Because David F. Bittle and Christopher C. Baughman, both Lutheran pastors, recognized the need to educate the young men of the rural frontier, they founded in 1842 the institution which was to become Roanoke College. Located near Staunton, Virginia, and named the Virginia Institute, it was chartered in 1845 and renamed the Virginia Collegiate Institute.
Realizing the advantage of having the school at a center of activity, the two men moved it to Salem in 1847. In 1853, the Virginia Legislature granted the charter that raised the school to college status, and the trustees changed its name to Roanoke College.
Today Roanoke is the center of learning for its 2000 students, a place where tradition and educational innovation meet. Excellence and creativity are the criteria by which Roanoke evaluates its academic programs. Careers of alumni and the respected standing of the College provide a means for measuring the quality of the education offered by Roanoke College. Every area of interest and specialization is represented among the College’s alumni: the arts, athletics, business, religion, education, government, industry, journalism, law, medicine, the military, and public service.