Friday, September 28, 2018

Governor Ralph Northam

Nice to visit with Gov. Ralph Northam tonight at Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler’s social in Virginia Beach. The Governor is a good friend and supporter of Kelly (a 2003 graduate of VWU) and the University.

The Nature Conservancy

It was great to host colleagues from The Nature Conservancy today to discuss partnership opportunities and tour VWU's award-winning Greer Environmental Sciences Center. Pictured (from left) Jill Beiri, Program Director for the Virginia Coast Reserve; Maynard Schaus, VWU Associate Provost and Dean of University College; Bill Kittrell, Deputy State Director; Cinda Ayers, Associate Director of Philanthropy Hampton Roads; Mort Gamble, VWU Senior Vice President; and Brian van Eerden, Program Director for the Virginia Pinelands.

Hampton Roads Community Foundation

Great to show Vivian Oden of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation around Virginia Wesleyan's Fine Arts Building this morning. Joining us is Travis Malone, Dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities and Professor of Theatre.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Virginia Beach Friends School

We enjoyed hosting leaders from Virginia Beach Friends School on campus today. Pictured with Galen McNemar Hamann, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs, and Michael Barclay, Head of School. We discussed a number of collaboration opportunities.
 

Welcome Back Mary Crosby '05

It was great to welcome Mary (Douglas) Crosby ’05, Donor Relations Manager with ForKids, Inc., back to campus today. Mary, along with several of the University’s community partners, attended the second annual Civic Engagement Workshop, a meet and greet with students, faculty and staff, hosted by Wesleyan Engaged. 

Welcome New Faculty

Very pleased to welcome three new full-time faculty members to Virginia Wesleyan this fall—Dr. Modupe Oshikoya, Dr. Nadia Nafar and Dr. Robert Ariel. Read more on these distinguished professionals: http://www.vwu.edu/news-a-events/news-releases/new-professors-join-vwu-faculty

Community Partner Meet and Greet

So glad to host community partners today for a meet and greet with Virginia Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff. It was a great opportunity for our campus community to connect with non-profits from the area and create meaningful partnership opportunities that can be used to aid our community.

Campaign Ambassador Kickoff Breakfast

Started the morning with our kickoff breakfast for the Campaign Ambassadors for the 2018 Faculty and Staff Campaign: Your Gift is Your Voice. A special thank you to all of our Campaign Ambassadors! Pictured (from left): Kelly Cordova, Matt Littleton, Joyce Easter, Heather Campbell '04, Bryson Mortensen, Craig Wansink, Maynard Schaus, and Elaine Aird. Not pictured: Randy Lott, Audrey Malagon, Jason Seward, and Jayne Sullivan.

VWU Athlete Spotlight

Congratulations Meghan on this significant milestone!

Progress on The Beacon

Despite scattered showers in Coastal Virginia, brick work continues on The Beacon at Virginia Wesleyan University.  Topping off should occur in the next two weeks. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Don't Miss #MarlinSpiritDay

One week from today is #MarlinSpiritDay! Be sure to wear your favorite Virginia Wesleyan gear next Wednesday, October 3. Don't forget to snap a photo and share using the hashtag #MarlinSpiritDay.

Update on Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center

After two weeks of bad weather, crews are back at full speed on the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. The Center will open in March 2019. 

Progress on Broyles Field Dugouts at TowneBank Park

Steel work has been completed and block and brick work will start next week on the new  dugouts for Broyles Field at TowneBank Park. New sod and fencing will be installed in the next two weeks.

Work Begins on New Press Box

Work began today on the foundation for the new press box at Birdsong Field.

New Stands for the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center

Construction began today on the new stands for the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center. The 332-seat stands will be completed in mid-October.

