Friday, April 28, 2017

Visiting with Friends at ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering & Technology

Enjoyed visiting and showing off our new Greer Environmental Sciences Center to our friends from Old Dominion University's Frank Batten College of Engineering & Technology. Pictured with Virginia Wesleyan's David Waggoner, Vice President for Enrollment, and Dr. Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost, and Old Dominion's Dr. Stephanie Adams, Dean, and Rafael Landaeta, Associate Dean.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Chesapeake State of the City

Senior Vice President Mort Gamble and I attended the Chesapeake State of the City this afternoon, where we caught up with Bryan Stephens, President/CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber, and Max Bartholomew, Regional Policy Director for Dominion Virginia Power. Mayor Alan Krasnoff highlighted business development initiatives, outlined strategic progress updates, and shared plans for Chesapeake's future.

Collaboration with Virginia Beach Public Schools

Great to discuss collaborative opportunities with leadership from Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Pictured during a tour of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center: David Waggoner, Vice President for Enrollment, Dr. Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost, Dr. Aaron Spence, VBCPS Superintendent, Dr. Amy Cashwell, VBCPS Chief Academic Officer, Dr. James Pohl, VBCPS Executive Director of Secondary Teaching and Learning, and Dr. Marc Bergin, VBCPS Chief of Staff.

Nota Bene: Music with a Message

On Friday evening, April 28, the Virginia Wesleyan Choirs will explore, through song and imagery, the stories of millions of refugees who throughout history have sought protection and security in our country. “Yearning to Breathe Free” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hofheimer Theater. Attendance is free to all, and no reservations are required.

Under the leadership of Dr. Bryson Mortensen, Director of Choral Music, the performance will take a historical look at Jewish refugees during World War II, Irish refugees during the Potato Famine, the current Syrian Refugee Crisis, and the recent Haitian Refugee Crisis. The Virginia Wesleyan Singers and the Virginia Wesleyan Chorale will sing traditional music of the refugees’ home countries as visual projections display the social and political views of the respective times. George Stone, Applied Music Specialist and Accompanist, will join on piano.

Dr. Mortensen tells me that the concert will address a general fear of the unknown. In a letter included in the event program, he writes: “It is always a challenge to learn about and become familiar with someone whose history and culture is so different from our own. To alleviate this, we will present music that comes from the home countries from whom we’ve accepted refugees. These songs do not focus on the plight of a refugee, but simply seek to help us become more familiar with the lives of the people who are seeking refuge in the United States.”

As part of the evening, gently used items and financial contributions will be collected to support refugees in our local communities. Specific needs include various home items, including sewing machines, vacuums, and kitchen tools. All donations will be distributed through the Peninsula Islamic Community Center (PICC) with coordination by Dr. Antje Schwennicke, Assistant Professor of Political Science.

Thank you to Drs. Mortensen and Schwennicke, Mr. Stone, and the following members of the Virginia Wesleyan Singers and the Virginia Wesleyan Chorale for bringing this timely and immensely valuable program to our campus.

Gabriela Ayala            William Lanagan

Jeannie Barnes             Tabitha Lowell
Myles Baynard            Gwendolynn Malone
Adrian Benn                Estasnislao Martinez
Deidra Benn                Devin Pee
Alexandra Bodicky     Marissa Phillips
Morgan Boyd              Tamia Ponder
Eve Craig                    Emily Powers
Andrew DeLuca          Thomas Reinhold
Shelby Emch               Laura Robusto
Lance Garrett              Joshua Simmons
Patrice Glover             Taylor Simpson
Marissa Gross             Tara Truax
Andrew Harrelson       Joy Vernon
Nicholas Hipple          Amanda Waller
Azania Inman             Amber Ward
Robert Jones               Atrayeau Ward
Jonathan Joyner          Cora Wilson
Adam Kurek                Michael Wilson

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Marlin SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in this week's edition of Marlin SportSplash:

Nota Bene: Celebrating Employee Milestones

People are any organization's greatest asset. And we are incredibly fortunate to have great people at Virginia Wesleyan—people who are committed to our institution and its mission.

Last Friday we honored 22 employees who have reached special milestones in their Virginia Wesleyan careers—from those who have reached 10 years of service to those who have been here for 30 years! Congratulations to these employees, listed below, and thank you for all that you do for Virginia Wesleyan every day. Read more about the Employee Appreciation Reception on the Virginia Wesleyan
website and view the photo gallery.

