Warren Wilson College
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|Type||Private Liberal Arts|
|Presbyterian Church (USA)|
|President||Lynn M. Morton|
|~65 full-time, ~15 part-time|
|Colors||Blue, Gold |
Warren Wilson College (WWC) is a private liberal arts college in Swannanoa, North Carolina. WWC is known for its curriculum that combines academics, work, and service. This system requires every student to complete a requisite course of study, work an on-campus job, and perform community service. Warren Wilson is one of the few colleges in the United States that requires students to work for the institution in order to graduate and is one of only nine colleges in the Work Colleges Consortium.
The college is notable for its surrounding environment. The campus includes a 275-acre (1.11 km2) working farm, market garden, and 625 acres (2.53 km2) of managed forest with 25 miles (40 km) of hiking trails.
Warren Wilson College is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Warren Wilson College went through many phases before becoming what it is today. Its property, situated along the Swannanoa River, was purchased in 1893 by the Women's Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church. They were concerned that many Americans in isolated areas were not getting a proper education and decided to establish church-supported schools in impoverished areas. On November 30, 1894, the Asheville Farm School officially opened on 420 acres, with 25 students attending. A professional staff of three offered the first three grades of elementary instruction.
In 1923, the school graduated its first high school class. The first post-high school programs offering vocational training began in 1936. In 1942, the Asheville Farm School merged with the Dorland-Bell School in Hot Springs, North Carolina, to become a coed secondary school. It was named Warren H. Wilson Vocational Junior College and Associated Schools, after the late Warren H. Wilson, former superintendent of the Presbyterian Church's Department of Church and Country Life. A Presbyterian church was started at the school in 1925 so students and teachers would no longer have to walk three miles to Riceville; it was also named for Wilson.
After World War II, the public education system in North Carolina improved dramatically and the need for the high school diminished, with the last high school class graduating in 1957. In 1952, the college became one of the first in the South to desegregate, when it invited Alma Shippy, an African American from Swannanoa, North Carolina, to attend. Sunderland dorm residents voted 54-1 to allow Shippy to become a student and live in their dorm.
In contrast to its original student population of underprivileged mountain youth, Warren Wilson now enrolls students of many different geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Warren Wilson College was a junior college until 1967, when it became a four-year college offering six majors. In 1972, the National Board of Missions deeded the WWC property over to the college's Board of Trustees.
The eighth president, Dr. Lynn Morton, is the first female president in the college's history. She is a native North Carolinian and was formerly provost and vice president of academic affairs at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The foundation of the school's undergraduate curriculum establishes that all students earn 128 hours of academic credit, work 10–20 hours per week for the school, and complete the Community Engagement Commitment . Students earn $7.25 per hour that goes directly towards their tuition. Unlike other schools in the Work College Consortium, students at Warren Wilson do not receive traditional pay checks.
Required subjects include Artistic Expression, History and Political Science, Language and Global Issues, Literature, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and Social Sciences to graduate and receive a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. In addition to traditional liberal arts majors such as Biology and English, undergraduates have the option of majoring in Outdoor Leadership or Environmental Studies. The Natural Science Undergraduate Research Sequence (NSURS) is the undergraduate research and presentation that is required for all bachelor of science degrees given by the college.
WWC has more than 70 work crews that are supported by students who commit to working 150, 225, or 300 hours each semester, helping to cover a portion of the cost of attendance. Some of them are:
Community engagement is a required activity to graduate. Students engage with a wide variety of issues, but the most time is committed and the deepest partnerships are developed in the following designated Issue Areas:
- The Environment
- Food Security
- Housing & Homelessness
- Race & Immigration
- Youth & Education
A master's program has also been a part of the campus since 1981 in the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers, which awards a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Warren Wilson also offers a Master of Arts in Critical & Historical Craft Studies.
Warren Wilson has varsity teams for both men and women in mountain biking, cyclocross, road cycling, basketball, soccer, swimming, cross country, and tennis. The college also has club teams for timber sports and paddling. All varsity teams except cycling and swimming compete under the United States Collegiate Athletics Association (USCAA), while cycling and swimming compete under USA Cycling (USAC) and the Appalachian Swim Conference respectively. At one point, the college also had football and baseball teams, although they have not existed for multiple decades. In 2019, it was announced that the college will be joining the NCAA Division III Membership Process.
The mountain biking team finished on the podium for 14 consecutive years at collegiate national championships until 2016, when they won the team omnium in Varsity Division II. In 2017 they finished fourth, for a 16th consecutive year on the podium. Although the mountain biking team was formed in the 1990s, the road and cyclocross teams were not added until much later, not competing in at the national championship level until the 2013–14 and 2014-15 academic years respectively. In 2016, the cyclocross team placed 4th in the DII team omnium at nationals and 3rd in the team relay.
The men's basketball team won the USCAA DII national title in 2013.
The women's cross country team won the USCAA national title in 2000.
- Bannerman houses Warren Wilson's Information Technology Services.
- Bryson Gym hosts the Old Farmer's Ball hosts weekly contra dances, providing the students and the community with old-time music and dancing, and an ever-changing line-up of musicians.
- Cowpie Café, located in the basement of Gladfelter, serves all vegan and vegetarian dishes. Cowpie uses produce from the college garden and farm. It works with Sodexo, but is largely run by students who work under a full-time supervisor.
- Devries Athletic Center, on the west side of Warren Wilson Road, houses a weight room, a basketball court, and formerly, the college's natatorium.
- Gladfelter is a standard dining hall run by Sodexo, but uses some produce and meat from the college farm.