2018 Homecoming and Family Weekend Highlights

Mark your calendars and get ready to show your Marlin Spirit...Homecoming and Family Weekend is just around the corner! Check out the many exciting events and activities here: https://conta.cc/2Qa9zuK


VWU Board of Trustees Welcomes Four New Members

Pleased to welcome the four new members elected to Virginia Wesleyan University's Board of Trustees who began their service with the 2018-2019 fiscal year—Jean T. Jenkins ’89, Community Leader, Robert W. McFarland, Partner with McGuireWoods, Eric C. Nyman ’94, President of Hasbro North America, and James H. Shumadine, Co-President of The Employment Guide. Read more here: http://www.vwu.edu/news-a-events/news-releases/board-of-trustees-welcomes-four-new-members

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Presidents Council of ODAC

A productive meeting of the Presidents Council of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) at Bridgewater College this morning. Pictured with Brad Bankston, ODAC Commissioner, and VWU Athletic Director Tina Hill, Chair of the ODAC Board of Directors.

Congratulations to ODAC's Athletes of the Week

Kudos to Virginia Wesleyan's Amber Matalus of volleyball on being named Player of the Week and Skyler Lattuca of men's cross country on being named Runner of the Week in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC)!

Read more on these star athletes here.

Johnny Brown & Richard Drake Annual Golf Classic

Register today for the Johnny Brown & Richard Drake Annual Golf Classic—a primary fundraiser for Virginia Wesleyan's Track & Field Program. The tournament is on Thursday, October 11, at Sewells Point Golf Club in Norfolk, Virginia. You can support the team by participating as a golfer or consider the many sponsorship opportunities available. More information can be found on the brochure: http://vwuathletics.com/2018_NEW_golf_brochure_-1-_5-31-2018.pdf
This tournament is named in honor of Johnny “Jack Rabbit” Brown and Richard “Snake” Drake (pictured below) for their dedication to the Virginia Wesleyan Track & Field Program.


Marlins SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in the newest edition of Marlins SportSplash: https://conta.cc/2Q3PGW8

Monday, September 24, 2018

Enjoyable Discussion with Senator Bill DeSteph

It was great to meet with Virginia Senator of the 8th District, Bill DeSteph, this morning in Virginia Beach. I provided some updates on campus initiatives and appreciated his comments on affordability of higher education—a topic very important to us at Virginia Wesleyan.

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

As we count our blessings that Coastal Virginia was largely spared the effects of Hurricane Florence, our concern continues for those in the Carolinas and elsewhere who remain impacted by the storm and its aftermath. With great relief, Virginia Wesleyan reopened for classes on September 17, and we look forward now to Homecoming and Family Weekend, October 5-7, and all the wonderful fall activities that make VWU such a special place. 

THE LANDMARK FOUNDATION EXPANDS STUDENT WORK PROGRAM 
I've often stressed the importance of college work programs and how they benefit the student and the institution. Two years ago, through an initial private gift, we established Opus, a summer work program to assist up to 20 students each year with demonstrated financial need. Ensuring that the students could afford to continue their education at Virginia Wesleyan, the program was an overwhelming success, and a source of pride for the participating students. 

Recently I shared the results of Opus with the Norfolk-based Landmark Foundation, and I am therefore pleased to announce that the Foundation has provided a significant grant to extend the summer Opus program to the full academic year. 

Supporting education, human services, and environmental causes in Hampton Roads, the foundation was created by Landmark Communications, the predecessor of Landmark Media Enterprises. The company owns businesses including Dominion Enterprises and for many years The Virginian-Pilot. Frank Batten, Jr., serves as chairman, CEO and president of Landmark Media Enterprises and Dominion Enterprises. His mother Jane is Trustee Emerita, a former Board Chair here, and the single greatest benefactor in the history of our University. Her late husband, Frank Batten, provided the funds to construct the Jane P. Batten Student Center, which opened in 2002 and is the hub for our many curricular and co-curricular activities. 

As always, we value the longstanding commitment of the Landmark Foundation and the Batten Family to Virginia Wesleyan University and our students. 

