Saddleseat Horses and riders on WWU campus

William Woods to mark 50th anniversary of establishment of the nation’s first four-year bachelor’s degree in Equestrian Science

Commemoration to include black-tie gala, open house tours of the EQS barns and Center for Equine Medicine, discussion panel

It has already been a year of making history at William Woods University (WWU) during 2023. This week, the University will commemorate another groundbreaking moment in its illustrious past – the 50th anniversary of the establishment of a four-year degree in Equestrian Science – with a series of activities on campus.

When the new four-year bachelor’s degree in Equestrian Science debuted at WWU, it was the first-ever such degree in higher education in the U.S. This Friday and Saturday, The Woods is hosting “A Celebration of 50 Years of Equestrian Science at William Woods University” to mark the milestone.

“A half-century of excellence and leadership in the Equine industry is something we take great pride in,” said Dr. Jeremy Moreland, President of William Woods. “Over these past 50 years, William Woods has forged a remarkable legacy in the industry, with our graduates serving in it in virtually every capacity. We are excited to come together with alumni and supporters of our EQS program this week to celebrate this amazing program and milestone.”

The EQS program at WWU is unique in higher education as four seats (Hunter/Jumper, Western, Dressage and Saddle Seat) are taught, and students receive both hands-on industry experience at the Center for Equine Medicine and frequent opportunities to show in the industry. The EQS faculty are stewards in developing the next generation of leaders for the Equestrian industry and adjacent fields.

“It is such an honor to help prepare students for a career and a life with horses,” said Erin Cardea, Dean of the School of Equestrian Studies. “All of the faculty at William Woods, many of whom are alumni of the program themselves, are prominent members of different sectors of the horse industry. Their combined wealth of knowledge and experience make the academic program one of the best in the country.”

Graduates of the EQS program at William Woods can be found in literally every corner of the industry, including serving as professional horse trainers, riding instructors, clinicians and horse show judges, Equine sales representatives, college professors, recreational riding program instructors, boarding facility owners, breed association employees or as part of the equestrian media. WWU students have also captured hundreds of championships at horse shows around the country for decades.

Activities this week include:

Friday, October 6

4 p.m. – Borrowed Horsemanship Book sneak peak with author Linda McClaren Parkhurst, Dulany Auditorium

5-9 p.m. – First Fridays At The Woods. Live music, drinks, vendors and yard games, Cook Ampitheatre

7 p.m. – Equestrian Trivia Night, Aldridge Center

Saturday, October 7

10 a.m. – EQS faculty meet and greet, Aldridge Center

11 a.m. – Luncheon and equestrian industry panel, Aldridge Center

1-3 p.m. – Open houses, UPHA Riding Arena and Center For Equine Medicine

5-6 p.m. – EQS Showcase and Cocktail Hour, UPHA Riding Arena

6-9 p.m. – “The Mane Event Gala,” Tucker Dining Hall

This week’s Celebration of 50 Years of Equestrian Science at WWU comes during a year where the University has already made history multiple times. In May, the University announced the establishment of its first-ever Ph.D. program, a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership, plus the addition of intercollegiate football for the first time in its history. And the Fall semester saw the enrollment of the largest incoming class of undergraduates ever at William Woods, with 456 new students, including 298 residential and 158 online students.