Friday, June 30, 2017

VWU Alumni News

Virginia Wesleyan Alumni: Your LAST chance to be counted for this fiscal year's alumni giving participation challenge, upcoming events for graduates, and more in this week's VWU Alumni News:

Beautiful Day at VWU

Beautiful summer day at Virginia Wesleyan University overlooking the Jane P. Batten Student Center and Monumental Chapel. This photo was taken from the top of our new Greer Environmental Sciences Center. Those are YMCA Camp Red Feather campers playing in the quad.

Nota Bene: Administrative/Staff Holiday Calendar 2017-18

For planning purposes, below is the 2017-18 Administrative/Staff Holiday Calendar. For the most part, the University will be closed for business on these dates. Offices and departments that have critical deadlines and responsibilities during these times may adjust work schedules accordingly. I hope this is helpful to you as you plan ahead for the upcoming academic year.

Nota Bene: New Hires, Advancements and Transitions

Everything we achieve at Virginia Wesleyan is possible because of our employees and their dedication to our purpose and mission. Our faculty and staff are the driving force behind our success, and for that, I say thank you.

Today I’d like to share the addition and advancement of several employees and the transition of others into new roles that better serve the institution from an efficiency and budgetary standpoint.

New Hires and Advancements

Takeyra Collins, currently Visiting Instructor of Recreation and Leisure Studies, will advance to the rank of Assistant Professor following the completion of her Ph.D. at Old Dominion University this summer.

Lauren Frantz (M.Ed., University of Maryland) began service as University Advising Coordinator on June 5, serving alongside and learning the ropes from Genai Hill who retires from the same position this month. Lauren was formerly a Learning Specialist for men’s and women’s basketball at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Shawn Frazier (M.S., Applied Mathematics, Old Dominion University) joins the Mathematics Department as Visiting Instructor, filling the position of the late Linda Partridge. Shawn previously taught in Virginia Beach and Norfolk public schools.

Margaret “Maggie” Henderson (M.L.S., University of New York at Buffalo) joined Hofheimer Library as a Research Librarian on June 23. Previously Librarian/Assistant Professor at Pensacola State College in Florida, Maggie fills the vacancy left by Patty Clark’s departure.

Katrina Henry is completing a Ph.D. in physics at New Mexico Tech and will defend her dissertation in July. A specialist in hydrology, Katrina will be Assistant Professor of Physics and Earth and Environmental Sciences, beginning in the fall. She replaces the retiring Dr. Garry Noe.

Dr. Jeffrey Toussaint (Ph.D., Sociology, Virginia Tech), currently a visiting faculty member, becomes tenure-track Assistant Professor of Sociology/Criminal Justice this fall, filling the position left open when Dr. Alison Marganski departed.

Dr. Michelle Vachris (Ph.D., Economics, George Mason University) will assume the position of Professor of Management, Business, and Economics this fall, replacing Dr. Cheul Kang, who retired after the spring semester. Currently Professor of Economics at Christopher Newport University, Michelle has worked for the International Monetary Fund and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Kelly Cordova, formerly Director of Corporate Relations in the Center for Advancement, has filled the vacant role of Assistant Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations. Kelly also serves as Coordinator of the Robert F. Boyd Institute.

Kristi Lafoon, formerly Administrative Assistant to the Registrar, has moved to the Office of Financial Aid to serve as Loan Coordinator/Financial Aid Counselor. She fills the open position left behind by Elizabeth “Betsy” Payne.

Christine Pritchard, previously Administrative Assistant to The Lighthouse, has filled the role of Administrative Assistant to the Birdsong School of Social Science, taking over for Jane Kiefer, who retired at the end of May. Christine also provides administrative support to Hofheimer Library.

Please join me in welcoming our newest faculty and congratulating those who are advancing, and wishing our transitioning staff well in their new roles. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Student Orientation 1997

We just wrapped up orientation here on campus for the incoming Class of 2021. Here’s an orientation throwback to 1997—20 years ago—with a group shot of the “Student Orientation Staff,” or S.O.S. volunteers.

Norfolk Premium Outlets Opens

With Dennis Manning, Headmaster of Norfolk Academy, and Gary Bonnewell, VWU Trustee, at the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Norfolk Premium Outlets this morning.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Views of the GESC

Our beautiful new Greer Environmental Sciences Center as seen from sidewalk outside the Jane P. Batten Student Center, and front and rear landscaping progress pictured below.

