Thursday, November 30, 2017

Marlin Gear Available Online

The VWU bookstore is now fully online with the same Marlin apparel and merchandise that's available in the Scribner Bookstore inside the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Visit and keep your Virginia Wesleyan friends and family in mind this holiday gift season!

Tonight: Escape from North Korea

Every year a small number of desperate North Koreans escape their closed country by traveling along a secret route known as the New Underground Railroad. In tonight's timely presentation of "Escape from North Korea," journalist-author Melanie Kirkpatrick will describe their perilous journey and the rescuers who help them reach free countries. 7 p.m., Blocker Auditorium. Hosted by the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom.

Nota Bene: New Virginia Wesleyan Virtual Bookstore

Virginia Wesleyan has seen a significant upgrade in technology services in the last two years. Since Robert Leitgeb’s arrival as Chief Information Officer, we have enhanced applications, implemented a new Portal, launched an online learning division, and introduced many initiatives to meet the technological needs of our campus.

To be more responsive to our students and to meet the growing interests of our alumni and friends, we set a goal to provide online services to our VWU community near and far—to bring Wesleyan to the world.

To that end, I am pleased to share that our bookstore is now fully online. This new virtual space complements our in-store apparel and merchandise, featuring the same Marlin favorites that are available in the Scribner Bookstore inside the Jane P. Batten Student Center.

I invite you to visit our updated site at and to keep your Virginia Wesleyan friends and family in mind this holiday gift season. We thank you for your patience as we continue to implement this new technology, and we will continue to expand these offerings in the future.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Photo Gallery: Clarke Heritage Society

Yesterday we held our annual luncheon to recognize and thank members of The Lambuth M. and Alice A. Clarke Heritage Society, a dedicated group of Virginia Wesleyan supporters who have chosen to include the University in their estate plans. View the photo gallery from this special event:

Marlin SportSplash

Seven Marlins scored in double figures Monday as Virginia Wesleyan Men's Basketball defeated The Apprentice School 114-86 in non-conference action. Read more in this week's Marlin SportSplash:

​Nota Bene: Honoring Members of The Clarke Heritage Society

Yesterday we held our annual luncheon to recognize members of The Lambuth M. and Alice A. Clarke Heritage Society, a special group of Virginia Wesleyan supporters who have chosen to include the University in their estate plans (view a photo gallery).

We were so pleased to have Alice Clarke with us for the event. Mrs. Clarke and her late husband, Lambuth, president of Virginia Wesleyan from 1966 to 1992, planted many of the "seeds" of our future success. One of the University’s signature establishments, the Heritage Society was formed many years ago by Wesleyan friends and family with the Clarkes among the inaugural founders. In 2016, we named the recognition society for the Clarkes, whose name has long stood for admirable values and extraordinary service. We thank the family for their continued commitment to Virginia Wesleyan’s progress.

We also welcomed Board of Trustees members Susan Goode, Deborah Paxson ’75, and Linda Thomas-Glover, as well as many other special friends of the institution. All of our guests were invited to the groundbreaking this coming Friday, December 1, for the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, which will be the new home of the Wesleyan Chorale and other performers. Our lunch guests had a special preview of this weekend’s forthcoming choral program, “A Wesleyan Christmas.” Dr. Bryson Mortensen, Director of Choral Music, led the Wesleyan Chorale in a series of holiday musical selections. I applaud Dr. Mortensen and these students for their beautiful performance.

We had the privilege during the event of recognizing a member of our Virginia Wesleyan community who has joined the Clarke Heritage Society—Joanne Renn, Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. Joanne was selected in 2007 as Virginia Wesleyan University's first female athletic director and as the first female athletic director at a co-educational institution in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. This season marks her 25th year at VWU, where she oversees 22 intercollegiate sports programs and a staff of more than 55 coaches, administrators, and support personnel. We thank her for including the University in her estate plans and for her generosity and commitment.

Annie and I are grateful every day for the opportunity to continue the tradition of leadership initiated by our predecessors. Virginia Wesleyan is an extraordinary place because of the leadership, devotion, and good will preceding us.

On behalf of all of us at Virginia Wesleyan University, we thank each of our Clarke Heritage Society members and wish them a joyous Christmas and holiday season.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Best Wishes to NSU President Eddie Moore

I joined area business leaders and friends tonight celebrating the retirement of good friend and colleague Eddie Moore, President of Norfolk State University. Eddie previously served as President of Virginia State University. We first worked together as higher education consultants in Louisana many years ago. Joining us for the picture is Norfolk City School Board member Courtney Doyle.