Affordability of education is an issue of increasing national concern and scrutiny, and Virginia Wesleyan is committed to assisting students and their families. Two years ago, I shared a study that illustrated an "affordability gap" of just $2,500 between VWU and regional public institutions. Many students in our survey indicated they attended VWU despite the cost differential because they found greater value in the small college setting, direct interactions with faculty and staff, and the academic "value added" of attending here. We therefore sought ways to assist students at risk of discontinuing their educations because of personal finances. 

Over the first two summers of Opus, the work program served 37 students with financial need who wished to continue their studies at Virginia Wesleyan. Preference was given to rising sophomores and juniors with a personal account balance owed of $2,000 to $3,000, and who also demonstrated, in addition to financial need, a commitment to academic studies and campus involvement. 

Participating students lived on campus in Brock Village and were provided with a modest meal plan. They began their duties following May Commencement and worked 25 hours per week for a period of 13 weeks. Projects focused on corrective maintenance, grounds and landscaping, and general campus beautification efforts. 

All 37 successfully completed the summer program and remained enrolled. 

The benefits of college work programs don't end there. 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 institutions such as Virginia Wesleyan, a work program not only can reduce debt and make higher education more affordable, but it can also make the educational experience much more useful and meaningful. 

The major goals and expected outcomes from the Opus program, therefore, are to ensure the completion of a liberal arts education for students with limited financial resources; to develop a strong work ethic; to build 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 create a reliable source of workers who are knowledgeable, skilled, and likely to remain in the region; and to increase campus pride among students. 

As I've outlined in my two State of the University 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. 

Our commitment is to continue to focus on affordability. To date, we have:
  • Established the Batten Honors College with 20 full-tuition and 20 two-thirds tuition scholarships each year. We currently have 77 students enrolled. 
  • Established Opus, a work program for financially at-risk students, expanding it from a summer program to the full academic year. 
  • Instituted a tuition freeze for 2018-19. 
  • In partnership with Tidewater Community College-Virginia Beach, established the Virginia Beach Access Scholarship for local commuters. 
  • Established low-cost January and Summer Term options in person and online. 
  • Offered a fifth-year tuition guarantee.
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 needed 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, and Jason Seward, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, 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.

WELCOME TO THE VIRGINIA WESLEYAN FAMILY 
Denise Cunningham joined Virginia Wesleyan University this week as Director of Enrollment for the Batten Honors College. For the past five years, Denise has worked as Director of Academics, College and Career at Norfolk Christian School. She has also worked in enrollment-related areas at Roberts Wesleyan College, Houghton College, and Regent University. She holds a bachelor's degree from Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, NY, a master of arts in education from Geneva College and an Ed.D. from Regent University. 

I am pleased to announce that three other vacant staff positions also have been filled.

Succeeding Don Stauffer, who retired as Director of Institutional Research, is Shane Boyd who currently serves as Institutional Research Associate at Lake Forest College, near Chicago. Shane will join Virginia Wesleyan on November 1. A native of the Coastal Virginia area, he received his bachelor's degree from James Madison University and his master's from Illinois State University. 

The position of Scheduler for the Office of the President and the Center for Advancement, held by the late Teri Eddleman, was filled by Karen Weinig, also a native of this area. Karen attended Christopher Newport University for her undergraduate studies and The George Washington University for her master's. Her professional background is in the financial industry and worked as a customer-service specialist and manager for the past 25 years. 

With Kala Baskerville's transition to the Financial Aid Office as a counselor, Tina Clark Milligan has been appointed Coordinator of Prospect Research for the Center for Advancement. Tina is a 1988 graduate of Virginia Wesleyan and joins us from the City of Virginia Beach Public Schools. Although originally from Illinois, Tina has lived in our area since 1978. 

Please join me in welcoming Denise, Shane, Karen, and Tina to VWU.