30 Years of Service
Linda Ferguson, Professor of Management, Business and Economics
Bill Gibson, Professor of Political Science
Vivian Teter, Professor of English
Mavel Velasco, Batten Professor of Spanish
Denise Wilkinson, Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning

25 Years of Service
Karen Devereaux, Library Circulation Supervisor
Clay Drees, Professor of History
Steven Emmanuel, Professor of Philosophy
Teresa Rhyne ’92, Director of Financial Aid

20 Years of Service
John Aird ’07, Senior Technologist/IT Project Manager
Chris Haley, Kenneth R. Perry Dean of the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences and Professor of Earth Science
Don Stauffer, Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst
Marcia Williams, Network Administrator/Business Analyst Lead

10 Years of Service
Christine Creameans, Administrative Assistant to the Registrar
Brandon Elliott ’03, Head Softball Coach
Lori Harris ’94, Executive Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations
Stephen Hock, Associate Professor of English
Jerry Mance, Director of Campus Security
Eric Mazur, Gloria and David Furman Professor of Judaic Studies and Center for the Study of Religious Freedom Fellow
Chris Mills ’06, Head Men’s Soccer Coach
Timothy O’Rourke, Provost and Vice President
Josh Weinstein, Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program
It is fitting to share this information with you today, as our country celebrates Administrative Professionals' Day. Thank you to our administrative staff for the valuable skills and support you bring to our institution. Your hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed, and I am grateful for all that you do.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

VWC Criminal Justice Instructor in CBS Crime Series

Tonight at 10 p.m., tune in to the CBS premiere of "48 Hours: NCIS” featuring Virginia Wesleyan criminal justice instructor Dennis Santos. The six-part series will cover some of the biggest cases handled by the real-life Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Photo Gallery: Time Capsule Placement Ceremony

View the photos from last Friday's Time Capsule Placement Ceremony at the Greer Environmental Sciences Center:

Nota Bene: Greer Environmental Sciences Center Time Capsule Ceremony

A little over a year ago, we broke ground for the Greer Environmental Sciences Center. We have watched and waited excitedly as the great beams were put into place, walls and roof work were completed, and systems were installed. Last Friday, we honored the tradition of placing a time capsule within its walls. Holding some of today’s treasures for tomorrow’s discovery, the time capsule contains student reflections, an edition of the Marlin Chronicle, and other items that speak to who we are today as a campus community.

We are grateful to all who joined us for this historic event, including Trustee Emerita Jane Batten, Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong and his wife, Sue, Trustee Butch Everett and his wife, Carol, Trustee Susan Goode, Trustee Anne Shumadine, Trustee and Chair of our Alumni Council, Mavis McKenley ’11, and former President Billy Greer and his wife, Fann.

This 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility will be second to none of any institution in the study of marine sciences, ecology, and preservation and sustainability of the natural world. When the time capsule is opened in the year 2042, the Greer Environmental Sciences Center will have served Virginia Wesleyan University for a quarter-century; will have made valuable contributions to the body of scientific research and knowledge pertaining to our natural home on the Chesapeake watershed; and will have become a meeting point for the sharing of ideas and perspective on the environment and many other dimensions of the Virginia Wesleyan academic experience and expertise.

The Greer Environmental Sciences Center honors former president Billy Greer’s advocacy for the sciences and commitment to sustainability. It also marks the College's declaration to society and the larger academic community that Virginia Wesleyan is resolved to be a premier liberal arts institution in the field of environmental science. The Batten Honors College and the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences will be special beneficiaries of this beautiful building. 

Thank you to those who made the time capsule ceremony possible, especially to Executive Vice President of Hourigan Construction Chris Brandt and our insightful event speakers, Associate Provost Maynard Schaus and Virginia Wesleyan students Rachael Pan and Stephanie Reidell. Photos from this special occasion are available on the Virginia Wesleyan Flickr page at:

This is a building for all of us—a building that looks to the future, that will play a central role in the learning and living that define our campus community, and that symbolizes our institutional commitment to environmental study and stewardship. We look forward to opening the Center this summer and dedicating it on Founders Day this fall.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Kicking Off the Marlin Prestige

Virginia Wesleyan’s student-led business conference, “The Marlin Prestige,” started tonight and will continue throughout the week (April 24-28). Our campus community and guests from the Coastal Virginia region are invited to participate in workshops, presentations, and interactive panels that embrace the spring 2017 theme, “The Pathway to Success: People, Process, and Performance.” Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Jon Pruden, Co-Owner and President of Taste Unlimited, was the keynote opening speaker. Pictured with Paul Ewell, Chair of the Management, Business, and Economics Department and Director of the MBA Program, Kathryn Reavis, CEO of The Marlin Prestige Conference, and Jon Pruden.

