Bluefield University in the News


by | Feb 3, 2012

Students at Bluefield College now have access to even more financial aid, thanks to the generosity of alumnus Dr. John H. Sproles.

A native of Pocahontas, Virginia, who now lives in Daleville, Virginia, Dr. Sproles recently established the Alvah Vernon and Bertha Mae Sproles Endowed Memorial Scholarship in honor of his parents and as a means to support students just like him.

“My hope is that this scholarship will offer advantages to students in the area where I grew up,” said Dr. Sproles, who attended Pocahontas High School before enrolling at Bluefield College, “and it’s particularly important to me that it benefit students who otherwise may have difficulty obtaining their educational goals.”

While a student at BC, Dr. Sproles studied biology in preparation for medical college. He also was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. After BC, he attended the University of Richmond and the Medical College of Virginia, before being called to serve in World War II.

After the war, Dr. Sproles came back to southwest Virginia to practice general medicine. He later returned to the Medical College of Virginia to take a residency in obstetrics and gynecology, before opening an OB/GYN practice in Bluefield, West Virginia. His career also includes medical practice in California. He retired from medicine in 1985 and returned to live again in southwest Virginia.

His parents, the late Alvah Vernon and Bertha Mae Sproles, for whom the Bluefield College scholarship is named, were lifelong residents of Pocahontas. Alvah Sproles worked for the Pocahontas Fuel Company, where he eventually became president. He was also an active lobbyist for legislation related to mine safety, compensation insurance, and hospitalization for employees of the mining industry. In addition, before his death in 1979, he served as a consultant and bank director.

“He had many good characteristics that made him loved and respected by all who knew him,” said Dr. Sproles about his father. “He will always be remembered for his benevolence, kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness for others.”

Bertha Sproles was a strong supporter of her husband’s interest and an active civic leader. In fact, she remained involved in community activities in Pocahontas until her death in 1993 at the age of 102.

The Sproles Memorial Scholarship is designed to help students from southwest Virginia or southern West Virginia, “who are of good moral character and who are serious and dedicated to their education.” The scholarship is an endowed scholarship fund, which means it and the tribute to the Sproles will last forever.

“With endowed scholarships, the seed gifts are invested, and earnings from that principal are made available as scholarships,” said BC’s Annette Tabor, associate vice president for advancement. “The original seed or principal amount remains indefinitely, and annual scholarship gifts are given as a tribute to the Sproles forever.”

For information about the availability of Sproles Scholarship funds or details on how to establish your own endowed scholarship at Bluefield College, please call 276-326-4211, email [email protected], or visit the BC web site at

“It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Sproles in setting up this scholarship in memory of his parents,” said Tabor. “We are very blessed to have alumni, like Dr. Sproles, who understand the importance of giving back in order to help young men and women meet their potential.”

Bluefield University

[email protected]276.326.4212

Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

How long is a semester?

  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

Is there an orientation?

  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

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Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


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