Clarke Heritage Society Welcomes Joanne Renn

We are pleased to recognize Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Joanne Renn as the newest member of The Lambuth M. and Alice A. Clarke Heritage Society, a special group of Virginia Wesleyan supporters who have chosen to include the University in their estate plans. This season marks Joanne's 25th year at VWU. She oversees 22 intercollegiate sports programs and a staff of more than 55 coaches, administrators, and support personnel. We thank her for her dedication and generosity.

Lasting Legacies

It was an honor to welcome Alice Clarke (center), namesake of the Clarke Heritage Society, and Larry and Mary Lou Hultgren, at the society's annual luncheon this afternoon. Dr. Hultgren, Virginia Wesleyan's longest-standing faculty member, began his career at VWU in September 1969.

"Wesleyan Christmas" Preview

Virginia Wesleyan University Trustee Susan Goode joined us today for the Clarke Heritage Society luncheon, where we heard a special preview of this weekend’s choral program, “A Wesleyan Christmas.” This Friday, we will break ground on campus for the new Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. Joining us for the picture is Bryson Mortensen, VWU Director of Choral Music, who is all smiles about the upcoming groundbreaking.

Dear Friends of the University

Wonderful to see so many dear friends of Virginia Wesleyan University during today's Clarke Heritage Society luncheon. Pictured with Dr. Stephen Mansfield, University Archivist, Martha Jo Wilson, wife of the late Dean William Wilson, and Mrs. Dawn Mansfield.

Clarke Heritage Society Luncheon

Annie and I had the pleasure of visiting with Alice Clarke today at our annual luncheon recognizing members of The Lambuth M. and Alice A. Clarke Heritage Society. The Clarke Heritage Society is named in honor of Alice and her late husband, Lambuth, who served as president of Virginia Wesleyan from 1966 to 1992.

Port Day: December 5

Virginia Wesleyan’s fall Port Day is coming up on December 5. This signature program highlights the academic achievements of VWU students completing capstone undergraduate research, internship, and semester study-away experiences. View the schedule at:

Nota Bene: Fall 2017 Port Day

Today I'd like to personally invite each of you to take part in Virginia Wesleyan’s Fall 2017 Port Day, a signature program designed to demonstrate and promote the academic achievements of VWU students completing capstone undergraduate research, internship, and semester study-away experiences. Please mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

On Port Day, no classes, meetings, or athletic events will be held during the day, allowing the entire campus community to celebrate the accomplishments of our students, learn about the good work completed, and hear about the transformative power of participation in capstone academic experiences. Students will share their work through oral and poster presentations during campus-wide sessions, reflecting on their experiences and answering audience questions. The day will be particularly important for students who would like to learn how they, too, may undertake a capstone experience at Virginia Wesleyan.

I encourage all students, faculty, and staff to participate in this important Virginia Wesleyan University tradition and to join me in congratulating our student participants for their achievements. View the complete Port Day schedule at:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Meeting with Marlins Track and Field

I enjoyed visiting today with Coach Mat Littleton and members of the Virginia Wesleyan University Men’s Track and Field team. We talked about the new Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center, VWU plans for the future, and the important mission and philosophy of NCAA Division III athletics.

Alumni Gathering: Dallas/Fort Worth

Looking forward to visiting with Virginia Wesleyan Alumni in Texas next week!

Nota Bene: Dr. Brian Kurisky to Lead Wesleyan Engaged

At the opening of this academic year, I shared plans for the creation of a new center that will build on Virginia Wesleyan University’s strong foundation of student volunteerism and shape, expand, and direct service learning opportunities, neighborhood partnerships, and interfaith dialogue. I am pleased to announce that, effective December 1, Dr. Brian Kurisky will join the VWU community as Director of Wesleyan Engaged: Center for Civic Leadership and Service Learning.

Virginia Wesleyan holds a highly visible presence in Coastal Virginia and beyond, particularly with respect to sustainability, interfaith dialogue, music ministry, and neighborhood partnerships. Dr. Kurisky will build upon our existing community relationships, further identifying and coordinating mutually-beneficial service learning and volunteer opportunities for VWU faculty, staff, and students. He will also pursue grant support for Wesleyan Engaged and will seek national recognition through initiatives such as the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll, the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, and the Campus Compact Civic Action Plan.

Dr. Kurisky comes to Virginia Wesleyan with an impressive background in higher education. He has served in various leadership capacities at Old Dominion University, including his most recent position as Director for Academic Initiatives in the Center for High Impact Practices, and other roles in academic support and institutional research and assessment. He has also held several student affairs/residence life positions at institutions such as Ferris State University, Western Michigan University, and Lake Superior State University. He holds a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from Old Dominion University, an M.S.Ed. in higher education from Grand Valley State University, and B.S. degrees in political science and speech communication from Old Dominion University.