Blacktopping on the Avenue of the Sciences

Virginia Paving Company finished blacktopping today on the new Avenue of the Sciences, connecting Honors Village and the road to Godwin Hall going past Blocker Hall. The project has been completed by Hourigan Construction, Chesapeake Bay Contractors, and Virginia Paving Company.

Photo Gallery: New Student Orientation

Welcome Class of 2021! Incoming freshmen, parents and family got to know Virginia Wesleyan University during New Student Orientation on June 23 and 26. View the photo gallery:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

GESC and the Avenue of the Sciences

Exterior signage is up behind the Greer Environmental Sciences Center and at the Wetland Garden, and work is underway on the Avenue of the Sciences. The new road will run by Blocker Hall and connect the Honors Village parking lot back to the main road to Godwin Hall.

This Week's Marlin SportSplash

Freshman pitcher Patrick Monteverde was named State Rookie of the Year as the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) announced the College Division All-State Baseball Teams last week. Read more in this week's edition of Marlin SportSplash:

Talking Education and Politics

Enjoyed talking education and politics with local lawyer Jerrauld "Jay" Jones, candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Furnishings for the GESC

Furnishings have arrived for the Greer Environmental Sciences Center!

Welcoming Our Batten Honors College Students

This August we'll welcome our first cohort of Batten Honors College students. We're excited to have many of these students on campus today for orientation. Steve Pinto, Director of Enrollment for the Batten Honors College, led a special pre-advising session this morning to discuss the honors curriculum.


A Welcome Prayer

University Chaplain Greg West welcomed students and their families to New Student Orientation this morning and led them in a prayer for a successful journey at Virginia Wesleyan University.

New Student Orientation Selfie!

VWU senior Jacklyn Cheely snapped a morning photo with David Waggoner, Vice President for Enrollment, Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs, Joanne Renn, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, VWU mascot Bob Marlin, and Jason Seward, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs.

New Student Orientation: Part Two

It's another great day to be a Marlin! We're thrilled to welcome members of the Class of 2021 for our second round of New Student Orientation. Pictured with some of our “highlighters” (student orientation leaders), Dr. Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs, and Officer Randy Lott of campus security.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Hanna Hull in Sports Illustrated...

Rich Tradition at Virginia Wesleyan

From Mud Games and Marlin Spirit Day to Homecoming and the Holiday Tree Lighting, Virginia Wesleyan is full of rich tradition. Read more about our campus traditions and view photos at:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This Week's Wesleyan Review

In this week's Wesleyan Review...summer studies in Alaska, a literacy award for Marlins Read, construction on our new track and field, softball championship gear, and a last call for gifts to the 2016-2017 Excellence Fund:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Wonderful to Visit with the Kaysers

Wonderful to visit with Joan and Jeff Kayser, former co-chairs of the President's Parents Roundtable. Their daughter, Liz, graduated in 2017 with degrees in history and German. The Kaysers returned to campus today to share their experience with new Virginia Wesleyan parents as part of New Student Orientation.

Thanks to Our Student "Highlighters"

Special thanks to our student "highlighters"—like seniors Abigail Spahr and Jacklyn Cheely—who are doing an excellent job answering questions and pointing the way for new students and their families at orientation today.

VWU Welcomes New Research Librarian

Today we welcome our newest research librarian, Maggie Henderson. It was a pleasure to show her around our new Greer Environmental Sciences Center along with Sue Erickson, Director of Hofheimer Library.

Welcome, Class of 2021!

We are so excited to welcome our Class of 2021 to campus this morning for New Student Orientation! Bob Marlin—in his new Virginia Wesleyan University t-shirt—stopped by for a photo with (from left) Jim Cooper, Vice President for Finance and Administration, David W. Waggoner, Vice President for Enrollment, Mort Gamble, Senior Vice President, and Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Celebrating Our Marlin Scholarship Recipients

Great to celebrate ACCESS College Foundation scholarship recipients who are attending Virginia Wesleyan University this fall. Pictured with the students and me is David Waggoner, Vice President for Enrollment.

Coming Together for Great Cause

Caught up with Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms and Drew Lumpkin, Regional Director with Senator Mark Warner’s office, at the ACCESS College Foundation awards lunch today.

Great Visit with Friends and Colleagues

Great to visit with Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Emeritus Lem Lewis (right) and Old Dominion University President John Broderick at the ACCESS College Foundation Scholarship Awards Luncheon today.

ACCESS College Foundation Awards Luncheon

Wonderful to see ACCESS College Foundation President and CEO Bonnie Sutton, a 1999 Virginia Wesleyan graduate, at the organization's 2017 Scholarship Awards Luncheon today. The special event, held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center, honored 135 local high school graduates. Also pictured: Dr. Mort Gamble, Senior Vice President, and Beth Clarke, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment.

