Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kudos to VWU's Geni Roberts

Congratulations to Virginia Wesleyan student-athlete Geni Roberts of our cross country/track and field program on being named the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Field Athlete of the Week! Read more here: https://bit.ly/36bql4p

National Day of Racial Healing

Today on this National Day of Racial Healing, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting with Lynne M. Jackson, great-great granddaughter of Dred Scott (the slave who sued for his freedom in 1857), and Charles Taney IV, great-great-great nephew of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Roger Brooke Taney (who wrote the decision that denied Dred Scott his freedom). Tonight, for an “Understanding Hampton Roads” panel discussion, they’ll team with Keith Plessy whose great-grandfather was a cousin of Homer Plessy (who in 1892 challenged separate accommodations for black and white railroad passengers), and Phoebe Ferguson, great-great granddaughter of Louisiana Judge John Howard Ferguson (who ruled against Homer Plessy). 

 The program will focus on the U.S. legal system's history of racial bias and opportunities for healing and understanding. Sponsored by the Hampton Roads Community Foundation, the event will offer a unique opportunity to hear from descendants of plaintiffs and judges in two landmark 19th Century U.S. Supreme Court cases—Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson—that denied basic civil rights to African Americans. Learn more: hamptonroadscf.org/About/Events

Marlins SportSplash: January 21, 2020

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in this week's edition of Marlins SportSplash: https://conta.cc/3availf

Monday, January 20, 2020

Virginia Wesleyan Honors Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we join our nation in honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.— one of integrity, service, leadership, and unity, along with an inspiring commitment to social justice. Congratulations to VWU senior Monique Ayers on receiving Virginia Wesleyan’s first Martin Luther King, Jr., Legacy Award. Read more about our campus celebrations of Dr. King’s legacy here.

36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Leaders' Breakfast

Thanks to good friend Gil Bland, President and CEO of the Urban League of Hampton Roads, for head table hospitality at today's 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Leaders' Breakfast. We heard an inspiring speech by Janice Underwood (new Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Office of the Governor) and saw three of our good friends being recognized: Trustee Emerita Joan Brock, Trustee Howard Kern, and former Trustee Bob Aston.

President to President: Chapter 6

The sixth chapter of the 2019-2020 President to President thought leadership publication is now available. I enjoy editing this series with longtime friend and colleague Marylouise Fennell. In “Innovating to Advance Success for Students’ Diverse Needs,” Webster University President Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Stroble explores how the dynamic nature of modern higher education demands innovation and flexibility to meet students’ needs and support their success. She describes how her institution helps students overcome barriers and achieve their long-term goals through unique programs that provide appropriate support, resources, and guidance. Read it here.

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

Today our nation honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His legacy is one of integrity, service, leadership, and unity, along with an inspiring commitment to social justice. We will celebrate that legacy today on campus with a program at 11 a.m. in the Watts Gallery of the Goode Center. It will be my privilege to share remarks at that time, and I hope to see you there. Additionally, Virginia Wesleyan is working to better our community through acts of service as part of our annual "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service." We are grateful to campus leaders who collaborated on these programs that so aptly celebrate Dr. King's life and contributions.

Prior to these recognition events, I will begin my day remembering Dr. King as I attend the 36th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Leaders Breakfast. Created in 1984 to honor the legacy of Dr. King, the event recognizes individuals and groups who promote positive images, exemplify community service, demonstrate the values that model those of Dr. King, and show evidence of the impact their contributions make on the lives of others. Several good friends of VWU will receive community leadership awards, and we congratulate them and thank them for their excellent work and support of our community--Trustee Emerita Joan Brock, civic leader and philanthropist; Trustee Howard Kern, President and CEO of Sentara Healthcare; and former Trustee Bob Aston, Executive Chairman of the Board at TowneBank. Thanks also to the Urban League of Hampton Roads for organizing this event.

I encourage all to take time to reflect on Dr. King's life, a life that ended too soon but one that brought everlasting change, a quest for social justice, and inspiration to make our own commitment to social action. I will leave you with one of the many empowering quotes from Dr. King: "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor political nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right."


