Monday, May 25, 2020

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! Last weekend on what would have been Commencement Saturday, we made it official and welcomed our graduates to the rank of alumni. A virtual Commencement celebration video was emailed to all students on May 16 at 11 a.m. (the original time of the actual ceremony) and posted to our University social media. It was a privilege to congratulate these graduates, share a special message, and confer their degrees. View the video here and the full list of graduates here
 
The Virginia Wesleyan University Class of 2020 will always be special to us and will be remembered fondly, serving as an inspiration for so many Marlins to come. They have made their mark on VWU history and in our hearts. We look forward to hosting a fitting tribute to these graduates on campus in December.
 
Additionally, I am pleased to share that a Virginia-specific commencement celebration is being developed by Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam in partnership with Virginia Public Media. "Virginia Graduates Together" will premiere on May 29 at 5 p.m. on Virginia PBS stations and Facebook LIVE. During this 30-minute program broadcast, accomplishments and experiences of Virginia's remarkable class will be featured. The Governor has asked you to include the hashtag #GraduateTogetherVA in your social posts and with their permission they could be in the broadcast.
 
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The COVID-19 crisis didn't prevent us from recognizing outstanding achievements of our students. With a good bit of creativity by Student Activities and Athletics, their annual awards celebrations moved to a virtual format.
 
"The Bobbies" Student Leadership Awards were hosted virtually by the Office of Student Activities. It was such a pleasure to take part and recognize Taylor "Tip" Major as the recipient of the annual President's Award and Dazjae Johnson with the Wesleyan Spirit Award. The President's Award recognizes a senior who has demonstrated exceptional character, scholarship, service and leadership during his or her time at VWU. The Wesleyan Spirit Award celebrates a student who lives by the tenets of the Wesleyan Creed and is a positive reflection on the University community. Congratulations again to Tip, Dazjae, and each Marlin who was recognized for their impressive achievements and significant contributions to Virginia Wesleyan University. Watch "The Bobbies" here.
 
"The Bobs" are Virginia Wesleyan University's student-athlete awards and were held virtually and shared incrementally this year. I had the honor of virtually presenting this year's Norfolk Sports Club Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete Award to Hanna Hull of Virginia Wesleyan Softball. In my 30 years as a college president, I have never seen a student-athlete as dominant in any sport, on any level, at any school. A full list of all award recipients can be found here. Congratulations to all!
 
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A virtual Commissioning Ceremony for the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program was held last Saturday morning. Congratulations to the two Virginia Wesleyan University cadets who were commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army: Matthew R. Improta (Corps of Engineers) and Zachary A. Raymond (Infantry). The Marlin Company was formalized on campus in 1998 and operates as part of the ODU Monarch Battalion. Through elective classes and field training, students receive valuable tools, training, and leadership experiences that lead to military service and are assets in any career field. Watch the ceremony here.
 
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Last week I participated in my final meeting as Chair of the Climate Leadership Network. I served in that capacity for two years and it was an incredibly enriching, eye-opening, and meaningful experience.
 
I am proud to be a longtime member of the group with my involvement dating back to 2007. As I served on the Second Nature Board of Directors ex-officio as the Chair, I was pleased to recently be elected to a three-year term on the Second Nature Board at the conclusion of my CLN service this summer.
 
VWU is a member of a select group of 440 institutions nationwide in the Climate Leadership Network, composed of colleges and universities taking action on climate and preparing students through research and education to solve the challenges of the 21st century. Learn more about the Climate Leadership Network and Second Nature here.

Our institutional mission embraces social responsibility and participatory citizenship as essential parts of an undergraduate curriculum in the classroom, on campus, and in the community. With our commitment to the vitality of this program, we will continue to advance the cause of sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Virginia Wesleyan recognizes our responsibility to protect and enhance the environment and its biodiversity for the health of local and global ecosystems, future generations, and ourselves. 

As a learning community located in the rich and unique ecosystems of Coastal Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we are committed to promoting and developing the next generation of environmental stewards. The ongoing sustainability efforts of the University reflect a larger commitment to ethical conduct and social responsibility through environmental stewardship and education. As an affirmation of this commitment and to ensure this remains a priority for the University under all leadership (current and future), our sustainability team has developed the Environmental Guiding Principles of Virginia Wesleyan University. The guidelines were approved by the Board of Trustees at their spring meeting.

