Monday, November 30, 2015

With David Olive, President of Bluefield College, and Robert Lambeth, President of the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia, at tonight's legislative social in Richmond.
Talked United Methodist higher education today with Bishop Young Jin Cho, right, and Rev. John B. Peters, Executive Director of Association of Educational Institutions (AEI), at their offices in Glen Allen, VA. Bishop Cho was elected a bishop and consecrated at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in 2012. He is the first Korean-American elected to the episcopacy in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. He serves on the Virginia Wesleyan College Board of Trustees.
This week's Marlin Athletic Club Marlins SportSplash:

Nota Bene: Beekeeping at Virginia Wesleyan College

November 30, 2015
Welcome back!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Annie and I continue to be thankful for the warm welcome we have received to this wonderful community over the past five months.
Over Thanksgiving I had the opportunity to try some honey from the hives on the Virginia Wesleyan College campus. Though we always keep some honey in the house to sweeten tea, put on some bread, or to soothe a sore throat, this particular honey was special. It was part of a healthy supply I received from VWC Professor of History, Dr. Dan Margolies. It was delivered to my office just a few days after a faculty dinner I hosted when Dan told me about a class he teaches at Virginia Wesleyan, INST 161: Bees and Beekeeping.
Dan has been teaching this class at Virginia Wesleyan since 2002. He maintains the hives on campus and his students and he harvest, extract, and bottle the honey. Dr. Margolies says that this is the first time he has harvested honey on campus in about 10 years as the program is unfunded and has been struggling to keep going in the face of Colony Collapse Disorder and other challenges.
The honey is packaged in a large container (pictured below) and small glass jars which are great because they can be kept in carry-on baggage (not confiscated by TSA). The labels on the containers were designed by a former student in the bees and beekeeping class.
According to Dr. Margolies, Virginia Wesleyan is one of the only liberal arts colleges in the country that has a beekeeping program focused on hive management rather than on animal behavior (such as the program at Wellesley) or as part of an agriculture program (Maryland, Virginia Tech). He notes with pride, "We maintain all organic hives without the use of any chemicals or pesticides.  We raise our queens as well."
The beehives are yet another unique and distinctive feature of our campus life and have been promoted in The Virginian-Pilot and in the 2012 edition of Marlin Magazine. This is clearly another example of the "value added" aspect of our liberal arts education.
Thanks to Professor Margolies for making this unique learning experience available to our students.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our 22-month-old granddaughter, Addie!
Virginia Wesleyan recognized again by The Princeton Review.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Nota Bene: Well-deserved Recognition for Joan and Macon Brock

November 24, 2015

Last Wednesday, Annie and I had the opportunity to attend the CIVIC Leadership Institute’s Darden Award presentation at the Half Moon Cruise and Celebration Center in Norfolk. The CIVIC Leadership Institute connects executive leaders through service to improve life in Hampton Roads, and each year their leadership award is presented to individuals whose contributions and service have made a significant impact in the Hampton Roads community. Established in 2005, the Darden Award for Regional Leadership is named for CIVIC Leadership Institute's Founder Emeritus, the late Joshua P. Darden Jr.

This year’s award went to two very generous Virginia Wesleyan College benefactors, Joan and Macon Brock Jr. The Brocks' contributions to the Hampton Roads community include extensive support for Virginia Wesleyan College. On our campus, Brock Village and the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom are named for them to pay tribute to their contributions and much appreciated support.

Joan and Macon have served private higher education well as long time board members of Virginia Wesleyan and Randolph-Macon respectively. Interestingly, at one point Macon and Joan each chaired, at the same time, the Board of Trustees of both colleges. 

In addition, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Brock Environmental Center, one of the most energy efficient, environmentally smart buildings in the world, is named in the Brocks' honor. The couple recently celebrated the opening of the new home of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Hampton Roads office and Lynnhaven River NOW, a river restoration project. 

Joan Brock earned a B.A. in secondary education with a minor in mathematics from Longwood University and a master's degree in humanities from Old Dominion University. She is a major shareholder of Dollar Tree, Inc. and served for 11 years as assistant secretary/treasurer for the company. Her career began in her father's variety store, at that time called K&K 5 &10, which eventually became K & K Toys, Inc.

Macon Brock graduated from Randolph-Macon College with a B.A. in Latin. He went on to Quantico, Virginia for Marine Corps Officer training, served in Vietnam and was a special agent with the United States Naval Intelligence at the Norfolk Naval Station before becoming a successful entrepreneur, co-founding K & K Toys and Dollar Tree, Inc.