Noah Louk '19 Receives John Roger Scholarship

Congratulations to Virginia Wesleyan criminal justice major Noah Louk '19, a recipient of the John Roger Scholarship. The $1,500 academic scholarship is awarded each year to children of active duty Norfolk police officers by the Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association of Norfolk. Noah is pictured here with his father, Stephen Louk (left), of the Norfolk Police Department's Traffic Unit, his mother, Nicki Louk, and Larry Dotolo, President of the Virginia Tidewater Consortium for Higher Education.

Nota Bene: Welcome Aboard: New Student Orientation

We are so excited to welcome our newest Marlins to campus tomorrow, and again on Monday, for New Student Orientation (NSO). In the last few years we have built an enrollment model that supports the University’s long-term goals, and I am proud to report that for 2017-18 we anticipate 500 new students—400 freshmen, 100 transfers and non-traditional students.

On June 23 and 26, new students and their families will create their own orientation journeys, choosing from a wide variety of information sessions and special “destinations.” A guiding philosophy for our NSO is to offer engaging activities that will leave our guests feeling invigorated and immersed in Virginia Wesleyan culture. The program is carefully designed to facilitate a smooth transition to the campus experience and to provide new students and families with everything they need to know to be successful during their first year.

Our engaging information sessions are meant to inspire, with topics like “Get Involved!” “VWU From a Student Perspective,” “Navigating the Academic Program,” “Money, Money Financial Aid,” “Campus Safety: What You Should Know,” and “Exploring Coastal VA.” Students will also meet with academic advisors to build their fall class schedules.

Featured destinations will run continuously throughout the day, giving students the chance to explore our beautiful 300-acre campus. Destinations include the Learning Center, the Lighthouse, Hofheimer Library, the Fitness Center, Campus Security, the Chaplain’s Office, and a new addition this year—the Office of the President! I look forward to seeing many new faces and meeting our newest students and their families.

Many thanks to all faculty, staff and students who have contributed to the success of this year’s New Student Orientation, and a special thank you to Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Moore and the Student Affairs staff, and to Vice President for Enrollment David Waggoner, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Beth Clarke, and the staff in the Center for Enrollment Services.

Please be sure to give our newest students and families a warm Wesleyan welcome!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Celebrating our Staff Retirees

Today we celebrated two staff members who retire in 2017 following many dedicated years of service. Jane Kiefer (center left) has served our community for 21 years in a variety of essential roles, most recently as Administrative Assistant to the Birdsong School of Social Science. Genai Hill (center right) is retiring from her role as Manager of Academic Advising Support after 11 years of service. Jane and Genai were joined by their families at the reception, where they were presented with commemorative Virginia Wesleyan chairs engraved with our institutional seal. We thank them for supporting Virginia Wesleyan in so many valuable ways and wish them the very best in retirement.

Max Media's Gene Loving

Great to meet this morning with Gene Loving, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Max Media. Gene holds an honorary doctoral degree from Virginia Wesleyan (2002) and has long been a good friend and supporter of our institution and students. I look forward to reading his new book, "Loving Life," which chronicles his five decades in radio and TV—including a heated backstage exchange with Mick Jagger!

Download Now: 2016-17 President to President

We've wrapped up another successful year of "President to President," a higher education thought leadership series written by university presidents for university presidents, and edited by myself and long-time friend and colleague Dr. Marylouise Fennell. The 2016-17 series explored “Integrated Approaches to Student Living and Campus Housing to Improve Quality of Life and Student Performance."

Download the full 10-chapter series here:

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Proud to have signed this Second Nature pledge reiterating Virginia Wesleyan's commitment to reduce the carbon footprint:

Presenting at the Executive Leadership Academy

I enjoyed leading a session on presidential leadership this morning at the Executive Leadership Academy in Washington, D.C. Pictured with Tom Kepple, retiring President of the American Academic Leadership Institute, and Linda Bleicken, President of Armstrong State University and President-elect of AALI. ​The Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) is a year-long program co-sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) to prepare experienced provosts and vice presidents to become successful presidents.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Nota Bene: Passing of Lena Johnson

It is with a heavy heart that I share the passing of another member of the Virginia Wesleyan community. Over the weekend, we lost a Virginia Wesleyan graduate and a long-time, beloved member of our staff, Lena Johnson.