SUPPORT THE VWU FACULTY/STAFF CAMPAIGN 
As a reminder, this year's Faculty and Staff Campaign, Your Gift is Your Voice, kicks off October 1. This is an opportunity for faculty and staff to contribute financially to the University. As an institution, we are striving to meet goals in academics, enrollment, fundraising, student life, and finance/administration. Every member of the faculty and staff is invaluable to achieving these goals, and I am grateful to every one of you for the efforts you put forth daily. Be on the lookout for more information sent to your home address and via email. You may also visit www.vwu.edu/giveonline to make your gift online today. Those who make gifts before 11:59 p.m. this Thursday, September 27, will be entered into a special "early-bird" raffle for a two park-hopper passes to Disney World in Orlando, Florida!

ET CETERA 
Recently, I had an enjoyable conversation and interview with reporter Chris Quintana from The Chronicle of Higher Education about a new report by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), "The Independent College Presidency, 1986-2016." Read the article, "What's on the Mind of the Private-College President? 3 Insights From a New Report," here.

Before the Virginia Beach Vision Board of Directors meeting last week, I enjoyed the opportunity to talk with Jim Oliver, former City Manager of Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampton. His shout out regarding our technology and Coastal Virginia initiatives during his Board presentation on regionalism, which include a discussion of the book "The New Localism" were greatly appreciated. As Virginia Beach's oldest college/university, regionalism is an important part of our agenda. 

Last week, I participated in a small group conversation about regional branding with some longtime business leaders. Jim Spore, President and CEO of Reinvent Hampton Roads, hosted the discussion in his office at the World Trade Center in downtown Norfolk. Bob Aston, Executive Chairman of TowneBank, facilitated the discussion which included a significant conversation about our rebranding campaign. 

Keith Moore, VWU Vice President for Student Affairs, was interviewed by Education Dive for a story about Hurricane Florence. Education Dive provides news and analysis for higher ed and k-12 leaders. They cover topics such as online learning, policy, educational technology, MOOCs, admissions, blended learning and more. 

Congratulations to VWU alumnus Brandon Adair for being hired as a full-time NBA referee for the 2018-19 season! Brandon was named National Player of the Year in 2006. 

AROUND TOWN AND ACROSS CAMPUS 
Registration is open for the 17th annual Marlin Golf Tournament which will take place on October 5, during Homecoming and Family Weekend, at Cypress Point Country Club. Whether you are a golfer or not, learn the many ways in which you can support VWU's baseball, softball, and men's lacrosse teams here

Last Tuesday we recognized Virginia Wesleyan students who were named to the President's List for the spring 2018 semester. These impressive students earned a grade point average of 4.0 while matriculating as full-time students taking as least nine semester hours of traditionally graded courses. Congratulations! 

Wonderful "Chat 'n Chew" lunch last week in the President's Dining Room (Princess Anne Room) with VWU staff from the Financial Aid Office, Scribner University Store, and the Mail/Copy Center. We appreciate all they do to further the University's mission. I value these lunches as I get to meet with all of the hardworking departments on our campus. To schedule yours, please contact Jodi Bryant

Enjoyable visit with Robert Shuford, Sr., Chairman, President, and CEO of Old Point Financial Corporation and a member of the board of The VuBay Foundation. I updated him on campus projects and our vision for the future of VWU. 

It was nice to meet Mark Roy, new Executive Vice President of Hourigan Construction. Hourigan has been a good partner to Virginia Wesleyan University on 13 projects during the past 3 1/2 years. Joining us for the picture is Chris Brandt, Vice President of Hourigan and our lead partner during that time period. 

See the progressing Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center at sunset here. Brick work continues on The Beacon while work on the cupola began last week which will be lifted and put in place atop The Beacon's tower. Progress continues on the new VWU softball dugouts at our new TowneBank park, crews are pictured here putting steel in place. 

Great story in the Suffolk News Herald about Devin Killian Blair '13, who became the pastor at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in July, following in the footsteps of former pastor Brandon Nichols '12. 

