Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's not too late to give to Virginia Wesleyan College in 2016:

Friday, December 30, 2016

Addie watching a little Marlin basketball with Gramps. Virginia Wesleyan beats University of Mary Washington, 100-85.

An expanding partnership with NATO-ACT is enhancing VWC's Role in the global community:

December graduate Irene Bargueno (pictured) served as VWC's first intern for the NATO-ACT Innovation Hub.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Great recap of our forthcoming Campus Master Plan on the front page of today's paper. Thanks to The Virginian-Pilot for the great coverage and for showcasing our new graduate and online programs, plans for enrollment growth, and continued fundraising for the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center:

The Association of American Colleges & Universities has featured a recent column of mine, "Building Tolerance on American Campuses," among a series of presidential messages addressing issues of racial and social justice. I'm proud to serve among campus leaders as a model and resource for others wishing to communicate on this very important topic:
It was a pleasure to weigh in on what’s in store for the Hampton Roads and statewide economies in the Inside Business article, "Regional economists see 2017 as catch-up year for economy":

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Virginia Wesleyan art students have made their mark on the Jane P. Batten Student Center with a vibrant and timely public art installation:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

There's still time to make a difference in 2016!

The Excellence Fund provides important funding for hands-on learning experiences that will benefit Virginia Wesleyan students now and for years to come.

With your support of The Excellence Fund, we are able to provide our students with undergraduate research opportunities, study away programming, and internships. Hands-on experiences like these provide students with a deeper understanding of their fields and help to prepare them for the next step in their lives and careers.
This holiday season, please consider a tax-deductible gift to The Excellence Fund. Gifts of any size are important and will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our students.

Gifts can be made online at or by sending a check made out to Office of the President, Virginia Wesleyan College to 1584 Wesleyan Dr., Norfolk, VA 23502. Postmark your gift by December 31 to ensure you receive your 2016 tax deduction.
Thank you in advance for contributing to transformational experiences!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Nota Bene: A College President’s Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

If we higher-education presidents ever needed to ask you for support — something we’re used to doing anyway with alumni and friends of our institutions — it is certainly this Christmas season.

First and foremost, we campus CEO’s have been very good this year. We have tried to keep tuition increases reasonable, grow our endowments, construct energy-efficient facilities and create scholarships to maintain affordability and access to higher education. Here in Hampton Roads, we have offered a rich menu of concerts, productions, exhibits, athletic events and much more for the public we serve, and we have done more than our share in being a valued engine of the local and regional economy.

We’ve listened to our boards, visiting committees, advisory councils, accreditors, legislators, alumni, parents, faculty and staff. Most importantly, we have been sensitive to our millennial students, their causes and concerns, their constant use of technology, their expectations of having a job upon graduation, their complaints about food services, room temperatures, course schedules, tough-grading professors, lack of playing time on the field or court — you name it.

In short, we’ve tried to please everybody. If you think you’re pulled in multiple directions, Santa, you should try running a college or university.

Now for our list. As you know, we’ve elected a rather non-conventional president of our nation, and although it’s too early to tell what the long-range impact of his new administration will be on our campuses, our wish list is pretty extensive already.

First of all, please leave affordability and accessibility under the trees of those who aspire to a college education. Although the scholarships we provide are the gifts that keep on giving, we hope you will also guide those in Washington who will be making decisions about student loans and other federal assistance, repayment of loans, and federally funded student work-study and similar programs.

Second, we’d like to have a commitment to a clean environment — not a reversal of progress made. You can probably see the polar ice melting from your workshop at the North Pole. Here in Hampton Roads, we have some serious concerns about coastal sea-level rise. Give those in charge the wisdom and will to make sound choices for the long-term health of our environment and natural resources.

Third, please give the new administration the ability to bring jobs to Coastal Virginia. Let’s have no further sequestration and loss of military positions; rather, give us a strong Virginia economy that derives from defense, yes, but also from many diversified opportunities. On Christmas morning, it would be nice to unwrap favorable financial trends that will keep tuition affordable, costs stable and endowments robust.

Fourth — and this is very important, Santa — give us a break from the hateful rhetoric, lies and half-truths, fake news, prejudicial saber-rattling and outlandish claims and justifications that have swept right on through the holidays like a deadly case of flu. Our country is better than that, we deserve more than to be pandered to, and we work best when we work together, united and not divided. Our students have some real concerns about the future that my fellow presidents and I are trying to address. We need to provide the reassurance they seek and deserve.

Finally, give us the gift of sound decisions, reliable information and consistent expectations. It might be a stretch even for you, Santa, but fill our officials’ stockings with integrity and inspired leadership. Give us hope. Perhaps more so than in recent memory, we badly need something positive to believe in.

Well, that should do it for this year, Santa. We’ve done as much as we can on our own. Thank you for listening.