Wednesday’s honor is the most recent in a number of recognitions for the Brocks. Last week, Joan was the keynote speaker for the National Philanthropy Day luncheon/celebration hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott. Two weeks ago, the Brocks were honored in New York City receiving the AFP's 2015 Outstanding Philanthropist Award. Last year, I was fortunate to be present in Marco Island, Florida when the Brocks were awarded the Council of Independent Colleges Award for Philanthropy.

Congratulations to Joan and Macon on these well-deserved honors. We are grateful for their long time support of Virginia Wesleyan College.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Annie and I thoroughly enjoyed dinner tonight with colleagues from the Virginia Wesleyan College faculty.
Discussed possible partnerships this morning with Diane Hotaling, Director of Community Service; Virginia Hitch, daughter of Alice and Lambuth M. Clarke (former VWC President); and David Richards of We Feed.
Enjoyable dinner last night with Rev. Greg West, VWC Chaplain; Jim Boyd '84, local attorney and son of Robert F. and Sara M. Boyd (namesakes of the Boyd Ding Center); and students Luke Wentling, Jasmine Burrell and Forrest Teague.

Nota Bene: The Virginian-Pilot Celebrates 150th Anniversary

November 23, 2015
I recently attended a gala at the beautiful new modern Slover Library to celebrate the 150th anniversary of our primary newspaper in this region, The Virginian-Pilot. A number of those attending the event have deep ties to both the newspaper and Virginia Wesleyan College.
The Virginian-Pilot has won three Pulitzer prizes in its long and distinguished history. In 1954, at the age of 27, Frank Batten became the publisher of the paper which was owned by his uncle, Samuel L. Slover. The Batten family has played a very significant role in the history and development of this College. For this, we are all thankful! 

I invite you to learn more about the fascinating history of the newspaper in the Phil Walzer article here:

I encourage you to visit the Slover Library ( on Plume Street in downtown Norfolk. The $65 million facility is touted by many as one of the most innovative libraries in the country.

Congratulations to The Virginian-Pilot on 150 years!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

With Athletic Director Joanne Renn, presenting the championship trophy at the Marlin Tip-Off Tournament. Accepting on behalf of the Marlins: Khory Moore, Tim Jones, Nick Doyle, and Kaelin Poe.
Presenting the Marlin Tip-Off Tournament All-Tournament team. Marlins honored include Nick Doyle (15), Kaelin Poe (33), and Khory Moore (4).
Good to visit with Peter '05 and Ashley Warren at today's Marlin basketball game with Averett University. In addition to cheering for the Marlins, Peter was in town to watch his friend and former VWC teammate Dave Doino coach Averett. The Warrens are also friends of our daughter, Katie, and son-in-law, Gary, in Winchester, VA. One-year-old Drew Warren is trying to "photo bomb" at right.
Great turnout at the Jane P. Batten Student Center for the 17th Annual Family Volunteer Day
Athletics Director Joanne Renn showing off the ODAC Commissioners Cup -- presented to men's athletics at Virginia Wesleyan College for overall performance.
New photo installation in the Center for Advancement on the second floor of Godwin Hall featuring graphic displays from "I am Virginia Wesleyan" (a series featuring photos and quotes from current students and alums)
Thanks to junior Adam Byrd, CEO of the weeklong student-led symposium, Marlin Prestige, for moderating my seminar on the "Dos & Don'ts of Social Media" as part of VWC's Fall Business Conference (bottom, my view from the podium at the start of the session).
This week's issue of "@vawesleyan":

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Looking forward to tomorrow's session.
Visited today with the Rev. Charles Swadley, interim CEO of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (, and Rev. Peter Weaver, former President of the Council of Bishops for the United Methodist Church. Joining us for the meeting was Dr. Craig Wansink, Professor of Religious Studies and the Joan P. And Macon F. Brock, Jr. Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom. Rev. Weaver was Bishop for the Peninsula-Delaware Conference of The United Methodist Church during my tenure as President of Wesley College and we are both graduates of West Virginia Wesleyan College.

Nota Bene: Army ROTC Marlin Detachment

November 19, 2015
Most mornings I eat breakfast in Boyd Dining Center. On a good number of occasions I run into—and am impressed by—students from Virginia Wesleyan’s Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program. I wanted to learn more, so I spoke to Amy Rush, who has served as advisor to the Army ROTC Marlin Detachment since 2012. 

The Marlin Detachment operates as part of Old Dominion University’s Army ROTC Monarch Battalion. Through an elective curriculum, participating students receive valuable tools, training, and leadership experiences that are an asset to any career. Students also have access to an ROTC scholarship of $1,000 that can be put toward tuition during their freshman and sophomore years.

