Friday, April 20, 2018

Nota Bene: Tina Hill Appointed as New Virginia Wesleyan Athletics Director

I am pleased to share that Virginia Wesleyan University has recruited one of the most experienced and respected athletic administrators in the NCAA Division III to serve as the successor to Joanne Renn, our retiring Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Tina Hill, who is currently in her 10th year as athletics director at Randolph College and also chair of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Board of Directors, will join the Marlin family this summer as Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. In this role, she will also serve as a member of the President's Cabinet.

Tina has spent the past 28 years in the field of NCAA Division III athletics. In addition to Randolph, she has worked at Cornell College, California Lutheran University, and Elizabethtown College. As the Randolph College athletics director, Tina coordinates the daily operations and long-term objectives of the school’s 19-sport intercollegiate athletics program.

Prior to Randolph, she served for five years as the director of athletics at Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa. As the college’s first full-time athletics director, she was responsible for the complete administration of 17 NCAA varsity sports and the intramural program. She served as the associate director of athletics at California Lutheran University from 1997-2002, assisting with the administration of the university’s 15-sport athletics program. She worked at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania from 1990-1997, beginning her career as an intern before eventually serving as the associate director of athletics and as a staff instructor in physical education during her final four years at the college.

Tina received her B.S. in physical education from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and her M.S. in sports management from the University of Richmond. As an undergraduate at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, she was a two-time, first-team, all-conference volleyball player and earned academic honors including The Chancellor's Leadership Award, Outstanding Senior Student and Outstanding Female Athlete Award.

She is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and has served on various NCAA and conference committees—including a term as the chair of the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Committee. She currently serves on the NCAA Division III Financial Aid Committee and, as I mentioned earlier, as chair of the ODAC Board of Directors.

I wish to thank Mort Gamble (Senior Vice President), David Black (Executive-in-Residence), and Joanne Renn for their assistance with this important search. With 22 sports and a distinguished record of academic and athletic achievements by our students, Virginia Wesleyan looks forward, under Tina's leadership, to building on a prominent list of athletic successes and facility improvements in recent years. Committed to the excellent tradition of Division III student-athletes on campus and within the ODAC, we welcome Tina as our newest Marlin and an accomplished professional in this significant area of campus life.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Nota Bene: Virginia Wesleyan Athletics Director Joanne Renn to Retire

It is with mixed emotions that I share that Joanne Renn, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics for the past 11 years, will retire at the end of the current academic year. A good friend and colleague, Joanne played an instrumental role in the implementation of several important initiatives during my early tenure at Virginia Wesleyan. She is the ranking female administrator at the University and serves on the President’s Cabinet.

I am particularly grateful for her active leadership in the expansion, updates, and improvements of our athletic facilities. Birdsong Field, the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center, development of the outdoor athletic complex (including relocation of The Alpine Tower), upgrades and naming of Kenneth R. Perry Field, the new East Gate entrance and Marlin Way, and the forthcoming TowneBank Park and Broyles Field have all been made possible with her assistance. She also was instrumental in the initiation of men’s and women’s swimming, the Harlaxton College (England) relationship, and the establishment of the Batten Honors College.

At the time of her appointment as athletic director in 2007, Joanne was the first female AD at a co-educational institution in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC). 2018 marks Joanne’s 25th year as a coach and administrator at VWU, where she currently oversees 22 intercollegiate sports programs and a staff of more than 55 coaches, administrators, and support personnel.

Virginia Wesleyan’s athletic program has seen many successes under Joanne’s leadership. During her tenure, the men's basketball team won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2006 and the following year returned to the championship game; the women's soccer team made it to the final four in 2006 after winning the ODAC tournament for the first time in program history; Evan Cox was the Individual NCAA National Champion for men's golf in 2016; the Virginia Wesleyan softball team won the NCAA Division III National Championship in 2017 with a national record 54 wins; and senior Marissa Coombs is a four-time All-American in cross country and track and field.

