching 2,000, dining capacity was one of the pressing needs on campus. Because of longstanding support from campaign co-chair Hunter J. Smith and the rest of the Smith family, long lines are a thing of the past for students and others who dine on campus. The new dining commons features a two-level facility: a coffee shop, entertainment space and primary kitchen facilities on the first level; the servery, the main dining facility and a private dining space on the upper level. The building was constructed with a predeveloped area of expansion to accommodate future growth.