Spotlight on the Arts at VWU for Fall 2018: Mark your calendars for a noteworthy season of music, theatre and art. Read more and check out the latest brochure.

STAY CURRENT ON VWU NEWS AND FEATURES 
Features 
News Briefs 
VWU Athletics 
Virginia Wesleyan University Magazine 
Faculty Focus 

HIGHLIGHTS FROM MY WEEKEND READING 
  • Professor Doug Kennedy shared this interesting piece from The Atlantic which reports: " 'Before the automobile, before the Statue of Liberty, before the vast majority of contemporary colleges existed, the rising cost of higher education was shocking the American conscience.' The New York Times lamented in 1875." The article goes on to report, "Today, the U.S. spends more on college than almost any other country, according to the 2018 Education at a Glance report released this week by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)." 
  • Read about "A model transfer program that should be copied" here
  • From Washington Monthly: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Higher Education Policy 
  • Longtime colleague Lynn Pasquerella, President of AAC&U and the former president of Mount Holyoke College, addresses an analysis of two parallel surveys (Connect Curriculum to Career) of business executives and hiring managers that finds recent graduates lack the skills needed to rise in the ranks at work. 
  • What's the impact of declining international student enrollment? Colleges are lowering tuition rates and creating more welcoming environments to soften the impact of tighter immigration policies and other headwinds. Read more here
  • Arizona State University has proved to be a highly innovative institution in American higher education. This article describes how 140 ASU online biology students are getting hands-on experience in virtual labs. 
  • Virginia Beach has the largest workforce (238,126) and the lowest unemployment (3.1 percent). Read more here
  • A good, short history of American higher education by The Washington Post.
REFLECTIONS 
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications: 
The Virginian-Pilot 
Enrollment Manager 
College Planning & Management 
President to President 
  
PRESIDENTIAL EVENTS 
I invite you to stay updated on these activities here

CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA 
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez 
Facebook: @ScottDMillerprez 
Instagram: @prezscottmiller 
LinkedIn: Scott D. Miller, Ph.D. 
Flickr: Scott D. Miller 
Dialogue: prezscottmiller.blogspot.com 
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email

# # #

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

VWU Mud Games

Great times had by all yesterday at the annual Virginia Wesleyan University Mud Games!

















Video Credit: Micaela Morris, Assistant Director of Physical Plant Operations at VWU.

VWU Softball Championship Fund

Please consider supporting Virginia Wesleyan Softball's Championship Fund, an effort that will help the team purchase championship rings. You can make a gift through the link below, noting "Softball Championship" in the designation line: https://www.vwu.edu/giving/make-a-gift.php

VWU Alumni News

Check out the latest VWU Alumni News including details on Homecoming and Family Weekend: https://conta.cc/2MWZrDN

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Maury Medical Program Students Interning at VWU

Maury High School senior Saoirse Teevan-Kamhawi is one of three Maury Medical Program students interning at Virginia Wesleyan University with biology professor Victor Townsend this semester. Saoirse and her two fellow interns were participants in a biology program at VWU last summer and we welcome these impressive young scholars back to our campus!

Winter is coming...are you ready?

Winter Marlin gear is in! Check it out: 

Land is being cleared for new sports center at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront

Our VWU track program is really looking forward to the indoor track that will be part of the future sports center being built at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Read more in The Virginian-Pilot.













(Photo Credit: Kristen Zeis, The Virginian-Pilot)






Friday, September 21, 2018

Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong

It was great to host Trustee Emeritus George Birdsong (left center) on campus this morning to share updates on the many capital projects we have underway. Joining us for the picture during a tour of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center (to be complete March 2019) are representatives from Hourigan Construction Clark Lambert (left), Senior Project Manager, and Eric Harrison (right), Superintendent.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Residence Hall Visits

Nice visiting with students, including Juwon Seaborne (pictured), on a walk through Bray Village tonight with Jason Seward, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, and Keith Moore, Vice President for Student Affairs.