Each spring, the Army ROTC Monarch Battalion holds its President's Review and Awards Ceremony, and without fail, cadets from Virginia Wesleyan are honored for their achievements, dedication, and athletic talents. During the 2014-2015 academic year, two VWC commissioning cadets received awards: Logan Rash ’15 was named "Outstanding VWC Cadet," and Joshua McNamara ’15 was named "Outstanding Varsity Athlete" and won the "Daughters of the American Revolution Award." 

I am extremely proud of our Army ROTC Marlin Detachment, and it gives me great pleasure to know that Virginia Wesleyan is helping to educate and advance our country’s future military leaders. Prospective cadets can learn more about this program by visiting the 
Army ROTC Marlin Detachment webpage or by contacting Amy Rush at or 757.455.3401.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Enjoyable evening with Virginia Wesleyan College friends at the Half Moone Cruise and Celebration Center for the 11th annual Darden Awards. VWC benefactors Macon and Joan Brock recognized by the Civic Leadership Institute with the top award for philanthropic leadership.
Hosted a visit with program officers from the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation of Atlanta. They toured the campus and met with students supported by the Foundation.
Congratulations to Mindy Bertram '15, the first VWC student to have completed our Peace Corps Prep Program. Pictured with Mindy is Clay Drees, Professor of History, Director of Faculty Mentoring, and Co-Director, Peace Corps Prep Program.

Nota Bene: Virginia Business Higher Education Council

November 18, 2015
I was back in Richmond again Thursday for a meeting of education, business and government leaders.  The meeting was hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Business Higher Education Council (BVHEC).
VBHEC was founded in 1994 by Virginia business leaders on the principle that the prosperity of Virginia and the well-being of its citizens is fundamentally tied to access to a strong system of colleges and universities. A nonprofit, nonpartisan partnership between Virginia’s business community and higher education leadership, VBHEC is committed to educating the public about higher education’s crucial role in Virginia’s economy.
The world is rapidly changing and all of higher education is being called on by business and government to adapt regularly to meet broader societal needs.  Our hosts called our meeting the Virginia Summit on Higher Education and Economic Competitiveness and the day’s agenda included major presentations by Governor Terry McAuliffe, Dubby Wynne, former Landmark CEO, Tom Farrell, President & CEO of Dominion Resources, and Todd Stottlemeyer, CEO of Inova Center for Personalized Health.  Brian Fitzgerald, CEO of the Business Higher Education Forum, was the keynote speaker during lunch. Presidential colleagues Michael Rao (VCU), Terry Sullivan (University of Virginia), Glenn DuBois (Virginia Community College System), Angel Cabrera (George Mason University), and Tim Sands (Virginia Tech), shared their perspectives and facilitated the discussion on higher education's role in economic growth.
The discussion focused on raising an awareness of the Commonwealth's new economic challenges and opportunities, mobilizing leaders to work collaboratively for economic development, job creation, and career readiness, and seeking solutions to meet the demands.  Legislators attending clearly look to higher education leaders to "think outside the box," to do more with less, and to collaborate for efficiency and to avoid replication. 
It was a day filled with dialogue about higher education’s vital role in the future of Virginia’s economy and I was pleased to take part in this discussion. It’s important for us to recognize the role that Virginia Wesleyan plays in . . . “empowering students to grow as principled scholars and community leaders” who make a positive impact in Virginia and beyond.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Annie with Dr. Carolyn Williams, mother of music superstar Pharrell Williams ("Happy"), and Lynn Clements, Director of the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, at today's National Philanthropy Day luncheon.
Virginia Wesleyan Board Chair Gary Bonnewell, Trustee Deb Butler, and Annie at today's National Philanthropy Day luncheon at the Marriott Waterside.
Enjoyable visit with Virginia Wesleyan benefactors George and Sue Birdsong at today's AFP National Philanthropy Day luncheon at the Marriott Waterside. Our own Joan Brock was the featured speaker.
Great visiting with John Tucker, former long-time headmaster of Norfolk Academy, at St. Patrick Catholic School this morning.

Nota Bene: International Festival

November 17, 2015

The Lighthouse, our Center for Exploration and Discovery, in partnership with Virginia Wesleyan Student Activities and a number of student groups, is hosting an International Festival today from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Marlin Grille. The festival will include performances, demonstrations, international education, and FREE INTERNATIONAL FOOD!

The Lighthouse plans to host a "travel agency" where students can pick up a "passport." Participants can earn stamps on their passports for visiting the information tables, watching the performances, and sampling the international food. Each completed passport will be entered in a drawing for bookstore cash prizes.