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As I shared last week, the original Fine Arts Building will be renamed "Susan Beverly Hall" in honor of alumna Susan Beverly '72--longtime benefactor and friend of Virginia Wesleyan. Today I am pleased to share with you additional charitable namings of facilities within the building: The Robert G. Cabell III and Maude Morgan Cabell Foundation Visual Arts Studios; The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation Ensemble Rehearsal Room; Alison J. and Ella W. Parsons Fund Fine Arts Entrance & Lobby; and the James A. Hixon Music Studios.

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Each May, directly following Commencement on most campuses, a private college/university in Virginia hosts the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia annual meeting with the presidents of independent colleges. This year's meeting was originally to be hosted by Virginia Wesleyan on our campus, but was held as a Zoom Virtual Meeting.  Next year's annual in-person meeting of the PCAB/SCHEV will be hosted on our campus on the Monday following graduation.  

The meeting provided an opportunity for presidents to discuss the status of Virginia Tuition Assistance Grants (VTAG), COVID-19 relief and higher education plans to re-open. 

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We're pleased to have Joann Renn back on campus. In addition to providing interim leadership for the athletics department, she will serve as a member of the President's Cabinet and will lead the search for a new Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. We welcome her back to campus and are grateful for her willingness to return on short notice to provide important leadership during this unique time.


ET CETERA

University Signs Sponsor and Service Agreements
I am pleased to announce that we have recently completed negotiations with several contract providers:
  • A new five-year sponsorship commitment with Cox Communications in support of The Excellence Fund and intercollegiate athletics. Cox is our University internet and telecommunications provider.
  • A new five-year agreement with Pepsi that includes several sponsorships, donations to the scholarship fund, and product support for intercollegiate athletics. Pepsi is the exclusive beverage provider for our dining service and campus.
  • A new contract with the athletics website manager SideArm Sports. A transition to the new provider will occur this summer. SideArm is the leading provider for collegiate sports websites with over 1,100 colleges and universities, conferences, and high schools utilizing their product. SideArm offers user-friendly features and engaging experiences for our fans.
  • Extended our agreement with Boxcast for livestreaming all events on the VWU Digital Broadcasting Network. This includes convocations, graduation, special events, and Marlin sports. Boxcast offers an easy-to-use interface and on-demand features for fans to navigate and rewatch their favorite Marlin events.
TCA Virtual Summer Camp
Tidewater Collegiate Academy at Virginia Wesleyan University is offering virtual summer camp programs to develop 21st-century skills with a specific emphasis on service learning. All programs are supervised by licensed teachers with expert guests including local artists, scientists, lawyers, professors, and engineers. Learn more here.
AROUND TOWN AND ACROSS CAMPUS

The plaza area surrounding The Beacon has been named Gamble Plaza in memory of the late VWU Senior Vice President Mort Gamble. The Gamble Plaza plaque was installed recently in recognition of his longtime leadership and friendship. Dr. Gamble remains in our thoughts and is remembered so fondly by all who knew him.
 
Adjacent to The Beacon, a refresh of Monumental Chapel and Beazley Recital Hall is in progress. 

It has been enjoyable to see the continuous progress on Oxford Village at Coastal 61 each day. The complex is nearing completion and recent photos can be found here. For more information, visit Coastal61.com.
 
Dr. Brian Kurisky, Director of Civic Engagement and Service Learning/Chief Diversity Officer, is settling into his new office in The Lighthouse (Clarke Hall). The relocation of Brian's office to The Lighthouse places him adjacent to the three other pillar programs of the University--study away, undergraduate research, and career development.
 
Dr. Craig Wansink, Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Robert Nusbaum Center, is pictured here in front of the Center, featuring new signage.
STAY CURRENT ON VWU NEWS AND FEATURES

REFLECTIONS
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
 
PRESIDENTIAL EVENTS
I invite you to stay updated on these activities here.
 
CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez
Facebook: @ScottDMillerprez
Instagram: @prezscottmiller
Flickr: Scott D. Miller
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email

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In closing and on this Memorial Day, I pause to reflect on those who have lost their lives defending our country, how valuable our freedoms are, and the freedoms we still need to improve.

Friday, May 22, 2020

#GraduateTogetherVA

Crossing some t’s and dotting some i’s ...congratulations again to our newest VWU grads! 