Lena’s ties to Virginia Wesleyan span nearly 30 years. She arrived on campus as a first-year student 1988 and later enrolled as a non-traditional student in the Adult Studies Program. She completed her undergraduate degree in December 2001 and went on to earn a master’s degree in Humanities and Social Science from Australia’s La Trobe University.

Lena began working for Virginia Wesleyan in July 2003, initially as a part-time Outreach Coordinator for the Adult Studies Program, and later as a full-time Outreach Coordinator and Academic Advisor. In 2005, she became the Director of the Office of International and Intercultural Programs, which would later become the Study Away Program within The Lighthouse: Center for Exploration and Discovery. After an association of 28 years, Lena left Virginia Wesleyan in January 2016. The Lena Johnson Inclusive Community Award was established in her honor as part of The Bobbies: Student Leadership Awards. A description of the award speaks to Lena’s spirit and the legacy she will leave at Virginia Wesleyan:

“The Lena E. Johnson Inclusive Community Award recognizes students who demonstrate advocacy for and commitment to an inclusive Virginia Wesleyan…Lena Johnson, known to many students as ‘Momma Lena,’ provided not only guidance on study abroad travel, but hospitality beyond measure to everyone, creating a welcoming climate for respectful examination of differing thoughts and opinions, and tirelessly advocating for cross-cultural education and understanding.”

This is a sad day for our community, as I know many of you—students, staff and faculty alike—hold Lena very close to your hearts. Memorial service details have not yet been determined, but we will be sure to share this information once the family has made arrangements.

Please keep Lena’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Nota Bene: Passing of Phillip Perdue

I am saddened to share that we have lost a member of the Virginia Wesleyan community. Phillip Perdue passed away early Friday morning after a two-year battle with cancer. Phillip served as the Associate Vice President for College Advancement from 2004 to 2010.

During his time at Virginia Wesleyan, Phillip led the fundraising efforts for the $5.7 million renovation of Hofheimer Library. Over the years, he continued to be a loyal fan of the women’s and men’s basketball teams. Most recently, Phillip was the Chief Development Officer at WHRO. He was honored in 2015 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Hampton Roads Chapter as the Outstanding Fundraising Professional.

Phillip is survived by his wife, Melissa, who has shared that a memorial service is planned for Tuesday, June 27, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at WHRO (5200 Hampton Blvd., Norfolk). A dessert reception will follow. Please keep Melissa and Phillip’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

Good Progress on the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field

Good progress on the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field at Virginia Wesleyan University. The complex, made possible through donations from two donors, is scheduled for completion by late August or early September.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

First Look: Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center

Planning and fundraising continues for the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. This 23,200 square-foot facility will be visible from the entrance and located just off the left side of the circle near the current Fine Arts Building. It will feature a grand lobby, a 325-seat theater, a raised stage and full-fly, and theater support spaces. I look forward in the very near future to announcing a timeline for the construction of this magnificent new building; however, we are expecting groundbreaking in early 2018.

Scott Miller: Universities still committed to sustainable future

My monthly column appears in today's Virginian-Pilot. As always, I invite your comments, feedback, and suggestions for future topics.

Universities still committed to sustainable future:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Summer Choral Leadership Academy July 24-29

High school students: Join us July 24-29 for Virginia Wesleyan's Summer Choral Leadership Academy. Register by July 1 and save $150 off tuition. Email for more information.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Trustee Bill Shelhorse '70

Great to show Trustee Bill Shelhorse '70 the new Greer Environmental Sciences Center today. Bill's company, Chesapeake Bay Contractors, is busy finishing the new Avenue of the Sciences. The new road runs by Blocker Hall and will connect the Honors Village parking lot back to the main road leading to Godwin Hall. The road will include appropriately 70 parking places for faculty working in Blocker Hall and the new Greer Environmental Sciences Center. Also pictured: Suzanne Savage, Associate Vice President for Advancement and Board Relations.

VWU Grad Sydney Covey Talks Sustainability

It was a proud moment to hear Virginia Wesleyan graduate Sydney Covey '15 talk about the sustainable elements of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center. Sydney is the Sustainability Program Analyst for Hourigan Construction, a job she landed after an internship with the company during her senior year at Wesleyan.

Lynnhaven River Now Tours the GESC

Toured the Greer Environmental Sciences Center this morning with Karen Forget (Executive Director) and others from Lynnhaven River Now, a group dedicated to restoring and protecting this beautiful local waterway. Our new state-of-the-art facility will provide unprecedented opportunities for students while fostering valuable collaboration opportunities with organizations like Lynnhaven River Now.