Touring VWU's 25,000-Native-Plant Garden

How nice it was to visit with Michael Desplaines (right), President and CEO of the Norfolk Botanical Garden (NBG), today on campus. VWU and NBG have a multifaceted partnership which provides special expertise to manage these beautiful and unique teaching gardens with a Director of Living Landscapes and Horticulturist. Joining us for the picture in our spacious 25,000-native-plant garden outside the Greer Environmental Sciences Center is Dr. Maynard Schaus, Associate Provost of the University. 

Leadership in the Arts

Enjoyed speaking to Dr. Sandi Billy's "Arts Management" class today in the Fine Arts Building. We discussed the role of the Arts at VWU, non-profit boards, fundraising, and related careers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

VWU Alumna: Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler

Always great to visit with State Representative Kelly Convirs-Fowler (Virginia's 21st House of Delegates district) at The Harbor Club. She is a 2003 graduate of Virginia Wesleyan University.

Chat 'n Chew

Wonderful "Chat 'n Chew" lunch in the President's Dining Room (Princess Anne Room) today with VWU staff from the Financial Aid Office, Scribner University Store, and the Mail/Copy Center. We appreciate all they do to further the University's mission. From left: Kala Baskerville, Financial Aid Counselor, Melanie Monk, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, Saskia White, Scribner University Store Assistant Manager, Kim Brown, Scribner University Store Manager, Cecile Brown, Mail/Copy Center Specialist, and Tia White, Mail/Copy Center Materials Manager.
 

The Beacon's Cupola

Today work began on the cupola which will be lifted and put in place atop The Beacon's tower.

Progress on The Beacon

Brick work continues on the Virginia Wesleyan University Beacon.

Work Continues on New Softball Dugouts

Crews putting steel in place for the Virginia Wesleyan Softball dugouts at our new TowneBank Park.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

President's List Reception

Today we recognized Virginia Wesleyan students—including those pictured here with Provost O'Rourke and me—who were named to the President's List for the spring 2018 semester. These impressive students earned a grade point average of 4.0 while matriculating as full-time students taking at least nine semester hours of traditionally graded courses. Congratulations!

Marlins SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in the newest edition of Marlins SportSplash: https://conta.cc/2DawKDA

Enjoyable Visit with Robert Shuford

Enjoyable visit with Robert Shuford, Sr., Chairman, President, and CEO of Old Point Financial Corporation and a member of the board of The VuBay Foundation. I updated him on campus projects and our vision for the future of VWU.
 

Meeting Mark Roy of Hourigan

It was nice to meet Mark Roy, new Executive Vice President of Hourigan Construction. Hourigan has been a good partner to Virginia Wesleyan University on 13 projects during the past 3 1/2 years. Joining us for the picture is Chris Brandt, Vice President of Hourigan and our lead partner during that time period.

Spotlight on the Arts: Fall 2018

Spotlight on the Arts at VWU for Fall 2018 -- mark your calendars for a noteworthy season of music, theatre and art. Read more and check out the latest brochure: https://goo.gl/4TZZsZ  
#HottestCollegeinCoastalVA #YearOfTheArts

Monday, September 17, 2018

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who kept the campus up and running this week with food, power, and shelter in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Your dedication to our students and one another is greatly appreciated. Many thanks for being prepared, responding positively, and helping keep Virginia Wesleyan University running smoothly, and most importantly, safely!

Virginia Wesleyan University Ranked 19th Nationally in Ethnic Diversity by U.S. News
I am pleased to share that Virginia Wesleyan University has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report in two categories of its 2019 Best Colleges rankings. Virginia Wesleyan is ranked 19th in “Ethnic Diversity” among National Liberal Arts Colleges and is featured among U.S. News’ 229 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.”