Oh, and don’t land your sleigh too hard on the tops of our campus buildings. It’s hard to find alumni who will underwrite roof work.



Note: This letter was written as my monthly column for The Virginian-Pilot and The Huffington Post.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Nota Bene: Promotions Recognize Valued Service of Two Wesleyanites

I am pleased to announce the promotion of two longtime, loyal Virginia Wesleyanites to new administrative positions.

Elizabeth "Beth" Clarke ’98 has been promoted to Assistant Vice President for Enrollment. Beth earned a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and a Master of Education with a concentration in higher education administration from The College of William & Mary. She began working as an Admissions Counselor for the College in 1998 and held roles as Development Director and Alumni Relations Director before becoming Associate Dean of Enrollment in 2010.

Jason Seward ’05 has been named Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. Jason earned a Bachelor of Arts in recreation and leisure studies from Virginia Wesleyan College and a Master of Education with a concentration in higher education and student affairs administration from Regent University. As a student, he worked with Residence Life and served as Building Supervisor for the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Following graduation, Jason accepted a position as Director of Recreational Sports and Outdoor Activities and Assistant Director of the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Most recently, he served as Director of the Jane P. Batten Student Center and Dean of Freshmen.

Both of these hardworking individuals make outstanding contributions to student access and success at our College. I know you join me in thanking them for their leadership and commitment on behalf of our students.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting with staff of our Enrollment/Alumni Call Center at their Christmas Party in Pruden Hall. Tom Murray, back row center, is the Coordinator of Enrollment Outreach.

If we higher-education presidents ever needed to ask for Santa's support, it is certainly this Christmas season. Read my wish list in The Virginian-Pilot and the The Huffington Post.

Nota Bene: Physical Plant Transition Begins with New Year

As we wind down the academic year, we prepare for the implementation of the Aramark transition. As I mentioned in an earlier communication, beginning January 1, 2017, all Physical Plant operations—including grounds work, housekeeping, and maintenance functions—will become contracted services of Aramark, our longstanding facilities service provider. I am confident that this change will further enhance our processes and efficiency.

As part of this transition, Bruce Vaughan has announced his plans to retire on December 31, 2017. Bruce will begin his shift to retirement with the new year, and on January 1, he will become Vice President Emeritus and Director of Capital Projects. He will play a vital role in Physical Plant operations as he supervises several institutional construction projects and facilitates support of our physical-plant transition. He will continue to work closely with Director of Physical Plant Operations Robert Levinsky under the supervision of Vice President for Administration and Finance Cary Sawyer.

As we move toward Bruce’s retirement, we’ll have opportunities to celebrate his 22 years of stellar service and leadership. We thank him for his dedication to Virginia Wesleyan College and for the gift of so much of his life and heart to this very special place.

Please join me in congratulating Bruce on this first phase of his retirement. We look forward to celebrating his service and planning for the continued success of our Physical Plant operations.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nota Bene: Grand Opening for New INTEL Space

Today I’d like to congratulate our outstanding faculty and greater community on the grand opening of the new physical space for Virginia Wesleyan’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (INTEL).

The impressively designed infrastructure, located in the Jane P. Batten Student Center next to the Office of Administration and Finance (Room 22), is an innovative workspace with a 60” interactive wall display, Solstice Pod collaborative system, Skype-ready technology and a Kapp Intelligent Whiteboard. Faculty interested in engaging their students in these technologies and others can book the space for use with their classes or for webinars, collaborative meetings and events.

The Center for INTEL’s mission is to provide leadership and support for new academic initiatives and faculty development that promotes VWC’s strategic institutional commitments to students' intellectual inquiry, active learning and civic engagement. The new space was envisioned several years ago when the plan for INTEL was first launched. It now provides an environment that directly supports the priorities and actions articulated in the College’s strategic plan, VWC 2020: Pathway to Prominence.

Thank you to the VWC INTEL Committee for their hard work and for bringing this incredible learning space to life. Members of the committee are:

Dr. Lisa Lyon Payne, Associate Professor of Communications
Dr. Kevin Kittredge, Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Paul Ewell, Associate Professor of Management, Business and Economics
Dr. Denise Wilkinson, Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean of INTEL
Dr. Gabriela Martorell, Associate Professor of Psychology
Dr. Deirdre Gonsalves-Jackson, Associate Professor of Biology
Robin Takacs, Director of Instructional Technology
Diane Hotaling, Director of Community Service

Special thanks also to Dr. Kathy Stolley, the first Associate Dean of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning, whose original vision and leadership helped make this project a reality.