Nota Bene: Student Health Center

Last spring, I attended an event to celebrate the newly renovated and expanded Sentara Leigh Hospital nearby on Kempsville Road. This state-of-the-art facility, a part of Sentara Healthcare, is the primary emergency provider for our campus. We’ve built a strong partnership with Sentara on a variety of issues and services, and we are grateful for this relationship. Today, I am pleased to share that we will begin offering medical care to our students this academic year through an on-campus Student Health Center managed by Sentara Medical Group.

The Student Health Center will continue to be housed in Allen Village (Village II) and will provide first aid and general healthcare. The Center will be staffed by an advanced medical practitioner and a medical assistant from Sentara Medical Group. A physician will also be appointed by Sentara to serve as medical director of the Center and to be available to advise the advanced practitioner as needed during business hours.

All Virginia Wesleyan students will be entitled to the benefits of the Student Health Center, including appointments and walk-in care for minor illnesses and common ailments. The Center will also offer routine testing and lab work as well as educational resources for our student population. Students requiring a higher level of care (or care outside of normal hours of operation) will have full access to Sentara Family Medicine Physicians located on Wesleyan Drive.

As our student services and campus support systems have continued to evolve, we have found a quality partner in Sentara. Please join me in welcoming Sentara Medical Group to our campus. Special thanks to Dr. Keith Moore and Cary Sawyer for their extensive work in bringing this valuable student benefit to Virginia Wesleyan University.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Returning Champ Marques Fitch '06

Great to catch up on campus today with Virginia Wesleyan alumnus Marques Fitch '06, captain of the 2006 NCAA National Championship Men’s Basketball Team. Marques now lives in Charlotte and works as Director of Multi-Cultural Initiatives for the American Heart Association | American Stroke Association.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Recognizing Valued Employees

Today we recognized several members of the Virginia Wesleyan family who celebrated employment milestones during the 2016-2017 academic year ranging up to 30 years! We are so grateful for the service and long-standing dedication of these Marlins, who work as part-time and adjunct employees and for the University's contract service companies, Aramark and Sodexo. Pictured (from left): Brenda Moore, Alan Brown, Maria Clemons, Jessi West, John Roper, Nikko Dehaven, Eva Yelity, Shelia Rouson, Kevin Adams and Caprena Wright.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Congratulations, Lt. Gov. Northam

Congratulations to Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, good friend to Virginia Wesleyan and higher education.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Visiting with Long-time Friends in Hot Springs

With long-time Virginia Wesleyan University Trustee George Birdsong and David Warren, President of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, at the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Board of Trustees meeting at The Homestead in Hot Springs.

Economist and Historian Marc Levinson

Enjoyed dinner with Marc Levinson, Economist and Historian and author of "Great Expectations in Ordinary Times", at the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Board of Trustees meeting at The Homestead.

VWU Alumni News

Our transition from College to University, Marlin Softball Champions, personally inscribed brick paver opportunities, upcoming alumni events and more in this week's VWU Alumni News:

Friday, June 9, 2017

VFIC Board of Trustees Dinner

With long-time friends and colleagues Jake Schrum, President of Emory & Henry College, David Maxson, and Nancy Gray, President of Hollins University, at the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Board of Trustees dinner at The Homestead this weekend.

Higher Education at the Homestead

With Will Dudley, President of Washington & Lee University, and noted higher education author David Feldman, after Dr. Feldman's presentation to the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges Board of Trustees today at The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia. He shared with the Board key sections from his recent best-seller "The Road Ahead for America's Colleges and Universities."

Alaskan Study Away

Several Virginia Wesleyan students are in Alaska this summer studying complex environmental issues and solutions under the leadership of Professors Larry Hultgren and Elizabeth Malcolm and VWU alumnus Scott Ramsey '90, an instructor at the Alaska Outdoor Science School—and son of Doc Ramsey, who taught sociology at Virginia Wesleyan for many years! Along for the Summer Session trip are students Montana Bieder '17, Austin Edmonds '20, Amanda Gerni '19, Quennita Lensey '18, Valerie Wilburn '17, and Dr. Hultgren's wife, Mary Lou, who taught sociology and anthropology at Virginia Wesleyan.

Betty S. Rogers Track and Field

Construction began this morning on Virginia Wesleyan’s new 400-meter track and field complex. "Betty S. Rogers Track and Field" was made possible by an anonymous gift and additional financial and in-kind support from Trustee Bill S. Shelhorse '70 and his company, Chesapeake Bay Contractors. The facility will feature an eight-lane track, discus and hammer throw, high jump, long jump/triple jump, pole vault, shot put, and steeplechase. It is expected to be completed by September 8. Read more: