Demolition started today on old Marlins Park — soon to become Broyles Field at TowneBank Park. The new facility will be the home of the two-time defending NCAA National Champion Virginia Wesleyan University softball team in the spring. #VWU #HottestCollegeinCoastalVA #TowneBank
Monday, August 20, 2018
Great to visit with Congressman Bobby Scott at today’s Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce meeting at Hilton Norfolk THE MAIN. He has been such a wonderful supporter and friend to Virginia Wesleyan University for many years.
Nice to visit at lunch today with Gregory DeCinque, Interim President of Tidewater Community College. He came to TCC in July following the retirement of Edna Baehre-Kolovani. Our institutions have been friends and partners for many years.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the annual State of the University address on Friday, August 24. We are excited to welcome our Trustees, faculty, staff, and many friends in person. I invite our students and alumni to attend virtually as it will be live streamed, beginning at 12:15 p.m.
Improvements to Jerry G. Bray, Jr. Village I
I am pleased to announce that plans for improvements to all seven buildings in Bray Village have been finalized and are scheduled to begin in early September. Improvements include full replacement of all shower and bathrooms, painting, and corrective maintenance care.
Starting with Rose Hall, each residential building will be taken offline on a rotating basis for a period of two or three months while upgrades are made. After Rose Hall is completed, attention will turn to Kellam Hall. Students residing in Kellam will be reassigned to Rose to begin to enjoy the enhanced facilities. Similarly, students in Old and Eggleston Halls will move to the most recently completed building as the project progresses. From ceiling to floor, tiles to fixtures, these spaces will have a valuable impact on the student experiences of many of our newest Marlins.
Bray Village is made up of the Birdsong Hall, Aubrey L. Eggleston Commons, Peter D. Pruden Hall (academic building), and four residence halls: Louise W. Eggleston Hall, Abel E. and Clara Eaton Kellam Hall, Margarette Hanes Old Hall, and the Paul Howard Rose Hall.
Construction on a number of projects (all funded with private resources) continues on schedule despite unusually heavy rain the past two months:
- East Gate/Athletic Fields – Marlin Way and the new East Gate entrance/exit to Baker Road were completed in July and available for 24-hour card access.
- Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center – Brick and steel work is progressing and the facility is on schedule for a March opening. Through the generosity of a number of donors, some additional features have been added including expansion of the parking area to include 259 spaces and a lighted, tree-lined, pedestrian/bike path from the DeFord Gate House to the Goode Center and heart of campus. The path will also have a connection to the stands at Birdsong Field.
- Reclamation of Outdoor Fields and Relocation of the Alpine Tower – Over five acres of unused fields were cleared, trenched, piped, graded, and seeded for a wide variety of uses. The Alpine Tower, a joint operational project of VWU and the YMCA, has been relocated from the area adjacent to the new Goode Center, to a more appropriate location in the outdoor athletic complex.
- Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center – Additional work will occur during the next two months, including new equipment, auxiliary storage facility (near the cell tower), and stands (on the west side of the track).
- Birdsong Field – A press box will be added to the stands on the west side of the field.
- The Beacon – Steel work has been completed and sandstone and brick are now being added to the exterior. A late September completion is expected.
- TowneBank Park/Tom and Betty Broyles Field – Work is expected to begin this week. New dugouts, batting cages, and stands and press box will be added over the next three months.
- TowneBank Park Parking Lot – The parking lot, adjacent to Perry Field and Broyles Field, was completed in late June and is fully in use.
Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities satellite office coming to VWU
As many of you may know, the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities (VCIC) works with schools, businesses, and communities to achieve success by addressing prejudices, in all forms, in order to improve academic achievement, increase workplace productivity, and enhance local trust. Through workshops, retreats, and customized programs that raise knowledge, motivation, and skills, VCIC develops leaders who work together to achieve success throughout the Commonwealth.
I am proud to share that this fall, Virginia Wesleyan will become home to VCIC’s first remote office outside of Richmond. The organization is led by a volunteer state board of directors and has local chapters in Lynchburg, Peninsula, Richmond, and Tidewater that serve as advisory committees.
The new VCIC Hampton Roads Office at VWU, located in Graybeal 5 of Allen Village (II), will be staffed by a full-time VCIC Hampton Roads Program Manager who, under the supervision of VCIC President and CEO Jonathan Zur, will develop and maintain community and professional networks across Hampton Roads to inform and implement VCIC’s program work.
VCIC will facilitate several customized programs each year for VWU students, faculty, or staff as part of this new relationship. VCIC helps middle and high school students understand how stereotypes, bigotry, and prejudice negatively affect their schools. It gives college students opportunities to develop leadership techniques and inclusive strategies for their diverse campuses. VCIC provides educational programs, professional development, training, and consultation to enhance workplace cultures.