Special thanks to Dr. Timothy O'Rourke, Provost and Vice President, and Dr. Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs, for further establishing the vision for Wesleyan Engaged and for leading the comprehensive search process that resulted in this highly qualified candidate.
Please join me in welcoming Dr. Brian Kurisky to our campus community. Together, we will build on Virginia Wesleyan's service to the community while creating valuable learning experiences for our students.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Mirth and Mockery of Methodism

Dr. Terry Lindvall, C.S. Lewis Endowed Chair in Communication and Christian Thought and Professor of Communication at VWU, and Rev. Greg West, University Chaplain, explore "The Mirth and Mockery of Methodism" in this recent article published in the Virginia Advocate, the magazine of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church.

The Mirth and Mockery of Methodism

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving from Virginia Wesleyan University

We have much to be thankful for at Virginia Wesleyan University, and it begins with you. Warm wishes to you and yours during this season of gratitude.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Winter Session at VWU

Virginia Wesleyan's Winter Session is an excellent opportunity for students to either get ahead or catch up in their coursework. Learn more and view our unique winter course offerings:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Marlin SportSplash

Virginia Wesleyan University Men's Swimming claimed its first dual meet victory in program history on Saturday, defeating Randolph College, 77-76, and Emory & Henry College, 111-38. Read more in this week's Marlin SportSplash:

Nota Bene: President to President 2017-18 Series

For over a decade, I have served as the executive editor of a popular, internationally distributed higher education thought-leadership series written by college presidents for college presidents. Originally titled "Presidential Perspectives," the series transitioned last year to its new name, “President to President.” The theme for 2017-18 is “How Disruptive Innovation is Shaping the Next-Gen Campus and Enabling Student Success.”

Please follow this link to the most recent chapter:

Chapters are authored by notable presidents whose institutions are in the forefront of innovative practices in these areas. One chapter is released each month, distributed electronically, and posted on the President to President website. At the end of the series, the foreword and chapters will be bound into a book and distributed to college and university presidents nationwide.

Although Sodexo sponsors this series and is a contract service of Virginia Wesleyan University, I do not receive compensation to serve as executive editor. Rather, Sodexo makes a generous contribution to the student scholarship fund of Virginia Wesleyan, in lieu of payment.

Special thanks to my co-executive editor and long-time consulting and publishing colleague, Marylouise Fennell, who also serves as senior counsel to the Council of Independent Colleges.

I hope you enjoy the series.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Outstanding Emerging Philanthropist: W. Taylor Franklin '04

Congratulations to W. Taylor Franklin '04—the Association of Fundraising Professionals Hampton Roads' "Outstanding Emerging Philanthropist." He is also the recipient of Virginia Wesleyan's 2017 Alumni Service Award!

Inside Business: W. Taylor Franklin | Outstanding Emerging Philanthropist, National Philanthropy Day Awards

Join Us for "A Wesleyan Christmas" December 1-2

Join us for "A Wesleyan Christmas" December 1-2 for traditional and new Christmas music performed  by the Wesleyan Chorale, Jazz Ensemble, Singers, and Orchestra. Reserve tickets at

​Nota Bene: Winter Session Set for January 3-25

Last January, 609 students enrolled in Virginia Wesleyan’s annual Winter Session. This impressive number encompasses almost 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 3-25.

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. View our unique Winter Session
course offerings.

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, Winter Session 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: Degree-seeking students enrolled full time for the fall and spring semesters may take up to five credits during Winter Session for $250. 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 3 (with the exception of travel courses carrying earlier deadlines). I encourage interested students to speak to their academic advisors or log on to Web Advisor to register.

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

New M.A.Ed. Program Coming in Summer 2018

I am pleased to share that Virginia Wesleyan University will begin offering a second graduate program, a Master of Arts in Education, in summer 2018. The M.A.Ed. will prepare future educators to teach boldly and give our students a more competitive edge on teaching positions in their chosen specializations. Learn more at

Friday, November 17, 2017

​Nota Bene: Faculty Athletic Representatives and Team Advisors

For 27 years I have served as president of NCAA Division II and III institutions. During that time, I have developed a special appreciation for the scholar-athlete philosophy of Division III. The longer I am here, the more impressed I am with a faculty programs that play a key role in retention and persistence for our student-athletes at Virginia Wesleyan. Student-athletes make up approximately 30% of our student population.