Thursday, May 21, 2020

VWU Launches Culinary Certificate Program

Pleased to announce a new partnership between Virginia Wesleyan University and Rouxbethe leader in online culinary trainingto provide two online, open enrollment culinary training programs designed to provide students with the technique and foundation to embark on a career in culinary arts. The partnership is part of the continuing education offerings through VWU Global Campus and joins the University’s other non-credit course options. Learn more here: https://bit.ly/3cSiFYT

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Gamble Plaza

The plaza area surrounding The Beacon has been named Gamble Plaza in memory of the late VWU Senior Vice President Dr. Mort Gamble. The Gamble Plaza plaque was installed today in recognition of his longtime leadership and friendship. Dr. Gamble remains in our thoughts and is remembered so fondly by me and all who knew him.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Nota Bene: Weekly Update



The spring meeting of the Virginia Wesleyan University Board of Trustees was held virtually last Wednesday. We thank Board Chair John Malbon for his strong leadership always, and we are particularly grateful for it during this unprecedented time.
I am especially pleased to share that the Board approved the naming of two campus facilities in honor of longtime benefactors and friends. The recently renovated main entrance will be named "The Sue Benton Birdsong Entrance Gate at Virginia Wesleyan University" in memory of the late Sue Birdsong, wife of Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong, and the original Fine Arts Building will be renamed "Susan Beverly Hall" in honor of alumna Susan Beverly '72. We look forward to adding appropriate signage in the near future.
The meeting opened with a special presentation by the Emergency Response Team with an update and discussion on the COVID-19 crisis. The Board expressed appreciation to Maynard Schaus, Keith Moore, Jim Cooper, and Jason Seward for their "tireless leadership during these challenging times."
The Board heard reports and approved actions from the Committee on Trusteeship as well as the Audit, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, Investment, Advancement, and Enrollment Committees.
Policy and procedure actions included:

  • Re-elected Officers of the Board of Trustees for 2020-21.
  • Re-elected the Board of Trustees Class of 2020 to a new three-year term.
  • Expressed appreciation to Trustee Ron Kramer, who was named to Emeritus status.
  • Expressed appreciation to Troy DeLawrence '94, retiring Chair of the VWU Alumni Council.
  • Recognized Rob Kohler '93, the new Alumni Council Chair, who is ex-officio on the Board.
  • Affirmed operational actions by University leadership regarding the COVID-19 crisis.
  • 2020-21 updates to the Bylaws of Virginia Wesleyan University to include VWU Global Campus.
  • Re-affirmed the Virginia Wesleyan University Mission Statement.
  • Approved the 2020-21 Staff Policy and Procedure Manual.
  • Approved the 2020-21 Faculty Handbook.
  • Approved the 2020-21 Organizational Chart.
  • Approved the 2020-21 Academic Catalog.
  • Approved the 2020-21 Online Degree and Graduate Catalog.
  • Approved the 2020-21 Student Handbook.
  • Approved the updated Athletics Mission Statement.
  • Approved the 2020-21 Student-Athlete Handbook.
  • Approved the 2021-21 Athletic Department Policy and Procedure Handbook.
  • Accepted for the record the University's NCAA Campus Sexual Violence Attestation.
  • Approved the Class of 2020 graduates.
  • Affirmed Emeritus status for Trustee Ron Kramer and faculty members Michael Hall (English) and Jayne Sullivan (Education).
  • Approved the "Environmental Guiding Principles of Virginia Wesleyan University."
  • Approved naming the entrance (Sue Benton Birdsong Entrance Gate), the original Fine Arts Building (Susan Beverly Hall), and rooms and studios inside Beverly Hall, in recognition of University benefactors.
  • Approved the final executed LUJ-VWU Global (Japan campus) Agreement and entered it into the record.
  • Accepted the revised 2019-20 budget as presented (with significant revisions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis).
  • On recommendation of the President, deferred action on a 2020-21 budget until June.
We are grateful for our Board of Trustees and for their continued enthusiasm and commitment. They are a critical asset to the success of Virginia Wesleyan University, its students and alumni.
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Congratulations to our graduates! As I shared above, the Board of Trustees approved the Class of 2020 at last week's meeting and though not in the fashion we had originally planned, we made it official on May 16. A virtual Commencement celebration video was emailed to all students on Saturday at 11 a.m. and posted to our University social media. It was a privilege to congratulate these graduates, share a special message, and confer their degrees. View the video here.

The Virginia Wesleyan University Class of 2020 will always be special to us and will be remembered fondly, serving as an inspiration for so many Marlins to come. They have made their mark on VWU history and in our hearts. 


ET CETERA



VWU Goes Remote: Professor Bryson Mortensen
Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Music Bryson Mortensen shares his interesting experience with the shift to remote delivery of instruction, and what it means for choral ensembles. Read more here.
Summer Sessions
Summer Sessions begin this week and there is still time to register. Whether you're behind in coursework or planning to graduate early, enrolling in summer courses at VWU gives you the opportunity to accomplish your goals in a cost-effective way. Catch up or get ahead through VWU. We offer five terms throughout the summer and you can learn more here.
Virtual Campus Visits
We've created a wide array of "virtual visit opportunities" for prospective students and their families to learn more about Virginia Wesleyan. These can be found here and include a Virtual Marlins Day Open House, Virtual Campus Visit, Freshman Virtual Information Session, Transfer Student Virtual Information Session, Virtual Athletics Open House, Batten Honors College Virtual Information Session, Meet a Marlin Student Videos, Faculty Videos, and a Message from the Director of Financial Aid.
AROUND TOWN AND ACROSS CAMPUS


It was such an honor to present this year's Norfolk Sports Club Outstanding Senior Student-Athlete Award to Hanna Hull of Virginia Wesleyan Softball. In my 30 years as a college president, I have never seen a student-athlete as dominant in any sport, on any level, at any school. Congratulations to Hanna, who is not only an outstanding athlete, but also an amazing student, strong leader, and extraordinary person. View the virtual presentation and learn about Hanna's many accomplishments here.
Progress is still going strong on our new TowneBank Arena. Thanks to Inside Business for this feature on our new space made possible by our good friends at TowneBank.
I participated in a discussion on higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a virtual series hosted by the Coastal Virginia Chamber of Commerce. It was nice to connect with fellow West Virginia Wesleyan College alumnus Gus Godsey who is now the director of the newly-formed CVCC. Watch it here.
Last month VWU's Dr. Benjamin Dobrin, Dean of the Watts School of Professional Studies, partnered with our good friend Chris Stuart, Vice President of Top Guard Security in Norfolk. They presented "COVID-19 and the Private Security Industry" via Zoom at the ASIS Hampton Roads Chapter Meeting. The recent adoption of Temperature Scans to the region's various workforce scenarios and broader issues of Public Health were discussed. 

In case you missed it, Virginia Wesleyan will welcome three new faculty members for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. Joining the Marlin family in August is Abdullah Al-Alaj as Assistant Professor of Computer Science, and Drs. Claire Berube '83 and Rebecca John, both with the rank of Assistant Professor of Education. Read more here.

Our newest issue of the Wesleyan Review is available. Read about the latest VWU news and events here.
STAY CURRENT ON VWU NEWS AND FEATURES
REFLECTIONS
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
PRESIDENTIAL EVENTS
I invite you to stay updated on these activities here.
CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez
Facebook: @ScottDMillerprez
Instagram: @prezscottmiller
Flickr: Scott D. Miller
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email

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Have a great week!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Congratulations, Class of 2020!

Today we pay tribute to our graduates and welcome them to the ranks of alumni. In recognition of this significant milestone, I hope you enjoy this special Commencement celebration video with a message from me and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maynard Schaus. View it here: https://youtu.be/Zp_F8h3Npgo


The Wesleyan Review: May 15, 2020

Our newest issue of the Wesleyan Review is now available. Read about the latest #VWU news and events here: https://conta.cc/3bzPU1x

Friday, May 15, 2020

VWU's Hanna Hull Named CoSIDA Academic All-District Honoree

Congratulations to scholar-athlete Hanna Hull of the Virginia Wesleyan Softball team on being named a 2020 CoSIDA Academic All-District First-Team Honoree. Read more here: vwuathletics.com/sports/sball/2019-20/releases/20200514ot80xg

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Virtual Series Hosted by CVCC

Participated in a discussion on higher ed during the COVID-19 pandemic as part of a virtual series hosted by the Coastal VA Chamber of Commerce . It was nice to connect with fellow West Virginia Wesleyan College alumnus Gus Godsey who is now the Director of the newly-formed CVCC. Watch here: https://bit.ly/2T7TlpR

Welcome to the Marlin Family

Pleased to share that we will welcome three new faculty members to Virginia Wesleyan University for the 2020-2021 Academic Year. Joining the VWU family in August is Abdullah Al-Alaj as Assistant Professor of Computer Science, and Drs. Clair Berube '83 and Rebecca John, both with the rank of Assistant Professor of Education. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3cJSJPf