The University will also receive corporate-level sponsorship at the annual VCIC Tidewater Humanitarian Awards Dinner, which honors individuals and organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. I served as chair of the 2018 VCIC Tidewater Humanitarian Awards Dinner, and in 2017, Dr. Craig Wansink, the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, was honored at the 53rd Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner. In 2001, the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom (CSRF) was recognized by the organization with a Distinguished Merit Citation.
Virginia Wesleyan’s strong relationship with VCIC dates back to 1998 when they became a sponsor of the CSRF’s Nexus Interfaith Dialogue program, a partnership that continues today. Over the years, the VCIC has led diversity training for Virginia Wesleyan freshmen, provided facilitation training for students, faculty, and staff, and this past May, partnered with the CSRF and Muslim communities of Hampton Roads to host a Ramadan Iftar Dinner. CSRF Associate Director Kelly Jackson serves on the VCIC Tidewater Chapter, and has been active with the organization for 20 years.
Gift to fund locker room improvements
I am pleased to share that Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Tassos J. Paphites '79 has made a generous gift to renovate the Men's and Women's Basketball locker rooms in the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Early in our discussion, Tassos communicated a vision to our coaches and me that he hoped to help Virginia Wesleyan create Division I-level locker room facilities. The project is currently underway with a completion date anticipated prior to the fall basketball season. Prozone Athletic has been retained to provide custom, wood lockers with logo graphics and USB ports; wall graphics; white boards, comfortable seating; and custom logo carpet. Additionally, game clocks from Daktronics will be installed in each locker room. Please join me in thanking Tassos, a men's basketball alumnus, and his daughter, Andrea, a women's basketball alumna, for their ongoing support of our basketball programs. We also appreciate the dedication of our basketball coaches, Dave Macedo and Stephany Dunmyer, who have contributed to planning and designing these new facilities.
Maynard Schaus accepted into prominent national leadership program
Kudos to Dr. Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost, Dean of University College, and Professor of Biology, for his acceptance into a prominent national leadership development program.
The Council for Independent Colleges (CIC) and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) collaborate to sponsor a rigorous and rewarding Senior Leadership Academy (SLA), offering mid-level administrators the opportunity to gain additional experience and expertise in preparation for a possible cabinet-level position in the future. Only 45 participants are selected from independent colleges across the country, and I am proud to say this includes Dr. Schaus. Maynard will attend a seminar in November in St. Louis, and a concluding seminar in Washington, D.C., next June. He will also work on a professional experience plan, which allows participants to gain additional experience. Maynard is working under the mentorship of Provost and Vice President Timothy O'Rourke during this program.
Contribute to The Excellence Fund; receive a VWU replacement diploma
The Virginia Wesleyan University replacement diploma campaign continues this academic year. We are pleased that so many alumni have already participated in the campaign and welcome the support of additional alumni this year. Remember, VWU will send alumni a replacement University diploma as a token of our appreciation for gifts of $50 or more. Display your College and University diplomas side-by-side to commemorate the past and present of your alma mater.
Gifts can be made at www.vwu.edu/giveonline. Complete a replacement diploma request form (as required by FERPA regulations) here.
Highlights from my weekend reading
>From time to time, I come across topical articles of interest to the campus community. I hope you find them insightful:
The new Ikea store on Northampton just around the corner from campus is half done, and still on schedule for spring opening.
As we continue our discussion on transfer students, I thought you would enjoy this Inside Higher Education article.
VWU News and Notes
This summer the Center for Sacred Music has hosted a series of Summer Sings with its community partner, Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church-Norfolk. The final SING takes place Thursday, August 23, when Charles Woodward, Artistic Director of the Virginia Chorale, conducts selected choruses from Mendelssohn’s Elijah.
Sandi Billy, Director of The Sacred Music Center, shares that the Summer Sings provide a unique opportunity for singers to learn a new work, sing an old favorite, practice sight-reading skills, or work with a new conductor. She notes that there is no “preparation” and all singers are welcomed to come and enjoy!
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In an effort to further VWU’s mission, I travel around the country, sharing the vision of Virginia Wesleyan University and I invite you to follow along on the Presidential Events page.
Thursday, August 16, 2018
Great to visit with our friends at Broadwater Academy on the Eastern Shore today. Broadwater and VWU have been good friends and partners for three years and counting. Pictured here with Ron Anson, Athletic Director, and Joe Spagnolo, Head of School.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
An enjoyable visit on campus with Howard Hoege III, President and CEO of The Mariners' Museum and Park. Last month I had an opportunity to visit the museum for the first time and today we had the opportunity to show off our campus and discuss collaboration.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
The road running to Bray Village and the Fine Arts Building is getting a fresh coat of blacktop in preparation for the new academic year.