Virginia Wesleyan has two exceptional Faculty Athletics Representatives (FARs), Dr. Susan Larkin, Professor of English, and Dr. Larry Hultgren, Professor of Philosophy. A designation required by the NCAA and ODAC, a FARs primary role is to ensure that an institution maintains appropriate balance between academics and intercollegiate athletics. We are so proud of Dr. Larkin on her selection to participate in the 2017 NCAA Division III FAR Fellows Institute in October at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis. The three-day professional development program provides a thorough examination of best practices and issues surrounding the role and responsibility of FARs and develops leadership skills necessary to carry out their responsibilities on campus and in their conference. Dr. Hultgren was also selected for this esteemed program in 2016.

Virginia Wesleyan is ahead of its peer institutions in the development of a
Faculty/Staff Team Advisors Program. Started in 2005, faculty and staff advisors provide advice, assistance and resources for our student-athletes as they strive to maintain balance in their Wesleyan careers. The advisor serves as an advocate for students participating in the sport, and provides a valuable link between student-athletes and faculty.

In addition, advisors may develop a broader involvement in the student-athlete experience and contribute to other individual and team programs and activities. The program facilitates integration of the intercollegiate programs into the undergraduate experience of Virginia Wesleyan University. Presently, each of our intercollegiate sports benefits from the presence of a faculty or staff advisor.
Thank you to our 2017-18 Faculty/Staff Team Advisors:

Chris Francis (Coach), Adam Ruh (Advisor)

Women's Basketball
Stephany Dunmyer (Coach), Dr. Joyce Easter (Advisor)

Men's Basketball
Dave Macedo (Coach), Takeyra Collins (Advisor)

Desiree Ellison (Coach), Robin Takacs (Advisor)

Women's Cross Country/Track and Field
Krista Littleton (Coach), Dr. Kathy Stolley (Advisor)

Men's Cross Country/Track and Field
Mat Littleton (Coach), Dr. Scott Hinze (Advisor)

Field Hockey
Christina Restivo (Coach), Dr. Rebecca Hooker (Advisor)

Men's and Women's Golf
Rick Bidnick (Coach), Dr. Kevin Kittredge (Advisor)

Women's Lacrosse
Kendyl Clarkson (Coach), Takeyra Collins (Advisor)

Men's Lacrosse
JP Stewart (Coach), Crit Muniz (Advisor)

Women's Soccer
Jeff Bowers (Coach), Dr. Susan E. Larkin (Advisor)

Men's Soccer
Chris Mills (Coach), Dr. Wayne Pollock (Advisor)

Brandon Elliott (Coach), Dr. Hilve Firek (Advisor)

Men's and Women's Swimming
Mike Ginder (Coach), Dr. Doug Kennedy (Advisor)

Women's Tennis
Martin Perry (Coach), Dr. Antje Schwennicke (Advisor)

Men's Tennis
Martin Perry (Coach), Dr. Antje Schwennicke (Advisor)

Women's Volleyball

Andrea Hoover-Erbig (Coach), Dr. Kellie Holzer (Advisor)

Thank you to Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Joanne Renn for her leadership to the many faculty and staff members serving in this important capacity.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Congratulations to Khory Moore '17!

Khory Moore '17 recently signed a contract to play the upcoming season with KK Jazine Nadar, a member of the Croatia-Premijer Liga, the premiere basketball league in Croatia. Read more:

Aramark Leadership on Campus

Wonderful to welcome Bruce Alperin, Associate Vice President for Marketing at Aramark Facilities Services, as a keynote panelist for The Marlin Prestige business conference this week. While on campus, he visited with Virginia Wesleyan's Physical Plant leadership. Pictured (from left): Bruce Alperin, Don Coberly, and Mike Rigby. Aramark is our Physical Plant provider.

Proud to Welcome Marlin Prestige Panelists

Proud to welcome so many distinguished speakers to campus this week as part of our student-led business conference, The Marlin Prestige. Pictured at today's "Environmental Sustainability" panel discussion: Bruce Alperin (Associate Vice President for Marketing | Facilities Services, Aramark), Sydney Covey (Sustainability Program Analyst, Hourigan Construction), and Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Ken Trinder (CEO, EOS Surfaces).


Enjoyable Lunch and Discussion

Enjoyable lunch and discussion today with Neal Kringel (center), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Joe Ruddy ‘83, Chief Innovation Officer, Port of Virginia.