Joanne has held a variety of positions, including president of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. She was instrumental in securing VWU bids to host NCAA tournament games in women’s basketball and field hockey, and she has served as tournament director for countless post-season events. She has served on numerous state and national committees, including service with the NCAA, the Board of Directors of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, the Hampton Roads Hall of Fame Committee, the Virginia Beach Sports Grant Committee, and the Hampton Roads Sports Facility Authority.

Joanne began her career at VWU as the head women's tennis coach in 1995, a position she held through 1999. She also served VWU as the head women's basketball coach from 1997 through 2003. She is a former teacher and head girls' basketball coach at Norfolk Academy, where her teams compiled a 250-128 record and won two conference championships and two tournament titles. At Norfolk Academy, she was the former girls' tennis coach where she led her teams to a 107-10 dual-match record and seven consecutive Tidewater Conference of Independent Schools championships.

Joanne is an accomplished wood-wind musician, an avid hiker and climber who has ascended 48 North American peaks, including Mount Rainier, Mount Hood, and the highest point in the USA, Mount Whitney; she has backpacked the entire Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California and the Colorado Trail; and she completed her trek through the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) in northwestern Spain in June 2013. She hiked the Camino del Norte in the summer of 2015 and England's Coast to Coast in 2016, and she attended the Harlaxton Summer Conference in Grantham, England, in the summer of 2016.

Joanne received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Old Dominion University, where she was one of six original female athletic scholarship recipients, competing in basketball and tennis, and received her master's degree in human resource management from Troy University.

A search for Joanne's successor has been ongoing for several months and an announcement of a new executive director will be made tomorrow. Please join me in expressing to her our appreciation for her years of service to our institution along with our warmest good wishes as she embarks on this new phase of her life.

43nd Annual President's Review and Awards Ceremony

It was an honor to attend the 43nd Annual President's Review and Awards Ceremony today for the U.S. Army ROTC Monarch Battalion at Old Dominion University. We were proud to be there for the recognition of several outstanding Virginia Wesleyan students. Pictured (from left): Amy Rush, Advisor to the Army ROTC Marlin Detachment, Rolanda Taylor, Zachary Raymond, Gavin Fry, Joseph Fairbanks, Alexander Gallant, Jake Morgan, and Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs.

Nota Bene: Celebrating Employee Milestones

This morning we will hold an Employee Appreciation Breakfast honoring 39 members of our community who have arrived at special milestones in their Virginia Wesleyan careers—from those who have reached a decade of service to those who have been here for 30 years. Congratulations to these employees, listed below, and thank you for all that you do for Virginia Wesleyan every day. We look forward to celebrating you this morning!

30 Years of Service

Elaine Aird '07, Accounts Payable Coordinator
Dwight Bolling, Adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology
Karen Hill, Media Coordinator
Doug Kennedy, Professor of Recreation and Leisure Studies and Chair of the Recreation and Leisure Studies Department
Michele Obenour '94, Administrative Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs
Deborah Otis, Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Interdivisional Major Program
George Stone, Applied Music Specialist and Accompanist, Piano

25 Years of Service
Russell Barone, Cook
Pamela Paramore '96, Coordinator of the Evening and Weekend Program
Ehsan Salek, Professor of Management, Business, and Economics
Craig Wansink, Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, Professor of Religious Studies, and Chair of the Religious Studies Department

20 Years of Service
Kirsty Green, Applied Music Specialist, Violin
David Macedo, Head Men's Basketball Coach
Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost and Professor of Biology
Steve Sparks, Maintenance Mechanic
Ginny Videll '91, Assistant Director of the Physical Plant for Conferences and Special Events

15 Years of Service
Terry Critser, Systems Administrator/Helpdesk Supervisor
Stephany Dunmyer, Assistant Athletic Director and Head Women's Basketball Coach
Paul Ewell '89, Batten Associate Professor of Management, Business, and Economics, Chair of the MBE Department, and Director of the MBA Program
Scott Liverman, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Chair of the Sociology/Criminal Justice Department
Andre Marshall, Utility
Margaret Reese, Thomas R. Fanney Distinguished Associate Professor of Mathematics and Director of the General Studies Program
Ronda Rothwell, Cashier
Carlyn Vincent St. John, Adjunct Instructor of Recreation & Leisure Studies