"Chat n' Chew" with IT Services

Great catching up with our IT Services staff over a "Chat n' Chew" lunch today. I appreciate their hard work and innovative strategies to keep our campus technology modern and user-friendly for our students, faculty and staff. Pictured (from left): Greg Baptiste, Marcia Williams, John Aird, Robin Takacs, Glenn Johnson, Terry Critser, and Scott Harvey.

​Nota Bene: Spring 2017 Business Conference

Virginia Wesleyan’s student-led business conference, “The Marlin Prestige,” begins today and will continue throughout the week (April 24-28). Our campus community and guests from the Coastal Virginia region are invited to participate in workshops, presentations, and interactive panels that embrace the spring 2017 theme, “The Pathway to Success: People, Process, and Performance.”

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

Throughout the semester I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with many of our outstanding conference participants, including student leaders Kathryn Reavis (Chief Executive Officer), Ulia Nelson (Chief Operations Officer), Nicholas Hipple (Chief Information Officer), and Michelle Carter (Chief Marketing Officer), and team members Lawrence Graves (Director of Financial Planning), Lisa (Brown) Morton (Advertising Director), and Peter Scrimgeour (Art Director). Along with fellow students and Virginia Wesleyan business faculty, this group has worked hard to create a conference that educates our community on the importance of marketing, finance, operations, and management in the professional world.

I’m also pleased to share that Virginia Wesleyan Trustees Jon Pruden, Co-Owner and President of Taste Unlimited, and Ken Trinder, CEO and President of EOS Systems, are among this semester’s guest speakers. They join presenters Chris Dotolo '91, Financial Advisor at Edward Jones, Bob Groves, Founder of Bob Groves Coaching, and Virginia Wesleyan's own Dr. Travis Malone, Dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities and Professor of Theatre.

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

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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Marlin Baseball Seniors

With baseball seniors Taylor Erby (4), Justin Erby (1), C.J. Lindsay (8), Austin Gammon (11), Riley Koonce (29), and Patt Barrett (20) before the start of the Emory & Henry game.

Erby Receives Elmo Acey Memorial Award

Senior Justin Erby received the Elmo Acey Memorial Award as Virginia Wesleyan's Outstanding Baseball Player. He has batted .317 in 134 career games for the Marlins and is hitting .414 with five home runs this season.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Recognizing Softball Seniors

Today we recognized three seniors who have been instrumental in the success of the Virginia Wesleyan softball program. They are the winningest class in Virginia Wesleyan history with a record of 144-23 and 71-5 in ODAC play. Pictured: Blake Henderson, Liz Bailey, and Kasey Newcomb. The Marlins are 39-1 and ranked No. 1 in the country.

Senior Day at the Everett Tennis Center

Senior day at the Everett Tennis Center as we recognized captain Brendan Kelleher.

Retiring a Softball Standout's Jersey

A special day at Virginia Wesleyan as we retired the jersey of former standout Tori Higginbotham (2011-14), a three-time softball All-American. Joining us for the picture, Tori's father, Tim, and Joanne Renn, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Proud Marlin Parent Joe Esposito

Nice to visit with proud Marlin parent Joe Esposito at today's doubleheader. Joe is Assistant Basketball Coach at the University of Memphis. His son, Jordon, is a sophomore first baseman at Virginia Wesleyan. Joining us for the picture is Joanne Renn, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Time Capsule Placement Ceremony: Greer Environmental Sciences Center

This morning we placed a time capsule within the walls of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center. The sealed box—which contains student reflections, an edition of the Marlin Chronicle, and other items that speak to who we are today as a campus community—will be opened in the year 2042. Thank you to all who made this special day possible, including those pictured: Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost, Billy Greer, former Virginia Wesleyan President, Chris Brandt, Executive Vice President of Hourigan Construction, and Eric Harrison, Hourigan Construction.

​Nota Bene: Professor Mazur Receives 2017 VFIC Mednick Fellowship

I am proud to share that Dr. Eric Mazur, Gloria and David Furman Professor of Judaic Studies and Center for the Study of Religious Freedom Fellow, has been awarded the 2017 Maurice L. Mednick Memorial Fellowship by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges for his project, “Portugal & American Jewish History.”

Through his research, Dr. Mazur seeks to investigate the legacy of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who was instrumental in the 1940 rescue of 30,000 European refugees, including 10,000 Jews. The $2,250 grant will support his travel to various sites throughout Portugal, including Sousa Mendes' family home, as research for the preparation of a book-length manuscript.

Dr. Mazur has been on the faculty at Virginia Wesleyan since 2007. He teaches courses on Judaism, religion in American culture, and the academic study of religion. His specific interests include religion and American law, religion and popular culture, and Judaism in the American South. He joined the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom in 2014 as the fellow for religion, law and politics.

The Maurice L. Mednick Memorial was created in 1967 in honor of a young Norfolk industrialist who died from accidental causes and whose family and business associates wished to perpetuate his name by establishing a memorial that would emphasize his and the donors’ strong interest in higher education. Administration of the Mednick Memorial Fund is vested in the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges to encourage the professional development of college professors and improve their academic competence through fellowships for research and advanced study.

Please join me in congratulating to Dr. Mazur on this prestigious award. He joins an impressive group of Virginia Wesleyan faculty members who have earned this designation throughout the years. I am honored to work among such talented individuals who are so strongly committed to excellence in both teaching and scholarship.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Erik Cofer '90 Visits Campus

Erik Cofer '90 visited Virginia Wesleyan today from Cape Henry Collegiate, where he teaches environmental sciences. While on campus, he stopped in to say hello to Professor Larry Hultgren.

Collaboration with Cape Henry

Great to discuss collaborative opportunities today with leadership from Cape Henry Collegiate. We shared details about our transition to University status, our early enrollment and advanced scholars programs, and toured the nearly completed Greer Environmental Sciences Center. Joining us for the afternoon was Erik Cofer, a 1990 VWC graduate who now serves as an environmental sciences faculty member at Cape Henry!

Marketing the Marlin Prestige

Discussed promotional tactics for "The Marlin Prestige" this morning with marketing team leaders Lisa (Brown) Morton and Peter Scrimgeour, both junior business majors at Virginia Wesleyan. The student-led business conference is taking place on campus April 24-28 with a theme of "Pathway to Success: People, Process, and Performance." View the schedule:

Nota Bene: Changes in the Division of Finance and Administration

I write this morning to inform you of changes forthcoming in the Division of Finance and Administration. Since my arrival in 2015, Cary Sawyer has loyally served as Vice President for Finance and Administration. He has over 23 years of service in the business and finance area of the College. Cary recently shared with me his desire to transition out of the position, upon the selection of a successor.

A valued, longtime member of the President's Cabinet, Cary has led the finances of the College admirably through the last two years of campus transformation, major new construction, and continuing economic recovery from the recession and sequestration. We thank him for his service.

I am pleased to report that Jim Cooper, Associate Vice President for Finance at Arcadia University, will join us as Vice President for Finance and Administration starting in May. Arcadia is a comprehensive private university with an enrollment of 2,800 in suburban Philadelphia and over 3,000 students at branch campuses and centers around the world. Jim previously served 16 years as Associate Vice President for Finance at Ursinus College, a highly selective liberal arts college with an enrollment of 1,650 in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. He holds a Master of Business Administration from La Salle University, Philadelphia, with a concentration in finance. His undergraduate degree in business administration is from Temple University.

We welcome Jim's expertise and perspective at this critical time of long-range planning and program growth as Virginia Wesleyan transitions to university status, completes next phases of the capital campaign, expands the endowment, and navigates the increasing regulatory climate in higher education.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Congressman Bobby Scott (D-3rd District)

Great visit with Congressman Bobby Scott (D-3rd District) at today's Portsmouth State of the City luncheon.

Virginia Wesleyan Grad Bob Dwyer '95

Good to visit with Virginia Wesleyan grad Bob Dwyer '95 at the Portsmouth State of the City luncheon. Bob is an account executive with WAVY-TV.

Portsmouth State of the City

With Mayor John Rowe and Virginia Wesleyan Senior Vice President Mort Gamble at today's Portsmouth State of the City luncheon at the Renaissance Portsmouth/Norfolk.

Marlin SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in this week's edition of Marlin SportSplash:

Nota Bene: Army ROTC Marlin Detachment Recognized

Last week I attended the 42nd Annual President’s Review and Awards Ceremony for the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) Monarch Battalion at Old Dominion University. I’m proud to share that four Virginia Wesleyan cadets—members of the Marlin Detachment—were recognized with awards at this event.

Congratulations to Virginia Wesleyan junior Jake Morgan, who received the ROTC Recognition Award; sophomore Gavin Fry, who received the Sons of the American Revolution Award, the award for Outstanding Virginia Wesleyan Cadet, and the Iron Man Award; junior Joseph Fairbanks, who received the American Legion Award and the Outstanding Basic Course Cadet Award; and junior Rolanda Taylor, who received the award for Outstanding Varsity Athlete.

Army ROTC Marlin Detachment operates as part of ODU’s Monarch Battalion. Through an elective curriculum, participating students receive valuable tools, training, and leadership experiences that not only may lead to military service but also become assets in any career. Students also have access to an ROTC grant of $1,000 that can be applied to tuition during their freshman and sophomore years.

Many thanks to Amy Rush, who has served as the advisor to our ROTC students since 2012. It gives me great pride to know that Virginia Wesleyan is providing a top-notch experiential education through our affiliation with ROTC.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Dinner with Trustee Chip Tsantes '83

Enjoyable dinner tonight with Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Chip Tsantes '83 at the Trump National Golf Club Washington, D.C.

CIC Workshop: Securing America's Future

With a team of academic administrators from Virginia Wesleyan attending the Council of Independent Colleges’ “Securing America's Future” workshop today at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. Pictured: Dr. Sara Sewell (Executive Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan), Dr. Timothy O’Rourke (Provost and Vice President), Dr. Maynard Schaus (Associate Provost), Dr. Richard Ekman (President of the CIC), and Debbie Hicks (Assistant Provost).

Progress continues on the Frank Blocker Youth Center

Progress continues on the Frank Blocker Youth Center at YMCA Camp Red Feather! The facility, located on campus near the entrance to Wilson Arboretum, is on track for a June opening.

Hampton Roads Community Foundation Military Hiring Event

The Hampton Roads Community Foundation sponsored the first military hiring event in Hampton Roads in February in cooperation with the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Fleet & Family Support Center. Virginia Wesleyan College was proud to host this important event.

Watch the video:

Nota Bene: Opus Summer Work Program

Research indicates that students who work while attending college are more likely to graduate, feel better prepared for the workforce through development of leadership skills, and become more active and engaged citizens. At colleges like Virginia Wesleyan, a work program can provide not only a meaningful learning experience, but it can also reduce debt and make higher education more affordable. It is for these reasons that I’m pleased to announce the establishment of Opus, a summer work program for our students.

The Opus work program will serve approximately 20 students with financial need who would like to continue their studies at Virginia Wesleyan. Preference will be given to rising sophomores and juniors with a personal account balance owed of $2,000 to $3,000, and who also demonstrate, in addition to financial need, a commitment to academic studies and campus involvement.

Participating students will have the opportunity to live on campus in Brock Village and will be provided with a modest meal plan. They will begin their duties following May Commencement and will work 25 hours per week for a period of 13 weeks. Projects will focus on corrective maintenance, grounds and landscaping, and general campus beautification efforts.

The major goals and expected outcomes from the Opus program are to ensure the completion of a liberal arts education for students with limited financial resources; to develop strong work ethic, communication and problem-solving skills; to give our graduates the professional/technical knowledge essential for their work and the executive skills required to plan, organize and prioritize tasks; to build a reliable source of workers who are knowledgeable, skilled, and likely to remain in the region; and to increase campus pride among students. Eventually, I would like to expand this program to include meaningful work opportunities during the academic year.

As I've outlined in my two State of the College addresses, recruitment and retention of students are the central goals of our enrollment plan and vital to the overall budgetary health of Virginia Wesleyan. Just as important, we need to be alert to opportunities that enrich our students' experiences through expanded academic and co-curricular options. I am confident that Opus will serve as a valuable tool in creating greater financial stability and ease for a number of our students. It is my goal to provide each student who arrives on our campus with all the tools they need to walk across that stage on Commencement Day—a Virginia Wesleyan degree in hand.

Special thanks to Dr. Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs, Jason Seward, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, and Rob Levinsky, Director of Physical Plant Operations, for taking the lead on this very important initiative. Should you have any questions about the Opus program application process, please contact these staff members directly.