For more information about the Center for INTEL visit Read more about the grand opening event at:

Monday, December 19, 2016

Nota Bene: VWC Achieves River Star Business Designation

Shortly after my arrival at Virginia Wesleyan, I shared with each of you my career-long commitment to the environment and sustainability. Since then, I have been most pleased with the work being done by the College’s President’s Environmental Issues Council. Today I’m proud to share that their efforts, along with those of our entire campus community, have earned the College designation as a River Star Business, Achievement Level, by the Elizabeth River Project.

The Elizabeth River Project is an independent non-profit that works with partner organizations to restore the Elizabeth River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. River Star Businesses is one of their signature programs, recognizing organizations that voluntarily reduce pollution and create or conserve wildlife habitat enhancement.

The River Restoration Advisory Committee, comprised of River Star peers and technical experts, reviews River Star documentation every fall for entry and advancement in the program. The two-star Achievement Level recognition is attained when a River Star documents significant achievements in both pollution prevention and wildlife habitat enhancement. Achievements must be clearly quantified and achieved with meaningful employee involvement and be significant relative to the size and nature of the organization.

In their review, the committee noted Virginia Wesleyan’s energy efficiency, green roof, storm water management, solar panels, wildlife habitat enhancement, old growth beech forest, bird sanctuary, beekeeping, composting, arboretum and native plant pallet, among other initiatives.

River Star accomplishments will be celebrated at the Elizabeth River Project’s annual River Star Recognition Luncheon on January 26, 2017.

Very special thanks to the President’s Environmental Issues Council, and in particular, Batten Professor of Political Science William Gibson. Dr. Gibson has dedicated much of his life to cleaning up the Elizabeth River and took the lead on earning this designation for the College.

We have much to be proud of as an institution, and our environmental efforts and dedication to sustainability are no exception. Congratulations!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Such an enjoyable evening at Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam's Holiday Party at the home of Dr. Richard Rosenblum (right) in Virginia Beach. Dr. Northram, his wife Pam, and Dr. Rosenblum have been good friends and supporters of Virginia Wesleyan College. Ralph recently announced a run for Governor.
Great coverage by The Virginian-Pilot on the expansion of our academic programs. Virginia Wesleyan will soon offer a Master of Arts in Education, an online Master of Business Administration, and online degree-completion programs at the undergraduate level:

Annie and I with John and Elaine Aird at the Virginia Wesleyan College Faculty/Staff Christmas Party in the Boyd Dining Center last night. Outstanding decorations, food, fellowship, music and fun. Special kudos to Tim Lockett and Amanda McKenna of Sodexo Dining Services.

Friday, December 16, 2016

It was wonderful to meet with Maxine Earley, Jim '77 and Phyllis '92 Earley, and Dr. Bill Gibson. Mrs. Earley has created an annual scholarship in memory of her son, C. Brantley Allen '78, for a VWC student majoring in political science who plans to pursue the field of teaching. We are pleased to help remember Brantley in this special way.

Enjoyed seeing many VWC friends at today's Friday Club Christmas Luncheon. Pictured with me at The Honorable Richard Bray, Tony Nicolo, and Tom Broyles (VWC Trustee).

I visited this morning with Paige Mudd, Vice President, News and Executive Editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, at their building in downtown Richmond. She graciously provided introductions to her staff colleagues and invited some ideas for coverage of VWC in their newspaper's market.

Nota Bene: Employment by Diversity Report

It has been my annual practice to share with the campus community data gathered for an Employment by Diversity Report. Please find it here for your information: Virginia Wesleyan College 2016-2017 Employment by Diversity Report

Thank you to Karla Rasmussen, Director of Human Resources, and Donald Stauffer, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, for compiling information for this report.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Fun initiative on campus covered by The Virginian-Pilot, "How do Virginia Wesleyan students de-stress during finals week? They pet Bart":

Nota Bene: Accreditation Meeting Helps Conclude Successful Year

Earlier this month, I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend the 121st Annual Meeting of our accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The theme of this year’s meeting, held December 3-6, was “Higher Education at the Crossroads: Pathways to Equity and Excellence.”

The meeting addressed various higher education accreditation practices and offered much topical discussion on the development and implementation of activities that enhance teaching and learning and support administrative operations. Dynamic speakers, peer-led sessions, engaging exhibitors, and numerous networking opportunities were also highlights of the conference.

Our own Virginia Wesleyan College Board of Trustees member Dr. Linda Thomas-Glover moderated a President’s Day session featuring CNN Political Analyst Dr. Larry Sabato. I had the distinct pleasure of visiting with Dr. Sabato, a native of Norfolk and the Founder and Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Overall, the meeting served as a wonderful conclusion to our very productive year with SACSCOC. As you know, Virginia Wesleyan received its 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation with no recommendations and no required follow-up reports—an incredible vote of confidence in our institution. And as I shared yesterday, the College was recently approved as a Level III institution, enabling us to add master’s degrees to our academic program.

