College Search

Report Abuse

Roanoke College

Roanoke College is a private, coeducational, four-year liberal-arts college located in Salem, Virginia, United States, a suburban independent city adjacent to Roanoke, Virginia


221 College Lane


Total Undergrad enrollment
In State Tuition Fees
Out State Tuition Fees
ACT Score
SAT Score
Grade Point Average(GPA)
Male Female Ratio
Acceptance Rate
Student Faculty Ratio

Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Campus Housing
Grey Blue Maroon Gold
Old Dominion

College History


Roanoke College was founded in 1842 as a boys' preparatory school by Lutheran pastors David F. Bittle and Christopher C. Baughmann. Originally located in Augusta County near Staunton, the school was named Virginia Institute until chartered on January 30, 1845 as Virginia Collegiate Institute. In 1847, the institute moved to Salem which was developing into a center of commerce and transportation in the region; the school moved all of its possessions in a single covered wagon. The Virginia General Assembly granted a college charter on March 14, 1853 and approved the name Roanoke College, chosen in honor of the Roanoke Valley. Bittle then served as the college's first president. Roanoke was one of the few Southern colleges that remained open throughout the American Civil War. The student body was organized into a corps of cadets and fought with Confederate forces near Salem in December 1863. The students were outmatched and quickly forced to surrender, but the Union commander allowed them to return to their studies in exchange for a promise to put down their arms. The college company was formally mustered into the Confederate Army, Virginia Reserves, on September 1, 1864, but the students did not see combat before the war ended. A monument honoring Salem's Confederate soldiers, dedicated in 1909 by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, is on the grounds of the former Roanoke County courthouse, which is now a college academic building. International students Roanoke enrolled its first international students in the late 19th century; the first Mexican student in 1876 and the first Japanese student in 1888. The first Korean to graduate from an American college or university, Surh Beung Kiu, graduated in 1898. Coeducation Roanoke became coeducational in 1930 when women were admitted to counter a decline in male enrollment caused by the Great Depression. A small number of women were previously offered limited admission as non-degree seeking students � most from Elizabeth College, a sister Lutheran women's college destroyed by fire in 1921; the students finished the 1921�22 academic year at Roanoke. The first women's residence hall, Smith Hall, opened in 1941. Roanoke's student body is now more than fifty percent female. Roanoke adopted the alumnae of Marion College, a sister Lutheran women's college in Marion, Virginia, when it closed in 1967. Marion Hall, a large residence hall constructed in 1968, honors the college and its alumnae. National championships Roanoke athletic teams have won two national championships: the 1972 NCAA Division II men's basketball championship and the 1978 Division II men's lacrosse championship. Roanoke's third national championship occurred in 2001 when student Casey Smith won an individual championship in the Division III women's 10,000m track and field event. In 2009, student Robin Yerkes secured Roanoke's fourth national championship when she won an individual championship in the Division III women's 400m track and field event. Sesquicentennial Roanoke experienced exceptional growth in the 1980s and 1990s. Two campaign plans, the 1992 Sesquicentennial Campaign and the 2002 Plan, also known as "The Difference", were successfully completed with over $150 million raised. The campaigns financed the renovation and construction of numerous facilities including the library, the student center, and the arts and performance center. Roanoke's tenth president, and first female president, Sabine O'Hara, took office in 2004. O'Hara, an expert in sustainable economic development, was recruited to lead formulation of a new strategic plan, one that would advance the college into the next decade. In 2006, Roanoke unveiled "The 2015 Plan", which calls for expanded academic offerings, an increase in enrollment from 1,900 to 2,100 students, renovation and construction of facilities to support increased enrollment, and growth in endowment resources to support financial aid for more students. O'Hara resigned in 2007 after unveiling the plan; her tenure was short, but productive with four new residence halls constructed, two academic buildings renovated, a new sports stadium completed, and records set for applications and enrollment. President Michael C. Maxey Michael C. Maxey became Roanoke's eleventh president on July 1, 2007; he was unanimously elected by the board of trustees having served as Roanoke's vice president for college relations and dean of admissions and financial aid from 1992 until his selection as president. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wake Forest University. Maxey has provided dynamic leadership highlighted by Roanoke's current campaign plan � "Roanoke Rising" � that seeks to raise $200 million to finance facilities, endowment, and special projects; the college had already secured $130 million before the campaign was publicly launched on April 13, 2013. The primary objectives of the campaign are a new athletics center and an expanded science complex. Roanoke is completing its strategic plan as well; the student body now numbers over 2,100 students, several buildings have been renovated including Roanoke's first LEED certified building (Lucas Hall on the Turbyfill Quadrangle), and a new residence hall constructed, the fifth since 2005. The residence hall is Roanoke's second LEED certified building (New Hall on the "Athletic" Quadrangle).

College Specialty


The Division of Student Affairs assists students in their intellectual, ethical, spiritual and personal development by providing living and learning opportunities that contribute to the educational mission of Roanoke College. These educational opportunities enhance traditional classroom learning and prepare students for success in life after graduation, while encouraging them to become leaders in their community as well as global citizens.



Frankie Allen � arguably the greatest men's basketball player in Virginia college history; head men's basketball coach, University of Maryland Eastern Shore; former head men's basketball coach, Virginia Tech, Tennessee State University, and Howard University; 1993 NCAA Division I national coach of the year Donald Armentrout � author and long-time professor of religion, University of the South Denvy A. Bowman � president, Capital University Kim Kyu-Sik was one of the first Korean citizens to graduate from an American college or university. He served as Vice President of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea from 1940�47 and is shown with President Syngman Rhee (Rhee is on the left, Kim on the right). Kim graduated from Roanoke in 1903. M. Paul Capp � professor emeritus of radiology, University of Arizona; executive director (ret), The American Board of Radiology Eldridge H. Copenhaver � past president, Marion College R. H. W. Dillard � award-winning poet and author; long-time professor of English and creative writing at Hollins University Charles H. Fisher � author of more than 200 publications and holder of 72 patents in the fields of organic and polymer chemistry Kenneth R. Garren � president, Lynchburg College Carl W. Gottschalk � professor of medicine, University of North Carolina; notable kidney researcher Dolphus E. Henry � past president, Tusculum College Cornelius T. Jordan � past president, New Mexico State University Charles B. King � past president, Elizabeth College Lewis R. Lancaster � Buddhist scholar; professor emeritus, University of California, Berkeley; past president, University of the West Robert Lineburg � athletic director, Radford University; former interim head men's basketball coach, Southern Methodist University Vernon Mountcastle � neuroscientist who discovered and characterized the columnar organization of the cerebral cortex David W. Peters � past president, Radford University Miller A. F. Ritchie � past president, Hartwick College and Pacific University James A. B. Scherer � past president, Newberry College and Throop College of Technology now named California Institute of Technology Hillary Scott � head men's basketball coach, Lynchburg College; former assistant head men's basketball coach, East Tennessee State University and Pennsylvania State University Surh Beung Kiu � the first Korean to graduate from an American college; Roanoke class of 1898 Carol Miller Swain � African-American author; Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2002; professor at Vanderbilt University and board member of the National Endowment for the Humanities David F. Thornton � senior development officer, Harvard Law School Munsey S. Wheby � professor of internal medicine, University of Virginia; past president, American College of Physicians