Monday, April 17, 2017

From Marlin to NBA General Manager

Great Sports Illustrated article on Sam Presti, general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sam attended Virginia Wesleyan and played basketball for the Marlins from 1995-97. (Photo courtesy, Sue Orgocki/AP)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Testament Scholar Dr. Ben Witherington III

So enjoyed visiting with New Testament scholar Dr. Ben Witherington III while he on campus earlier this month as keynote speaker for the Boyd Institute. You can watch Ben on CNN's "Finding Jesus" series:

Easter Wishes

Warmest Easter wishes to our Virginia Wesleyan family.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Construction Near Campus

Thanks to pilot Keith Smith of Air Center Helicopters, based at Signature Flight Support—Norfolk International Airport (ORF), for this panoramic photo of construction at Norfolk Premium Outlets, the airfield at ORF, the Chesapeake Bay and beyond.

Friday, April 14, 2017

A Visit with Long-Time Trustee Tom Broyles

I enjoyed visiting today with long-time Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Tom Broyles. Broyles Hall in the Honors Village is named after Tom.

Strike Out Cancer Raises $100K for Cancer Research

GO MARLINS! Virginia Wesleyan's softball program, under the leadership of Head Coach Brandon Elliott, raised a record total of $20,004 through their Ninth Annual Strike Out Cancer event on April 8. This brings the team's overall total to $102,417 raised for the American Cancer Society. Outstanding!

"Innocent Objects" Exhibit Comes to a Close

I was honored to be at the closing reception for the "Innocent Objects" exhibit in Virginia Wesleyan's Neil Britton Art Gallery. Pictured with Professor John Rudel, the artist, Luisa Adelfio, and her husband, Dr. Erik Neil, Director of The Chrysler Museum of Art.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Army ROTC Marlin Detachment Recognized

It was an honor to attend the 42nd Annual President's Review and Awards Ceremony today for the U.S. Army ROTC Monarch Battalion at Old Dominion University. We were proud to be there for the recognition of several outstanding Virginia Wesleyan students. Pictured: Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs, Amy Rush, Advisor to the Army ROTC Marlin Detachment, Jake Morgan (ROTC Recognition Award), Gavin Fry (Sons of the American Revolution Award, Outstanding Virginia Wesleyan Cadet, Iron Man Award), and Joseph Fairbanks (American Legion Award, Outstanding Basic Course Cadet Award). Not pictured: Rolanda Taylor (Outstanding Varsity Athlete).

Cabinet on the Road with Governor McAuliffe

Enjoyable lunch today with Governor Terry McAuliffe and Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. Discussions surrounded all areas of Coastal Virginia industry and shaping the future of the Commonwealth.

This week's @vawesleyan

Read about our transition to University status, our Summer Session course offerings, and how you can honor the past or celebrate the future of Virginia Wesleyan with a personally inscribed brick paver. All that and more in today's edition of @vawesleyan:

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It's #NationalLibraryWeek!

Representatives from area libraries are on campus today in our own Hofheimer Library signing up students, faculty and staff for public library cards. Chief Information Officer Robert Leitgeb and I visited the Norfolk Public Library table to sign up for new cards!

Nota Bene: Summer Session at Virginia Wesleyan

Since arriving at Virginia Wesleyan, I have underscored the importance of expanding our Summer and Winter Sessions. Development of these programs contributes to retention and cohort graduation rates, and creates a thriving year-round campus.

From Pixar films and environmental policy analysis to evolutionary psychology and modern mathematics, our 2017 Summer Session will offer students the chance to explore new areas of study, earn credits toward graduation and accelerate their path to a degree. Summer Session will also provide valuable opportunities for independent research, internships and study-away—to places like New York, Costa Rica and Alaska.

With affordable costs and multiple sessions from which to choose, students can earn up to 12 credits in course work, independent research or internship credit while enjoying benefits of being close to the area's many attractions. To accommodate busy schedules, our Summer Session will be offered in three terms:

Summer Session 1: May 23-June 30, 2017 (5.5 weeks)
Summer Session 2: May 23-August 23, 2017 (13 weeks)
Summer Session 3: July 10-August 16, 2017 (5.5 weeks)

Special thanks to Dr. Deirdre Gonsalves-Jackson, Director of Summer and Winter Sessions and Associate Professor of Biology, for coordinating this outstanding offering that both complements and strengthens Virginia Wesleyan's academic program.