10 Years of Service
Larry Barnard, Grounds Service Worker
Bill Bennett, Lead Maintenance Service Worker
Murrell Brooks, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Wynter Edwards '00, Adjunct Faculty, Sociology and Criminal Justice
Ben Haller, Associate Professor of Classics, Chair of the Classics Department, and Chair of the Comprehensive Liberal Studies Program
Rebecca Hooker, Batten Associate Professor of English and Director of First Year Experience
Maury Howard, Batten Associate Professor of Chemistry
Susan Larkin, Professor of English
Denise Makowski, Adjunct Faculty, MBE
David Nieves, Campus Safety Partnership, Virginia Beach Police Officer
Shannon Ponack, Writing Center Instructor
Tamika Ricks, Cook
Lena Rudolph, Cook
Malleri Santiago, Data Records Manager
Alvina Wallace, Housekeeper

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Nota Bene: Justine L. Nusbaum Lecture

I write today to invite each of you to attend our annual Justine L. Nusbaum Lecture, sponsored by the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom. In this year’s presentation, esteemed author and professor Dr. Crystal Fleming will illustrate why Americans of all ethnicities are ignorant about race. “How to Be Less Stupid About Race: Racism and Anti-racism in Our Classrooms and Communities” will take place next Monday, April 23, from 7-8 p.m. in the East Dining Room of Boyd Dining Center. The event is free and open to the public, and I am pleased to be hosting a dessert reception following the event.

The lecture will preview Dr. Fleming’s forthcoming book, How to Be Less Stupid About Race: The Essential Guide to Confronting White Supremacy, highlighting how institutions and patterns of thinking systemically reinforce racial ignorance on all sides of issues. It will show how, if we are to be “less stupid about race,” we need to take concrete steps toward deeper understanding. Dr. Fleming is an associate professor of sociology and Africana studies at SUNY Stony Brook. She is an award-winning writer, speaker and educator committed to empowering individuals and communities with the conceptual tools needed to understand, confront and challenge white supremacy.

Earlier in the day on April 23, Dr. Fleming will lead a workshop for VWU students, co-sponsored by the CSRF, the President's Council on Inclusive Community, and the Office of Student Activities. “How to Be Less Stupid About Race: A Workshop for Students of All Backgrounds” will examine how U.S. citizens of all racial and ethnic backgrounds are socialized to be ignorant about race. It will offer practical steps for removing barriers created by assumptions and misconceptions and provide a roadmap for building a more civil and inclusive community. This event will take place in GESC 155 from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Robert C. Nusbaum, Founding Fellow of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, and his brother, V.H. Nusbaum, established the Justine L. Nusbaum Endowed Lectureship in honor of their mother and her lifelong volunteer service and dedication to humanitarian causes. For more information on this event and other programming coordinated by the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, visit, call 757.455.3129, or email

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Photo Gallery: Spring Alumni Weekend

Great friends, great events, and great fun at Spring Alumni Weekend! View the photo gallery:

Nota Bene: Omicron Delta Kappa

Earlier this semester, a tapping ceremony was held for those selected for membership in Omicron Delta Kappa (ΟDΚ). This national leadership honor society recognizes not only academic achievement but also leadership across five phases of campus life: scholarship; athletics; community service, social or religious activities, and campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; creative and performing arts. I was proud to attend the spring ΟDΚ induction ceremony in Pearce Hospitality Suite on April 11 (view photo).

Virginia Wesleyan's Circle of ODK was installed on April 5, 1981. Membership in this society is regarded as one of the highest collegiate honors that can be awarded to an individual. In order to be selected, one must be in the top 35 percent of students on their respective campuses and hold a leadership role in one of the five phases of campus life mentioned above. The spring 2018 inductees join an impressive list of current ΟDΚ members made up of VWU Board of Trustees members, faculty, staff, and students.