- Holden Arts Center
- Jensen houses classrooms, offices, the archaeology lab, and the Center for Integrated Advising and Careers.
- Kittredge comprises a large theater and a music wing.
- Laursen houses the financial aid, international studies, and registrar's offices.
- Log Cabin houses the college's Work Program Office and the center for community engagement.
- Morse Natural Science Building houses laboratories, classrooms, and faculty offices for the Natural Sciences.
- Murden Health Center houses the Student Health Center, which is staffed by one full-time registered nurse, one part-time registered nurse, and the Health Center Crew. Medical direction is provided by a licensed MD. The Counseling Center is also located in Murden, which offers confidential counseling for dealing with issues and life problems with trained professionals.
- Myron Boon Hall houses staff offices and classrooms. It is the newest building on campus.
- Ogg houses the president's office, among others.
- Owl's Nest is a full-service coffee shop and cafe in the basement of Sunderland Residence Hall.
- Orr Cottage houses the Office of Admissions.
- Pew Learning Center and Ellison Library
- Ransom Fellowship Hall
- Sage Cafe is located in the lower level of Sage Residence Hall, which provides a space for bands, open mics, studying, coffee, and food.
- Spidel houses classrooms and faculty offices for Mathematics and Physics.
- Warren Wilson College Presbyterian Church and College Chapel
- Witherspoon Laboratory houses laboratories and faculty offices for the Natural Sciences.
There are two major construction projects underway or recently completed on campus as of the 2019-2020 academic year. A new academic building, Myron Boon Hall, constructed on the site formerly occupied by Carson Hall, was completed in May 2018. PFA Architects, of Asheville, led the design of the building and construction was contracted to H&M Construction. The building is LEED Gold Certified. It has six classrooms of varying sizes as well as larger meeting spaces similar in size to the existing Canon Lounge in Gladfelter that already hosts large community events but is often tightly scheduled.
The college's pool has been closed since 2014 when repairs to structural beams were deemed too expensive. Demolition and construction of a new pool structure began in 2017. Buncombe County contributed $300,000 to the project with the understanding of being able to use the pool for local swim teams. The pool has seen major setbacks, and although it was originally hoped that it would be completed for the 2017–18 swim season, work on the internal aspects of the pool were still underway as of July 2019, although the exterior has been mostly completed
The campus maintains 16 residence halls of varying layouts and capacities.
- The EcoDorm was the first college dorm to be certified as LEED Platinum in 2009 in the category of Existing Buildings, and features an active permaculture garden.
- Sage Hall has the student-run coffeehouse, Sage Cafe, in the lower level, which provides a space for bands, open mics, studying, and food. It is an all-male-identifying dorm.
- Stephenson is adjacent to Sage around Sage circle and is an all-female-identifying dorm. Stephenson is identical to Sage, but it has not yet been renovated, while Sage was renovated in the summer of 2017.
- Luke Dorland House is the third dorm in Sage Circle proper. It closed in fall 2017 for renovations. Renovations are due to be ready for the incoming class of 2019.
- The Schafers are one of the two suite-style dorms on campus. There are three buildings (A, B, and C) located around a small quad. Each building has four suites that house eight students each, as well as one RA apartment. Each suite has four rooms, a common space, and a bathroom with two showers, stalls, and sinks. The shared common area for the building has a kitchen.
- The Villages are the other suite-style dorms. Each suite/apartment houses 4-6 students and has its own kitchen and bathroom. Apartments are connected by breezeways rather than an indoor common space. There are two buildings (A and B). The Villages are the furthest dorms from the rest of campus, located alone past the Kittredge parking lot.
- Laura Sunderland Hall is one of three first-year residence halls and the largest on campus, capable of housing 134 students.
- Asheville Normal Teacher's College (ANTC) and Archie Sutton Hall are the other two first-year residence halls as of fall 2017. Previously they were upperclassmen dorms. Sutton has some housing specifically for freshmen who have taken gap year(s).
- Wellness Dorm is one of the dorms in the Ballfields. It is "values-based" housing for students who wish to live a substance-free lifestyle.
- Elmslie and Korevec are Ballfield A and B, respectively, located between Wellness and EcoDorm. They are traditional dorm housing, with three floors of rooms, each housing two students. Halls have common bathrooms and kitchens.
- The Vinings were freshmen housing until fall of 2017. Vining A is currently unthemed. Vining B is currently the "Alliance Hall," a space for LGBTQ+ identifying students and allies. Vining C is the common space for the Vinings as well as the home of Warren Wilson's Center for Gender Relations (CGR) and Wellness Crew.
- Ruth Shepard House is the only co-op style housing on campus. The residents receive a collective food stipend, have weekly family dinners as well as share house chores, and are not on the school food plan.
- Preston House was previously a second co-op style house, situated among the staff houses. Punk shows and other musical events were regularly hosted in its living room. It was condemned as structurally unsound and closed after the 2014-15 academic year. It was demolished via a controlled burn in 2016.
- Emil Amos, musician, member of Grails
- Sara Benincasa, comedian
- Tony Earley, writer
- Rayna Gellert, fiddler
- A. Van Jordan, poet (MFA)
- Toubab Krewe, international-folk-fusion band
- Vyvyane Loh, writer, choreographer, physician (MFA)
- Grace Dane Mazur, author
- Heather McElhatton, public radio producer, writer (MFA)
- Katie Spotz, youngest Atlantic solo rower
- Duncan Trussell, comedian
- David Weber, writer
- Joe Wenderoth, poet 
- Billy Edd Wheeler, singer/songwriter
- David Wilcox, folk musician
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