About Longwood University
Longwood University is a four-year public, liberal-arts university located in Farmville, Virginia, United States. It was founded in 1839, and became a university on July 1, 2002. It currently has an undergraduate enrollment of about 3,700 students and a total enrollment of 4,400.
ounded on March 5, 1839 as the Farmville Female Seminary Association, Longwood University is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States and one the oldest public institution of higher education for women in the United States. The Farmville Female College was incorporated in 1860 as the increasing prosperity of the seminary led the stockholders to expand it into a college. Longwood is the third oldest public institution of higher learning in Virginia, after the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia.
On April 7, 1884, the state of Virginia acquired the property of the Farmville Female College, and in October of the same year the Normal School opened with 110 students enrolled making it the first state institution of higher learning for women in Virginia. The Normal School expanded its curriculum over the years and progressed through a succession of names. It became the State Normal School for Women in 1914, the State Teachers College at Farmville in 1924, and Longwood College in 1949. In 1954, graduate programs were authorized. Longwood became fully coeducational in June 1976.
A main university building, Ruffner Hall, burned down on April 24, 2001, in the middle of its renovation period and was subsequently rebuilt. Ruffner Hall, built in 1839 as the "College Building", had evolved through several stages of construction and expansion from 1839 to 1907. For decades the sprawling Ruffner, whose image appears on the university's logo and seal, was the main administration building, with administrative offices on the first floor and student housing on the upper two floors. After students vacated the building by the early 1970s, dorm rooms were converted to office and classroom space. The former library, Lancaster Hall, was renovated and reopened in 1996 as the main administration building. Ruffner was then used primarily for classrooms and faculty offices before being closed in 1999 for renovation.
Governor Mark Warner officially signed legislation changing Longwood's designation to university on April 24, 2002, the one-year anniversary of the fire that destroyed Ruffner Hall.