Congratulations to the Omicron Delta Kappa inductees for spring 2018:

Peyton Auxt                           William Harrell
Frances Barnes                     Hayley Heath
Isabella Blackney                   Nicole Holmes
Taylor Cain                            Wade Jernigan
Lafayette-Chase Campbell    Francesca Lanuza
Tiffany Cariker                       Stephanie McDermott
Dale Cawthorne                     Amber McDonald
Luke Chiasson                       Christopher McTague
Rachel Connolly                     Austin Obenour
Riley Conrad                          Emilee Pierson
Iyana Downie                         Kirsten Powell
Dr. Steven Emmanuel            Colleen Smith
Darlene Flucker                     Tayler Wilson
Shae Geary                           Ashley Winslow
Alexandra Ghazaleh

Monday, April 16, 2018

Spring Weekend with Alumni Council Leadership

Great to visit during Spring Alumni Weekend with leadership from Virginia Wesleyan's Alumni Council. Pictured with (from left) Troy DeLawrence '93, Vice Chair, Mavis McKenley '11, Chair, and Lori Simpers Harris '94, Executive Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations. We value the Alumni Council’s role in advocating for VWU and offering support for the enrollment and advancement programs of our growing institution. Be on the lookout tomorrow for the full spring weekend photo gallery!

Nota Bene: Spring 2018 Business Conference

Our campus community and guests from the Coastal Virginia region are invited to participate in Virginia Wesleyan University’s student-led business conference April 23-27. “The Marlin Prestige” will feature workshops, presentations, and interactive panels that embrace the spring 2018 theme, “Business Reimagined Through Globalization, Innovation, Leadership, and Diversity.”

The Marlin Prestige represents months of hard work by students in the Virginia Wesleyan business course, “Principles of Management.” Students coordinate all elements of the event, exercising key management skills such as product development, networking, project and financial planning, and more.

Throughout the semester I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with many of our conference participants, including student leaders Julie Manning, Chief Executive Officer, Faith Auad, Chief Operations Officer, and Dylan Ardinger, Chief Marketing Officer. Together with their classmates and Virginia Wesleyan business faculty, this group has worked hard to create a conference that focuses on the importance of globalization, innovation, leadership, and diversity as essential components of a successful business model in today's marketplace.

I am proud to share that among this semester’s guest speakers are Virginia Wesleyan graduate Joe Ruddy '83, Chief Innovation Officer for the Port of Virginia and a member of the University's Corporate Leaders Council, and alumna Sydney Covey '15, Sustainability Program Analyst at Hourigan and recipient of VWU’s 2017 Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award.

They join presenters Chris Stuart, Vice President of Top Guard Security, Dr. Tony Astro, a United States Navy veteran and Founder/CEO of Mvoss Creation LLC, Maxine Williams, Human Resource Manager/Employee Relations Lead at Busch Vacuum Pumps and Systems, Heidi Brinker, '18, Strategic Planner at VisualZen, Inc., Patrick Suttle '19, Public Relations Correspondent for The Marlin Prestige, Douglas Jackson, Assistant Professor of Visual and Performing Arts at Elizabeth City State University, and former Peace Corps volunteers Emily Nuss and Jennifer Jiggetts.

Daily activities will once again include the popular “Shark Tank” presentations, which closely mirror the ABC television series, and presentations by “Information Systems Programs” (ISP) students. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit
The Marlin Prestige webpage.

Many thanks to Dr. Paul Ewell, Batten Associate Professor of Management, Business, and Economics, and all business department faculty and students for hosting this educational event for our community.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Great Turnout for Spring Alumni Weekend

Great weather, great events, great turnout for everything. Kudos to alumni and friends for making this an amazing Virginia Wesleyan University Spring Alumni Weekend. Pictured at the Pig Pickin’ Picnic with Jim Cooper (Vice President for Finance and Administration), Larry Hultgren (Professor of Philosophy), Joanne Renn (Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics), and Mort Gamble (Senior Vice President).