I encourage interested students to speak to their academic advisors if they wish to participate. For additional information, including a list of course offerings, visit or contact Dr. Gonsalves-Jackson at

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Marlin SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in today's edition of Marlin SportSplash:

Photo Gallery: Alumni Weekend

Our first Alumni Weekend was a huge success! Thank you to Lori Harris '94, Executive Director of Alumni Relations, Steve Riegler, Coordinator of Advancement Events, and all of the Advancement staff who made this weekend so memorable. View images of Marlin graduates, faculty, staff and friends in this special Alumni Weekend photo gallery:

Nota Bene: Building Momentum in International Studies

Most of you are aware that I am a strong advocate for study-away and international experiences as part of a comprehensive liberal arts education. Throughout my career I have actively participated in building international educational partnerships including co-founding a large global consortium. Four years ago, while at my last institution, I was asked to be a part of a global initiative exploring opportunities for international partnerships. I’ve carried this important undertaking with me to Virginia Wesleyan, and I was proud to be among 24 private college leaders nationwide selected to travel to Guadalajara last month for The Higher Education Summit of the United States and Mexico.

The summit, held March 29-31, was organized by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) in conjunction with the Mexican Federation of Private Higher Education Institutions (FIMPES) with generous support from Santander Universidades and Universia. Its theme of “Reaffirming the North American Spirit of Collaboration in Higher Education: Creating Bridges of Communications” emphasized the importance of international exchange and the benefits of globalization in a higher education curriculum.

Participants aimed to provide enhanced exchange opportunities for students and faculty members in both countries; provide students with increased access to internships in Mexico and the United States; and allow faculty members and students to collaborate in shared research projects and development programs. Among the specific topics discussed at the summit were:

  • Articulation agreements and student recruitment,
  • Faculty and student exchange programs,
  • Partnership opportunities,
  • Summer programs/housing for student interns,
  • Global leadership,
  • Vocational discernment,
  • Reducing religious extremism,
  • Human dignity and civil rights, and
  • Fields of study: anthropology, archaeology, biology, general liberal arts focus, healthcare, history, and music.
During our visit, my colleagues and I met with campus leaders of three Mexican higher education institutions: Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Universidad Panamericana, and Universidad del Valle de Atemajac. We also met with the U.S. Consul General in Guadalajara, Tanya C. Anderson, and with local, state, and national Mexican officials, as well as additional university rectors.

I was honored to take part in this summit, and I am grateful to the Council of Independent Colleges, the Mexican Federation of Private Higher Education Institutions, and Santander Universidades and Universia for bringing the United States and Mexico together to, indeed, reaffirm the spirit of collaboration in higher education.

I have long believed that at an institution like Virginia Wesleyan every student should take advantage of an international experience. Working with the leadership of Mandy Reinig, our Director of Study Away Programs, I look forward to making this possible through new partnerships with Mexico and around the world.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Making Headlines

Showed off progress on the nearly completed Greer Environmental Sciences Center today to Mickella Rast, a writer for Virginia Wesleyan's student-led newspaper, The Marlin Chronicle. Also pictured: Clark Lambert of Hourigan Construction.

CSRF Newsletter: April 2017

Check out the latest news and events for the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom in their April newsletter:

Nota Bene: University Transition Team

Thank you for the many comments, phone calls, and messages of support in response to last week’s exciting campus announcement on becoming Virginia Wesleyan University. Your enthusiasm and support are greatly appreciated as we continue our transition to becoming “Coastal Virginia’s Premier University of the Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

To keep this process moving smoothly, I have designated a preliminary University Transition Team made up of the Cabinet and other members of the administration. The group is already outlining necessary steps and protocols to keep all of us informed on what changes will be needed, and when. Additional details will be forthcoming. In the meantime, I ask that all questions are directed to immediate supervisors, who will in turn seek appropriate guidance and/or recommendations from the transition team.

As I shared previously, this adjustment in who we are has been a natural outgrowth of the inevitable changes in our stature and standing as a higher-education institution of quality, dignity, and destiny. I thank you for your continued support and ask for your patience as we move to the next steps in raising our profile and maximizing our potential.