I encourage you to participate in the International Festival. The performance schedule includes:

11:00-11:45         Jazz Ensemble
11:45-12:00         Tea Ceremony
12:00-12:30         Virginia Beach Steppers
12:30-12:45         Black Student Union
12:45-1:00           Virginia Beach Steppers

Monday, November 16, 2015

Enjoyable dinner and discussion tonight with Virginia Wesleyan College faculty.

Nota Bene: Huffington Post Column

November 16, 2015
Today's Nota Bene is my monthly higher education column in The Huffington Post titled "Climbing Walls and Talking Turkey: A Holiday Conversation About College":
I have also included a link to Presidential Perspectives, a higher education leadership series written by college presidents for college presidents. I have served as co-executive editor of this popular series for 10 years. This year's theme is "Innovative Concepts to Achieve Campus Transformation" and focuses on how institutions are innovating and embracing change to transform themselves and the broader industry. The archive for all chapters during the past 10 years can be found on our website:
I hope you enjoy.
At the art opening in the Jane P. Batten Student Center Fishbowl - "Focus Women Photographers." Students exhibiting in the FOCUS show are from left: Kayla Skeete, Britani Daley, Samantha Jackson, Nicolette Burns. Two other student artists not available when the group picture was taken: Cori Hailey and Alison Gonzalez.
Dr. Margaret Reese (Thomas R. Fanney Distinguished Associate Professor of Mathematics ) working with students in the Eggleston Commons on math problems. She, Dr. Audrey Malagon (Associate Professor of Mathematics) and Dr. Lydia Kennedy (Batten Associate Professor of Mathematics) spend a good bit of their time working one-on-one and in small groups with students who need extra help. Thanks to Hilve Firek (Batten Associate Professor of Education) for bringing this ‪#‎vwcwalkabouts‬ to our attention. As she says, "(this) sums up what VWC is all about. As we get closer to finals, we will see more and more students in what we refer to informally as the math lounge."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A spirited Virginia Wesleyan crowd cheered on the Marlins in a hard-fought 92-91 loss at Wesley College today.
Great to visit with my long time colleague and friend, Mike Drass, at today's Virginia Wesleyan v. Wesley College basketball game. Mike is the legendary head coach and athletic director. We worked together at Wesley for nearly 11 years when I was president there. We share something else in common -- Mike Drass Field is located in Scott D. Miller Stadium at Wesley College.
Delaware alumni visit prior to the season opening basketball game between the Marlins and Wesley College.
Thanks to Ashlee and Justin Upp for hosting today's Virginia Wesleyan College Dover, Delaware Area Alumni and Friends brunch at Wild Quail Golf and Country Club.
Enjoyable afternoon with Virginia Wesleyan alumni from Delaware.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Looking forward to returning to Dover, Delaware tomorrow (Sunday) for a Virginia Wesleyan College alumni event followed by the 2 p.m. men's basketball opener between the Marlins and the Wesley College Wolverines. It will be our first time back on the Wesley College campus since we left in December 2007. I served as President of Wesley College for nearly 11 years. So many wonderful people and memories!
Great crowd at the Batten Center for Virginia Wesleyan and Salisbury.
Recognition of the State Farm/VWC Scholar/Athletes at half time.
Outstanding rendition of the national anthem by senior Jeanice Reed. Jeanice is Vice President of the Student Government association.
Unveiling of the 2015 ODAC Women's Basketball Championship banner.
Bob is ready -- Virginia Wesleyan women's basketball open the season at 2 p.m. today in the Jane P. Batten Student Center against Salisbury University.
Great turnout today for VWC Day. Pictured lower right with Dr. Keith Moore, our new Vice President for Student Affairs.
Great to visit with several Virginia Wesleyanites at the Elizabeth River District meeting of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church at Saint Andrew's United Methodist Church in Portsmouth. Pictured with Rev. Ralph Rowley, Rev. Greg West (our Chaplain), Rev. Brian Boettcher, and Rev. Brandon Nichols.
Just spoke on "Virginia Wesleyan College and The United Methodist Church" at the Elizabeth River District meeting of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church at Saint Andrew's United Methodist Church in Portsmouth. Pictured with Rev. Wayne Snead, District Superintendent, and Rev. Peter Moon, Richmond Area District Superintendent.
It's VWC Day!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Robin Takacs, Director of Instructional Technology, is all smiles showing off her new MakerBlot 2X Replicator (3D Printer) in the Hoffheimer Library. Some of the finished work is on the shelf behind Robin.
The Virginia Wesleyan College Jazz Ensemble performed tonight in the Neil Britton Art Gallery in the Hofheimer Library. Dr. Jason Squinobal, Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Instrumental Music, directs the Ensemble.

Sam Jackson with her photo exhibit at the "Women Photographers" opening reception in the Batten Student Center Fishbowl.