VWU Welcomes Back J. Andrew Edwards '98

We're excited to welcome alumnus J. Andrew Edwards '98 for his presentation "Copyright or Copywrong? How Gutenberg's Printing Press Continues to Spark Church Battles" today at 11 a.m. in Blocker Auditorium. His talk is part of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom's Reformation Series:

Nota Bene: George Birdsong, Dollar Tree Honored with Darden Awards

Last night I had the pleasure of attending the CIVIC Leadership Institute’s 2017 Darden Awards, where Virginia Wesleyan University Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong was honored with the Individual Leadership Award and Dollar Tree, co-founded by long-time Virginia Wesleyan supporter Macon Brock, received the Corporate Award. We are proud to celebrate the significant impact Mr. Birdsong and Dollar Tree have had on our community through various philanthropic contributions and service endeavors.

Mr. Birdsong joined the Virginia Wesleyan Board of Trustees in 1989. He served as Board Chair from 2007-2010 before assuming his Trustee Emeritus status. In 2016, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University and served as keynote speaker during the institution’s first Founders Day. George and Sue Birdsong, the Birdsong family, and the Birdsong Corporation were instrumental in the University’s founding. Birdsong Hall, an original building in Bray Village, was dedicated to the Birdsong family in 1968. A plaque in the building recognizes the Birdsongs as dedicated Methodists whose generosity helped establish Virginia Wesleyan.

Birdsong Peanuts and the Birdsongs made a number of significant gifts throughout the University’s history. The Birdsong Community Services Endowment Fund was established in 1995 to provide support for Virginia Wesleyan’s acclaimed community services program. They also established the Birdsong Corporation/George and Sue Birdsong Endowed Scholarship that provides assistance to deserving students. In 2015, the University dedicated VWU’s Birdsong Field in honor of the Birdsong family to celebrate their generous commitment to the facility, and the following year, established the Birdsong School of Social Science. The University did so with recognition and deep appreciation for the contributions by Harvard Birdsong, a charter member of the Board of Trustees, George and Sue Birdsong, Thomas Birdsong, III, and his wife Jane, the Birdsong family, and the Birdsong Corporation.

Dollar Tree Co-Founder Macon Brock and his wife, VWU Trustee Emerita Joan Brock, are well known for their community leadership, their generosity and vision, and they are among the closest friends of Virginia Wesleyan University. The strength of VWU today can be traced in significant ways to their guidance and support, as many programs of the University have benefited from their genuine interest in student success.

In 2006, the University named a residence hall complex after the couple—Joan and Macon Brock Village—in recognition of their generous support of student scholarships, residence hall improvements, athletics, and other programs. The Brocks have also long supported Virginia Wesleyan’s Center for the Study of Religious Freedom, for which Dr. Craig Wansink currently serves as the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock Jr. Director. Most recently, we announced the formation of the Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and we were pleased to recognize Joan’s father and former Board member by naming Kenneth R. Perry Field in his memory. Mrs. Brock also served for many years in an administrative role at Dollar Tree Stores, Inc., and K & K Toys.

I extend my sincerest congratulations to the Birdsong and Brock families. They are most deserving of these prestigious awards.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 Darden Awards

Wonderful evening at the CIVIC Leadership Institute’s 2017 Darden Awards. The Individual Leadership Award was presented to Virginia Wesleyan University Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong, and the Corporate Award went to Dollar Tree, which was co-founded by long-time VWU supporter Macon Brock. It was an honor to be there to celebrate these dear friends of the University.

With Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong and his wife Sue at tonight's Darden Awards, where George was honored with the Individual Leadership Award for his tremdendous contributions to our community and beyond. The Birdsong family has a long history with Virginia Wesleyan and was instrumental in the University's founding. 

With Ken Ruscio, President of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, David Kaufman, Chair of the VWU Board of Trustees, and Jon Pruden, Vice Chair of the VWU Board.

VWU Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong (center), CEO of the Birdsong Corporation, received the Individual Leadership honor during the CIVIC Leadership Institute’s Darden Awards. Also pictured: David Kaufman, Chair of the VWU Board of Trustees.

With Frank Batten, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Landmark Media Enterprises, Kate Meechan, CEO of Volunteer Hampton Roads, and David Kaufman, Founder/Senior Managing Director of Envest and Chair of the VWU Board of Trustees.

The Road To Championships: Track Brick Campaign

Your personalized brick could be permanently displayed at our new Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center through "The Road To Championships: Track Brick Campaign":

VWU Takes Action for TAG

Virginia Wesleyan students are taking action this week to show Governor Terry McAuliffe and members of the General Assembly how vital Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) funding is to our students, families, institutions, and communities. If you're a resident of Virginia, visit the Hub in the Jane P. Batten Student Center to send a message requesting increased TAG funding in the biennium budget. Tablets are available to make the process quick and easy!