Finally, in case you missed it, we've received much positive coverage from the local media about our transition to University status. The news was highlighted in a Virginian-Pilot article and a video segment on WAVY-TV featuring students Amber Gaines and Alana Peters and members of the Virginia Wesleyan softball team. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Strike Out Cancer is #JodiStrong

Proud of my administrative assistant Jodi Bryant for throwing out the first pitch yesterday for Strike Out Cancer, an annual event organized by the Virginia Wesleyan softball team to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Jodi is a special member of the Marlin community who has twice fought —and beat!—Hodgkins Lymphoma. Congratulations, Jodi! #JodiStrong

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Spring Weekend Features 35th Seafood Party

We're celebrating old traditions and creating new with our very first Alumni Weekend. Graduates, current students, faculty, staff, and friends reunited and relaxed tonight during the 35th Annual Seafood Party in the Dell.

Ninth Annual Strike Out Cancer

Opening ceremonies for today's Strike Out Cancer event on campus. This is the ninth annual fundraiser hosted by the Virginia Wesleyan softball team under the leadership of Head Coach Brandon Elliott. To date, the event has raised close to $100,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Packed House for VWC Day

Virginia Wesleyan in the News: Transition to University Status

We've received much positive coverage from the local media about our transition to University status. The news was highlighted this weekend in a Virginian-Pilot article and a video segment on WAVY-TV featuring students Amber Gaines and Alana Peters and members of the Virginia Wesleyan softball team.

Honoring Alumni Council Members

Great evening recognizing the service of two Alumni Council members whose terms expire this spring. Pictured: Executive Director of Alumni Relations Lori Harris '94 and Alumni Council President Mavis McKenley '11 with honorees Ron Swan '77 and Nicole Thurston '07.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Recognizing Wesleyan Parents Rob and Cindy Garver

We are so grateful for the service and leadership of Rob and Cindy Garver, co-chairs of the 2016-17 President's Parents Roundtable. Cindy is pictured with her daughter Katie, a Virginia Wesleyan senior, at the spring meeting of the Roundtable.

Celebrating Senior Parents

Today we celebrated members of the President's Parents Roundtable whose students are graduating this May. Pictured (from left): Colleen Delpo, Tom and Karen Drake, and Sylvia Malm.

Thank You to the President's Parents Roundtable

Members of the President's Parents Roundtable presented a check today representing their support for The Excellence Fund. This weekend is the spring meeting of the Roundtable—members will share their Virginia Wesleyan experience with parents of incoming students at tomorrow's VWC Day Open House.

Nota Bene: Hampton Roads Chamber

Since my arrival in Coastal Virginia, it has been a priority of mine to learn as much as I can about our region and to support not only the growth of our institution, but also our local businesses and economy. Recently, I was proud to be elected to the Regional Board of Directors for the Hampton Roads Chamber, and I am grateful for the opportunity to further serve this community.

The Chamber is a pro-business organization promoting growth and progress for the Hampton Roads region. It has created economic opportunity in the region for more than 25 years through public policy, economic development and service to business.

Members of the Regional Board of Directors are elected from Chamber membership to set policies and priorities for the organization. In addition to the Regional Board, each of the five southside cities—Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach—has a board comprised of local business leaders who focus on the needs of that city.

Although I serve on many boards, the Hampton Roads Chamber, Virginia Beach Vision and Greater Norfolk Corporation boards are particularly important as we connect Virginia Wesleyan with the broader Coastal Virginia community.

Moving forward, these three organizations will be instrumental in positioning the new Virginia Wesleyan University as “Coastal Virginia’s Premier University of the Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Building Our Online Programs

Discussed recruitment strategy for international students and online programs today with Surenda Naidoo, Chief Executive Officer of EFA of Pompano Beach, FL, and Jay Hatcher, Senior Vice President of Business Development and General Counsel of The Learning House of Louisville, KY.

Coastal Virginia’s Premier University of the Liberal Arts and Sciences

Last night I hosted a large gathering of faculty and staff on campus to share important updates about the future of our institution. After much careful thought and discussion, and following an extensive review and approval process, I am pleased to share that our Virginia Wesleyan College has been authorized by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia to become Virginia Wesleyan University. The transition process will begin right away and our new name will take effect with the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. This adjustment in who we are has been natural outgrowth of the inevitable changes in our stature and standing as a higher education institution of quality, dignity, and destiny—as “Coastal Virginia’s Premier University of the Liberal Arts and Sciences.” Let us celebrate how far we have come and, even more important, where we want and need to go.

Photo by Dr. Taryn Myers, Batten Associate Professor of Psychology