Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center


Campaign Update


Our opportunity. Our challenge.

Rarely are we given the opportunity to simultaneously relish the past and feed the future. But today, we have exactly that.

Drs. Roy Nicholson and Virgil Mitchell — our Alumni of the Century — did more to nourish the Wesleyan way of life than any two others we know, sowing the seeds of faith, compassion and education throughout our community and the world.

Now we must tend the fields and renew the cycle.

As the congregation of ALIVE Wesleyan moves into a new church, our Board of Trustees has approved the purchase and renovation of the facility they're leaving in the heart of our campus. With your help and God's grace, it will become the Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center where new generations of young people will prepare to carry God's Word into the world.

Accomplishing this will require $1.4 million in donations... a substantial amount, but a bargain that will allow us to expand our campus at a fraction of the cost of a new building, create a first-class facility in which countless generations will prepare for the ministry, and preserve the historic presence of the campus church.

Please give what you can and, having done that, give of your time and good will to spread the word far and wide. Together we will be stewards in the mold of Drs. Nicholson and Mitchell, and we will usher in a new era of Wesleyan ministerial education in the South.

Campaign objectives

In many ways, this campaign is about far more than the purchase and renovation of an historic building. Its value lies in the deeper significance and meaning the new Nicholson-Mitchell Christian Ministry Center will carry into the future.

  • To combine current, relevant, and innovative approaches to ministry with the timeless values of our spiritual heritage.
  • To prepare the next generation of servant- leaders for a breadth of ministry essential in today’s rapidly-changing culture.
  • To become the “go-to” institution for solid academics with practical application.
  • To offer two new hybrid programs combining on-site and on-line learning — one a graduate degree in ministry, the other a new non-traditional undergraduate program.
  • To mobilize five hundred new ministers — the Nicholson-Mitchell 500 — by 2025.

In the names of those who gave

Dr. Roy S. Nicholson

Roy Stephen Nicholson came to Wesleyan Methodist College in 1918 at the age of 15 to study for the ministry. That was the start of 75 years of unparalleled service to God and the Wesleyan Church.

He rose through church leadership to become the first and only full-time president of the Wesleyan Methodist Church where, in a dozen years, he literally made today's Wesleyan Church possible.

Following his presidency, Dr. Nicholson continued his service with nine years as Chair of the Religion Department at his alma mater, and 25 more in pastoral ministry.

He once asked God to allow him to "touch the lives of 100 ministerial students." Years later, as he was about to open his files to see if he had done so, the Lord spoke to him, saying, “No need to count. I'm keeping score.”

Dr. Nicholson died in the faith on March 2, 1993. Although he never actually opened the files to check, we know God granted Roy Nicholson's request.

He touched the lives of a hundred students — and hundreds of others — many hundreds of times over.

Dr. Virgil A. Mitchell

When today's Wesleyan Church was created in 1968, two of the denomination's first four general superintendents were alumni of what is now SWU. One of them was Virgil Mitchell.

After graduating from Wesleyan Methodist College — an event made possible by his being the first-ever beneficiary of a federal work-study program at the school — he married his college sweetheart, was “Dad” to three children, served as pastor and teacher, became conference president and general superintendent of the Wesleyan Methodist Church.

Five years later he was elected general superintendent of the Wesleyan Church as we know it today, and Dr. Mitchell served the general church for 16 more before retiring in 1984 at age 70. He then was named general superintendent emeritus.

Impressive, indeed, but it wasn't supposed to happen that way. Dr. Mitchell was elected president of the college in 1968, but general conference delegates hadn't read the script. They re-elected him to the church's highest office, making him "the best president we never had."

Many decades ago, on his graduation from Six Mile High School, young Virgil was voted “most studious, courteous, and talented.”

He spent a lifetime proving them right.