Virginia Wesleyan and Sentara Pursue Joint Nursing Program
Virginia Wesleyan University is pursuing the addition of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to our academic program. The BSN could be offered as a joint degree with Sentara College of Health Sciences and would involve coursework at both institutions. The signing of an agreement to formalize the intent of both institutions is planned for February 7, followed by an in-depth application process with Virginia Wesleyan's accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Read more here.

U.S. News Names VWU Online Among Best Programs Nationally
VWU Online continues to attract attention in national rankings.  The University has again been selected for inclusion in U.S. News and World Report's listing of "Best Online Bachelor's Programs," released last week. Read more here.

Advocating for Private College Initiatives at the State Capitol
Last week I visited Richmond to advocate for initiatives impacting Virginia's private colleges, a top priority being an increase in support for the Virginia Tuition Assistance (VTAG) program. While at the State Capitol, it was nice to visit with State Senator (28th District) and Virginia Wesleyan graduate Richard Stuart '89, Delegate Cliff Hayes (77th District), State Senator Bill DeSteph (8th District), State Senator Jen Kiggans (7th District), and Delegate Jason Miyares (82nd District).

Fall 2019 President's List
With pride, we share the Fall 2019 President's List. Congratulations to the following students for achieving a 4.0 grade point average for the fall semester. A reception will be held later this spring to celebrate the outstanding achievements of these students. Well done! 

Ryan Abraham
Sydnie Allen
Reina Araujo
Bianca Atkinson
Kayla Bissette
Jennifer Bowen
Kelsey Brogan
Katherine Burton
Megan Coffren
Taylor Coutts
Cloe Cowles
Noah Craft
Bryce Davis
Anna Dobrenen
Brooke Erickson
Lauren Faulkner
Erin Foreman
Shae Geary
Kathryn Gerrish
Isabella Glaze
Connor Hall
Maria Hall
Jilliann Hallman
Michael Harrison
Christy Hendricks
Lindsey Hicks
Stephanie Hoke
Madigan Horne
Zion Howard
Hanna Hull
Diana Jackson
Chelsea Jacox
Danielle Johnson
Teresa Jones
Destiny Kinka
Kelly Larson
John Lee
Carrie McClellan
Connor Merk
Christopher Morris
Phoebe Murrell
Abigail Peterson
Garrett Pitz
Alex Powers
Michael Redmon
Shelton Reisch
Brianna Sandy
Skye Seutter
Serena Smith
Joi Snowden
Nanci Stanley
Sarah Stermer
Annabelle Stucky
John Taranovich
Millie Taylor
Emma Walsh
Gillian Warrington
Kerri Wasko
Ashlyn Watts
Lindsay Weitzel
Doris White
Lindsay White
Jenna Whitener
Sydney Whitlock
Emily Wright
Veronica Zamora
Victoria Zuppa

Please note that grades for several courses are still being finalized and there may be additional students added to this list, I will share those names with you when available. 

"Changes afoot for United Methodist schools' group"
In a recent interview with United Methodist News, I was quoted on behalf of Methodist-related colleges and universities on our message: "Our institutions are committed to inclusiveness. We do not discriminate." Read more in "Changes afoot for United Methodist schools' group."

Virginia Wesleyan University Students to Deliberate "Ethics and Higher Education" 
Five students from Virginia Wesleyan University will participate in The Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges' (VFIC) 21st annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl next month. The competition will be held February 9-10 on the campus of the University of Lynchburg in Lynchburg, Virginia. Our team will compete head-to-head against other highly qualified student teams from Virginia's 15 leading independent colleges and universities, deliberating a variety of case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas. The members of the Virginia Wesleyan University student team are: Anitra Howard (Sophomore), Celine Maharaj (Freshman), Katy Niedzwiecki  (Sophomore), Alex Powers (Junior), and Criofan Shaw (Freshman). The faculty coordinator for our team is VWU Professor of Communication Dr. Kathy Merlock Jackson. The tradition continues with strong representation of our institution. Last year our team placed second in the competition--an impressive and well-earned accomplishment. Congratulations to these students on being selected for the team and best of luck! Many notable individuals from a variety of career fields including; business, law, education, finance, journalism and others will listen to team presentations and offer reactions to the students' presentations.