Special thanks to each of you, our broader Virginia Wesleyan College community, for your daily work on behalf of this outstanding College and our students. Your efforts make Virginia Wesleyan shine bright, as a beacon for the liberal arts in the 21st century.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thanks to the staff of Virginia Wesleyan College for attending tonight's social and presentation of the final draft of our 10-year Campus Master Plan. Photos by Keith Moore, Jason Seward, and John-Henry Doucette '01, The Princess Anne Independent News.
Enjoyed sharing our plans for the good future of Virginia Wesleyan College at last night's Virginia Beach City Council Meeting -- Princess Anne Independent News coverage:

Nota Bene: Virginia Wesleyan Approved to Offer Graduate and Online Programs

I am pleased to share that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has approved Virginia Wesleyan College as a Level III institution. The classification to this level will enable us to offer the master’s degree as the highest degree. Virginia Wesleyan will soon expand its academic program to include a Master of Arts in Education, an online Master of Business Administration, and online degree-completion programs at the undergraduate level.

A traditionally delivered Master of Arts in Education (MAEd) is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2017. It will be a 4+1 program in which students complete an undergraduate degree in four years focused on a content major related to secondary education, and then complete a year of graduate study devoted to preparation for teaching. An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017. The advanced education that these programs provide will empower our students with the ability to compete for more rewarding jobs in their chosen specializations.

The College will also begin offering two online degree-completion programs in the fall of 2017. These flexible online programs will introduce an unprecedented level of convenience for students in our Adult Studies Program and have the potential for significant growth.

My sincerest gratitude to all who have worked toward this momentous goal for our institution, including Dr. Timothy O’Rourke, Provost and Vice President; Dr. Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost and Professor of Biology; Marty Smith Sharpe, Accreditation Consultant for the College; Dr. Paul Ewell, Dr. Bob Albertson, and their colleagues in the Department of Management, Business, and Economics; Dr. Malcolm Lively, Dr. Hilve Firek, and their colleagues in the Department of Education; Amy Rush, Deputy Director of The Lighthouse; and Debbie Hicks, Assistant Provost.

The addition of these programs marks a pivotal moment in the history of Virginia Wesleyan College and underscores our reputation and competitiveness as a leader in American higher education—indeed, as Coastal Virginia's premier private, national liberal arts college.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Enjoyed seeing VWC alumnus John-Henry Doucette '01 at the Virginia Beach City Council meeting today.
Proud to present an overview of Virginia Wesleyan's Campus Master Plan to the Virginia Beach City Council this afternoon. We recently completed a comprehensive 10-month process addressing how to best meet the College's academic mission, future campus needs, and commitment to sustainability through the ongoing evolution of our physical space.
Looking for to sharing our plans for the future of Virginia Wesleyan today with the Virginia Beach City Council.
Visited the WHRO-TV studios in Norfolk this afternoon to record this month's edition of "Inside Higher Education" with Larry Dotolo, President of the Virginia Tidewater Consortium. We discussed my vision for Virginia Wesleyan, community partnerships, operational challenges, and the potential impact the new administration in Washington may have on higher education.
Attending the Hampton Roads Economic Call to Action hosted by Jim Spore, President & CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads.
Some of the crew for the traditional Final Exams Late Night Breakfast in the Boyd Dining Center: Upper left, David Waggoner (Vice President for Enrollment) and Doug Kennedy (Professor of Recreation and Leisure); Upper right, Jason Seward (Dean of Freshman) and Cary Sawyer (Vice President for Finance); Lower left, with Robert Leitgeb (Chief Information Officer); and Lower right, with Cary Sawyer, Doug Kennedy, Jason Seward, Keith Moore (Vice President for Student Affairs), Robert Lietgeb and David Waggoner.

Nota Bene: December Graduates Welcomed as Newest Marlin Alumni

It was a great honor on Sunday to welcome families, friends and other distinguished guests to the December Graduates’ Recognition Ceremony and Reception in the Jane P. Batten Student Center. The occasion represented an incredible milestone in the lives of 37 new Virginia Wesleyan College alumni.

I was pleased to share my sincerest gratitude with the family members and friends who have supported these students in achieving their education. Likewise, it was an opportunity to applaud our dedicated faculty whose skilled teaching, advising, and mentoring has provided invaluable guidance over the last four years.

Many thanks to keynote speaker Dr. William McConnell, Assistant Professor of Education and the recipient of our 2016 Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Teaching Award. Dr. McConnell reflected on lessons learned in his years as an educator and offered several constructive tips for success.

Students were welcomed to their new graduate status by Alumni Council President Mavis McKenley '11, who invited them to pursue their lives and careers in a spirit of service, leadership, and contributions of many kinds.

Congratulations to the December Class of 2016:

Bachelor of Arts
Reid Bowman (Business)
Samantha Bowman (Environmental Science)
Eveline Bruce (Business)
Mary Connell (Comprehensive Liberal Studies)
Marco DaSilva (English)
Kristen Ellis (English)
Donna Floyd (Business)
Vona Goodpaster (Comprehensive Liberal Studies)
Brianna Graham (Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology)
Jack Hamer (Recreation and Leisure Studies)
Ericka Hayes (Earth and Environmental Science)
Aimee Haywood (History and Social Science)
Ebony Hebb (Business)
Alese Herbert (Biology)
Jason Hoernke (Criminal Justice)
Kevin Hu (Computer Science)
Tracy Hudson (Business)
Rebecca Lazzeri (English and Religious Studies)
Whitney Leliefeld (Sociology)
Matthew Murray (Criminal Justice)
Nicole Nedwick (Business)
Renee Pucky (German Studies)
Christina Raab (Psychology)
Alyssa Russ (Classical Studies)
Stephen Sawicki (Business)
Jessica Seymour (Psychology and Mathematics)
Ashley Shipman (Business and Theatre)
Stephen Soltesz (Business)
Jessica Spaulding (Criminal Justice)
Michael Springer (Art)
Jessica Traynor (Business)
Deric Trimmer (Business)
Collette Vauthier (Latin)
William Virgili (Criminal Justice and Psychology)

Bachelor of Science
Catherine Clegg (Biology)
Anthony Wiggins (Mathematics)
Paulmichael Youngmills (Computer Science)

I look forward to hearing about these graduates' many accomplishments and the great ways they will make a positive impact on the world.

View a photo gallery of the December Graduates’ Recognition Ceremony and Reception on the VWC Flickr page at:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Nice to visit and hear the perspectives of Congressman Bobby Scott at lunch today at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside.
Visiting with the Lazzeri family after our Virginia Wesleyan College December Graduates' Recognition Ceremony Sunday. Rebecca (with flowers) graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Religious Studies, magna cum laude. Of special note: In the late 1990s, while President of Wesley College in Dover, Delaware, I co-founded the first publicly funded charter school on a private college campus -- The Campus Community School. Rebecca attended elementary school there. Rebecca's mother and Annie both worked at CCS.
An enjoyable football themed gathering Sunday of Chesapeake Alumni and Friends at the beautiful home of Steve Weddle '91. Top picture, with Annie, Deborah Paxson '75, and Michael Brewer. Lower left, with Alumni Council Vice President Troy DeLawrence '93 and Alumni Council President Mavis MacKenley '11. Lower right with Steve Weddle and his father Walter.

Nota Bene: VWC/YMCA Partnership Facility Groundbreaking

Last Thursday, December 8, we broke ground for the VWC/YMCA Partnership Facility. The 6,000-square-foot building, scheduled for completion in May 2017, will be located at the entrance to the College’s Wilson Arboretum.

As a college growing and reaching out to the community for new synergistic partnerships, we are especially honored to collaborate with the YMCA on this important facility. Our goal is, together, to enrich the services we provide to our community and this campus, while affording us a facility to encourage innovative thinking and the development of new programs.

I was joined in the ceremonial shoveling by William H. “Billy” George, President and CEO of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads and a Virginia Wesleyan College Trustee, David L. Kaufman, Chair of the VWC Board of Trustees, G. Dudley Ware, Board Chair of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, and Chris Brandt, Executive Vice President of Hourigan Construction.

The facility will contain three classrooms that open into a large multi-purpose room, four offices, a reception area, kitchen, and an adjacent outdoor amphitheater with stage. The building will be used by the College during the academic year and by YMCA Camp Red Feather during the summer months.

With 300 acres of trees, trails, and the beautiful Lake Taylor, Virginia Wesleyan College provides the perfect setting for partnership with the YMCA. The campus has been home to Camp Red Feather since 2005, and each summer welcomes nearly 2,000 campers ages five to 17 to play, discover and grow at VWC. The relationship has led to various recreational additions on campus, including a treehouse and dock near Lake Taylor and the 2011 installation of the Alpine Tower—a 50-foot structure designed for climbing and teambuilding exercises.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, 17 students from Dr. Doug Kennedy's "Management of Recreation and Leisure Services" course presented a check for $5,500 to Mr. George and the Director of Development for Camp Silver Beach, Rhonda Marsh. Students raised the funds in support of the College's "Send a Kid To Camp" fund, which helps send economically disadvantaged children to Camp Silver Beach. The fund has raised more than $70,000 since its inception in 2003.

Mr. George acknowledged Dr. Kennedy for his instrumental role in bringing the two organizations together more than a decade ago. Congratulations to Professor Kennedy and his students on this outstanding achievement.

Conceptually designed by VMDO Architects and Woodard Design, the architects of record, and constructed by Hourigan Construction, the new joint-use facility will complement the Virginia Wesleyan’s forthcoming Greer Environmental Sciences Center, scheduled for completion in fall 2017.

Photos from the groundbreaking and check presentation can be viewed on the VWC Flickr page at:

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Many thanks to Mary Kurzenknabe '17 (left, soprano) and Ajee Church '16 (center, piano) for their beautiful performance of Virginia Wesleyan's Alma Mater during the December Graduates' Recognition Ceremony this afternoon.
Proud to welcome 35 students to the ranks of Virginia Wesleyan alumni today during the December Graduates' Recognition Ceremony and Reception. Pictured here with the platform party, (from left) Rev. Greg West, Chaplain, Dr. Kathy Merlock Jackson, College Marshall and Professor of Communication, Mavis McKenley '11, Alumni Council President, Dr. Timothy O'Rourke, Provost and Vice President, and Assistant Professor of Education Dr. William McConnell, keynote speaker and recipient of the College's 2016 Samuel Nelson Gray Award. I wish these graduates the very best and look forward to hearing about their many accomplishments and the great ways they will make a positive impact on the world.
Beautiful morning on the Chesapeake Bay in wonderful Coastal Virginia.
Great article in the Daily Press about the exciting new Guaranteed Admission Agreement recently formalized between Virginia Wesleyan College and Thomas Nelson Community College:

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Feliz Navidad with Chaplain Greg West and the Marlin Ministries singers.
Annie and I, along with Professor Jill Sturts' Recreation and Leisure students, hosted the Virginia Wesleyan College Children's Christmas Celebration in Jane P. Batten Student Center.
This week's edition of the @vawesleyan newsletter:
Virginia Wesleyan has selected the ninth class of its Athletic Hall of Fame: Rebecca Leedom Bradford '10 – Volleyball (2007-2010), Cara N. Byrd '06 – Field Hockey (2003-06), Christine M. Clancy Davis '07 – Field Hockey and Women’s Lacrosse (2003-07), Gary DePalma – Men’s Soccer (1994-1997) and Megan Parris '06 – Women’s Lacrosse and Women’s Soccer (2002-05). These five Marlins are among the best of the best from VWC’s athletic history. They will be inducted during a special ceremony on February 4, 2017. Read more:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Great to meet Bill Miller '09 and update him about the exciting progress at the College. Bill works as a Human Resources Administrator at Fairlead Integrated. His brother, Eric, graduated in 2013 and their father Jerry is a former member of the College's Board of Trustees.
Pictured here at the installation of the new members of the Society for Collegiate Journalists at Virginia Wesleyan College: (from left) Courtney Herrick, SCJ President, Lori Crouch, Director of Corporate Communications for the City of Norfolk, and Dr. Lisa Lyon Payne, SCJ Advisor. Inductees include Katherine Bishop, Jasmine Driggs, Ashlei Gates, Cynthia Griffin, Hayley Heath, Corey King, Victoria Laughlin, Valerie Miller, and Justin Smith.
Pleasure to meet with Mike Ginder, Head Coach for Virginia Wesleyan's new Men's and Women's Swimming program. Recruiting is currently underway and competition is expected to begin in fall 2017.
Several deserving children will have the chance to attend YMCA Camp Silver Beach on the Eastern Shore this summer, thanks to the fundraising efforts of VWC students in Dr. Doug Kennedy’s recreation and leisure course. It was truly a pleasure to present a check for $5,500 to VWC Trustee Billy George, President and CEO of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads. Also pictured is Rhonda Marsh, Director of Development for Camp Silver Beach (far left).

Exciting to break ground yesterday on the VWC/YMCA Partnership Facility. Pictured here (top) with Billy George, President and CEO of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads and a Virginia Wesleyan College Trustee, and (bottom, from left) Chris Brandt, Executive Vice President of Hourigan Construction, Billy George, Dudley Ware, Board Chair of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, and David Kaufman, Chair of the VWC Board of Trustees. The 6,000-square-foot facility, which will be located at the entrance to Wilson Arboretum, is scheduled for completion by May 2017. It will serve YMCA Camp Red Feather and Virginia Wesleyan’s expanding academic needs.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Enjoyed talking professional basketball, international marketing and online strategy at lunch today with Christine Pantoya, Senior Vice President of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Good to visit with David Arris '87 of Willard Insurance Agency of Nationwide Insurance at today's Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.

Nota Bene: Best Wishes For Final Exams

It’s hard to believe that Friday marks the last day of classes for Virginia Wesleyan’s fall semester. I wish all students, faculty and staff well as we head into final examinations.

Students, we realize that this can be a stressful time of year. Please know that all of us at Virginia Wesleyan are here to support you. I encourage you to bring any specific questions or concerns to your professors and academic advisors, and remember, there are many resources available to help you navigate final projects and manage stress—among them are the
Learning Center, Hofheimer Library, and the Student Counseling Center.

We have some exciting activities planned for the next several days. If you are able, please join us for Virginia Wesleyan's Annual Christmas Tree Lighting on Friday, December 9 (4:30 p.m., Campus Lawn behind Godwin Hall). We’ll sing carols, light candles and drink hot cocoa and cider before lighting the tree. Our Late-night Breakfast, another VWC tradition, will take place Monday, December 12 (10 p.m., Boyd Dining Center). Come relax and unwind, and I'll be happy to serve you up some pancakes and eggs.

Best wishes to everyone for a successful conclusion of the fall semester, and special good-luck wishes to all students.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Introducing "Selfie," a large-scale mural recently brought to life in the Marlin Grille as part of a partnership between the Jane P. Batten Student Center and Professor John Rudel's advanced painting class. I was proud to serve on the panel of judges who selected this concept by VWC senior Caitlyn Hogge. She worked to make her vision a reality alongside classmates Josh Cherry, Catalina Jones, Mary McLaughlin, Matt Springer, and Jennifer Taylor. Great job, Marlins—Virginia Wesleyan College is a vibrant place to live and learn!
Virginia Wesleyan students are proudly celebrating their diversity as part of the nationwide #IAmAnImmigrant movement. The project was led by VWC's Latino Student Alliance in collaboration with the African Student Association in effort to highlight the history of immigration in the United States. This powerful collection of photos is on display in the Jane P. Batten Student Center near the Chaplain's Office.

Nota Bene: Winter Session

Last January, 614 students enrolled in Virginia Wesleyan’s annual Winter Session. This impressive number encompasses about half of our traditional full-time student population, and it’s no mystery why. Here are some of the many benefits of this three-week credit-bearing term taking place January 4-26.

Passion: Winter Session allows for focus on a single academic subject without distraction from other courses or commitments. Students enjoy the concentrated format, and faculty have the opportunity to design and try something new and different.

Productivity: Winter Session is an excellent opportunity for students to either get ahead or catch up in their coursework—and sometimes it can even play a critical role in timely degree completion. In addition to four-credit courses, it provides supplemental one-credit courses as well as non-credit workshops and experiences. It can also be a great time to start a double major or pick up a minor.

Practicality: Students enrolled full time for the fall and spring semesters may take up to five credits during Winter Session without charge beyond a $225 registration and any associated materials and travel expenses.
Read more about the affordability of Winter Session.

Play: Winter Session features a series of special events, lectures and eclectic performances, most of which are free and open to the public.

Registration is still open for Winter Session and will remain open through the first day of classes on January 4 (with the exception of travel courses carrying earlier deadlines). I encourage interested students to speak to their academic advisors if they'd like to participate.

Special thanks to Dr. Susan Wansink, Director of Winter Session and Professor of German, for coordinating this outstanding offering that both complements and strengthens Virginia Wesleyan's academic program. I urge all faculty and staff to continue exploring ways that we might expand this valuable program in the future.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Celebrated my father's (Dr. Rudolph "Rudy" Miller) 90th birthday with him today in Plano, Texas.
It was wonderful to catch up with Mike Rawls '91 in Dallas, Texas, this morning.  Mike played men's basketball for the Marlins and is a loyal supporter and follower of the program.  He is Executive Vice President of Nationstar Mortgage in Dallas. His wife, Lisa, is also a VWC grad.  Click here to see a list of cities and dates I will be visiting in the coming months or email to schedule an event in your city.

Nota Bene: Thomas Nelson Community College Admission Agreement

I’m pleased to share that an exciting new Guaranteed Admission Agreement has been formalized between Virginia Wesleyan College and Thomas Nelson Community College.

The agreement facilitates the transfer of students from associate degree programs at TNCC to programs for degree completion at Virginia Wesleyan. Admission to the College will be guaranteed for any TNCC student who meets the articulated criteria, and merit scholarships will be awarded to transferring students based on cumulative grade point average.

We were delighted to welcome Thomas Nelson Community College leadership to campus for the Nov. 21 signing ceremony. Among those in attendance were President John T. Dever, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs Charles B. Swaim, Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Kris Rarig, and Dean of Communications, Humanities, and Social Sciences Patrick Tompkins. Guests from VWC included Provost and Vice President Timothy O’Rourke, Assistant Provost Deborah Hicks, and Associate Dean for Enrollment Beth Clarke.
View Photo

Special thanks to all who made this collaborative effort possible. This is yet another example of what makes Virginia Wesleyan Coastal Virginia's premier private, national liberal arts college.