January Term Travels
January Term is in full swing and for some students, that means traveling. I share with you links to photos of our students in Israel and Hawaii. VWU students are pictured at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and from 400-foot Waimoku Falls on Maui. After hiking in the only rainforest in America, students spent an afternoon helping with organic taro farming as part of their January Term course "Travel's Impact on Culture and Environment."


The business community is enormously grateful to Paul Merritt, Owner of Ntrust Wealth Management, as he concludes his tenure as President of Virginia Beach Vision. Paul presided over his final meeting last week at the Town Center Club. Anne Crenshaw of Kaufman & Canoles is the new President of Virginia Beach Vision. I look forward to working with her and enjoy serving on the Virginia Beach Vision Board of Directors. Visit virginiabeachvision.com to learn more.

Work by Atlantic Culinary Environments of Danville, Pennsylvania, began last week on Coastal Market, a new retail venue at Virginia Wesleyan. Located in Batten Plaza, Coastal Market will be a campus convenience store offering more options than ever for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors, including to-go food, toiletries, and other products. Coastal Market's hours will expand access to these items and we look forward to the opening! Following its completion, the ACE crew will continue work in Batten Plaza by transforming the Marlin Grille to a new and improved Harbor Grill.
At the invitation of Norfolk City Manager Dr. Larry "Chip" Filer, I am proud to serve on Multimodal Norfolk, a transportation master plan advisory committee. At the opening session on January 14 at Slover Library representatives from all constituency groups of the city were present. Dr. Filer is pictured here addressing the group with Amy Inman, Director of the Department of Transit for the City of Norfolk, standing to his left.

We held our first meeting in the new calendar year of the VWU President's Leadership Council. The PLC meets monthly throughout the academic year to broaden discussion & participation in shared governance, and to foster collaborative processes on key administrative issues across campus.

The world awaits three Virginia Wesleyan juniors, Kayleen Meinen, Asha Richards and Brianna Sandy, who will be studying away during the spring semester thanks to support from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. Congratulations to these hard-working Marlins! Read more here.

In her new children's book, VWU Professor of Education Emerita Dr. Karen Bosch tells the story of a Canadian goose with autism who's learning to swim, honk, and fly alongside his siblings. Co-authored with her daughter Morghan and illustrated by Leyla (Fransen) Caralivanos '99, "Being Charley: Embracing Differences" is currently a "hot new release" on Amazon. Congratulations to these members of our Marlin Family!

The spring 2020 On Deck Premier Speaker Series includes impressive events that promise to be interesting, informative and thought-provoking. The Series is a program of the University's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), organized by the VWU faculty. Read more here.

Mark your calendar for upcoming events and programs, and read the latest on the arts at Virginia Wesleyan here.

Be sure to check out the upcoming events and programs offered through Virginia Wesleyan's Center for the Study of Religious Freedom here.


I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:

I invite you to stay updated on these activities here.
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez
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Flickr: Scott D. Miller
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Have a great week!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Martin Luther King, Jr., Day 2020

Join us Monday at 11 a.m. to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Watts Lobby of the Goode Center. The event features Dr. Rebecca Hooker as our speaker. Wesleyan Engaged will also host a cleanup event at L&J Gardens from 2-3 p.m., gathering at the Wesleyan Engaged office at 1:45 p.m.

LifeNet Health

We were pleased to have Saturday's women's basketball corporate sponsor LifeNet Health. LifeNet Health has helped to save lives, restore health and give hope to thousands of patients each year. It is the world's most trusted provider of transplant solutions. LifeNet Health’s mission has touched our campus following the tragic passing of former Marlin Nancy Kelly, Class of 2015. In her honor we continue to partner with LifeNet Health to promote their mission, grow donor registration and inspire others to be just as generous. The Executive Vice President of LifeNet is Virginia Wesleyan graduate from the class of 1986 and a member of the VWU Board of Trustees, Doug Wilson. 

ACCESS College Foundation

I enjoyed Friday's social at the new offices of the ACCESS College Foundation in Norfolk. Pictured at the social with good friends Bonnie Sutton, President and CEO, and Cheryl Jones, Vice President. The ACCESS College Foundation was founded in 1988 to eliminate barriers to postsecondary education and increase college attainment for underrepresented and low-income students. To learn more visit accesscollege.org.