Monday, December 5, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting this morning with CNN Political Analyst Dr. Larry Sabato. Virginia Wesleyan College Board member Dr. Linda Glover moderated a President's Agenda Day session featuring Dr. Sabato at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges meeting. A native of Norfolk, Dr. Sabato is Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.
Our own Virginia Wesleyan College Board member Dr. Linda Glover moderating a President's Agenda Day session featuring CNN Political Analyst Dr. Larry Sabato at the SACS-COC. Dr. Sabato is Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics. Dr. Glover's daughter, Patrice, attends VWC.

Nota Bene: Conference Addresses Critical Issues for Higher Education

Last week I was honored to serve on a panel addressing current and critical higher-education issues at the conference of the Virginia Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers (VACRAO) in Newport News. Joining me were Dr. Nancy Gray, President of Hollins University, and Dr. Taylor Reveley, III, President of The College of William and Mary.

Among the issues discussed were college cost, value, and affordability; the challenges of keeping abreast of classroom technology; the future of traditional liberal arts institutions; and balancing student security, wellness, and privacy.

It was good to be able to share some insights with Virginia Wesleyan representatives to the conference and their colleagues from throughout the Commonwealth, and very encouraging during the panel discussion to learn that other distinguished institutions share the challenges of remaining accessible and competitive.

It is also clear that given our exceptional location minutes from the ocean, a beautiful and still-developing campus, outstanding faculty and devoted staff, and admirable reputation as a national, liberal arts college, that Virginia Wesleyan will remain in the forefront of other institutions of top choice and obvious quality.

I look forward to sharing insights with you as I continue to participate in regional and national gatherings of our higher-education colleagues.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

I enjoyed visiting tonight with ABC's John Quiñones ("What Would You Do?"), keynote speaker to delegates at the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, meeting in Atlanta. John has a fascinating career, starting as a general assignment correspondent with ABC News based in Miami. He was a co-anchor of the ABC News program, Primetime and now hosts What Would You Do? He also reports for all ABC News programs such as 20/20, Good Morning America, ABC World News Tonight and Nightline.
My monthly column in The Virginian-Pilot, "The true risks to higher education":

Friday, December 2, 2016

"Chat and Chew" today in the Princess Anne Room (President's Dining Room) with the staff of the campus based Volunteer Hampton Roads.
Outstanding performances tonight by The Wesleyan Singers, The Wesleyan Chorale, The Wesleyan Jazz Ensemble, The Wesleyan Guitar Ensemble, and The Tapestry Handbell Ensemble at "A Wesleyan Christmas" in the Edward D. Hofheimer Theater.
With Nick Maniaci, Corporate Executive of ADP, and Chris Brandt, Executive Vice President of Hourigan Construction, at today's ribbon cutting for the new ADP Corporate Center in Norfolk. The downtown facility will bring at least 1,800 new jobs to the area. Chris Brandt and Hourigan Construction have been partners with Virginia Wesleyan on a variety of campus construction projects.

Nota Bene: Tidewater Community Academy Partnership

I am pleased to announce a new educational partnership that will enrich the learning experiences of Virginia Wesleyan’s teacher-education students while generating revenue and providing additional opportunities for enrollment at the College.

We have signed an agreement with Tidewater Community Academy, which currently serves students from the fourth through 12th grades, that provides rented space on our campus to expand their programming in ways that will benefit their educational mission and our own. Utilizing some classroom and administrative areas of Pruden Hall and the soon-to-be-constructed YMCA Partnership Building, the Academy will function as an on-campus laboratory school for our teacher-education students who currently travel to the school’s Chesapeake location.

Additionally, the partnership agreement calls for establishing an early college-entrance program, permitting senior students at the Academy to take courses here and earn college credits. Our expectation is that many of these students will be strong contenders for continued enrollment at Virginia Wesleyan.

Special thanks to Dr. Hilve Firek and Dr. Malcolm Lively of our Education Department for facilitating this partnership and providing excellent guidance in the formation of the agreement.

We look forward to welcoming the Academy in July as we begin this historic collaboration of educational benefit.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Funeral Arrangements for Professor Emeritus Jim Harris

We have received word of funeral arrangements for Dr. James F. “Jim” Harris, VWC Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, who passed away Tuesday afternoon.

Dr. Harris' service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 6, at Virginia Beach United Methodist Church, 212 19th Street, Virginia Beach, VA 23451. A light reception will follow in the fellowship hall at which time guests may greet the family.

A visitation is also scheduled for 7:00-8:30 p.m. on Monday, December 5, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Home, 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23454. Please continue to keep Jim's family in your thoughts.
Libby & Art can take off their hat and scarf on the Virginia Wesleyan College campus in Virginia Beach—temps in the 70s here this week! Learn more about this dynamic duo and the power of a liberal arts education at #LiberalArtsPower #HigherEd #LiberalArts