To identify colleges where students are most likely to encounter undergraduates from a different ethnic group from their own, U.S. News factored in the proportion of minority students—leaving out international students—and the overall mix of groups in each institution’s 2017-2018 academic year student body. The categories used in the calculations are African-American (non-Hispanic), Hispanic, American Indian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, White (non-Hispanic), and multiracial (two or more races). The largest ethnic group at Virginia Wesleyan is African-American, representing 26 percent of the University’s student population.

Pacific Union College is top-rated in the “Ethnic Diversity” category, and rounding out the top 10 are Soka University of America, Agnes Scott College, Harvey Mudd College, Pine Manor College, Pomona College, Wellesley College, Swarthmore College, Amherst College, and Austin College. The top 20 include Fort Lewis College, Whittier College, Occidental College, Bryn Mawr College, Claremont McKenna College, Oglethorpe University, Pitzer College, Purchase College-SUNY, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Wesleyan College.

U.S. News also classifies Virginia Wesleyan University among its 229 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.” Methodology for these rankings focuses on academic excellence, with schools evaluated on hundreds of data points and up to 15 measures of academic quality. Overall, the rankings emphasize student outcomes—such as graduation and freshman retention rates—which carry the most weight at 30 percent. The top National Universities and National Liberal Arts Colleges have significantly higher graduation and freshman retention rates than other schools.

We are proud to hold this designation, as it represents the diverse, global community in which our University is located. We are a welcoming, inclusive campus with an outstanding, nationally prominent academic reputation—and we take pride in fostering the kinds of values and traditions that make our students proud to have chosen us for their career and life success. 

VWU Featured in National Case Study
A new Aramark study, released this month, states, “Transforming an established higher education institution is a major undertaking requiring capital, expertise, teamwork, vision and leadership. Read how VWU elevated its academic program, executed several new construction projects and significantly boosted fundraising and new student enrollment.” View the full case study here.

9/11 Memorial
Tuesday marked the 17th anniversary of the September 11th attack by terrorists on America. We honored those who lost their lives as well as the first responders who risked their lives with a memorial service, our annual 9/11 Remembrance Gathering in the Peace Garden. Thank you to our student leaders who participated in the service: Yaminah Lewis '21 and Thomas Reinhold '20 for their moving performance of “America the Beautiful", Andre Wiggins '20 for his reading of the Gettysburg Address, and Nicole Johnson '19 who shared powerful quotes of 9/11. I also thank Provost Timothy O’Rourke for his inspiring remarks, Chaplain Greg West for leading us in prayer and the Litany for Peace in Our Communities, and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom Kelly Jackson for her closing remarks and call to action. Let us never forget. Read more about the event here.

Constitution Day Program – Singing a Freedom Song: Voting Rights in A Minor
Who can vote? At different times in American history, the right to vote has been restricted on account of race, age, gender, literacy, property, wealth (in the form of poll taxes), and length of residency. Even today with universal suffrage, questions remain regarding voter identification at polling places and the purging of registration rolls. The case of Virginia Minor, who argued to the Supreme Court in 1875 that the 14th Amendment gives women the right to vote, offers a window on the past, present, and future of the right to vote in America. 

Join us on Thursday, September 20, at 12 p.m. in the Pearce Hospitality Suite, as Provost Timothy O’Rourke discusses “the fundamental political right” that is “preservative of all rights.” Dr. O’Rourke has testified before both U.S. House and Senate committees on voting rights and redistricting issues, and his expert testimony has been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court.

2018 Homecoming and Family Weekend
It’s hard to believe this is just around the corner! Don’t miss the traditions and festivities on October 5-7, 2018. This year will include a special event, THE EDGE 5k Fun Run, where proceeds will support The Excellence Fund in providing annual scholarship assistance for VWU students. View the full schedule here and mark your calendars!

Founders Day and the Year of the Arts
On Thursday, September 6, we celebrated Virginia Wesleyan’s third annual Founders Day, honoring our history and heritage. This year’s festivities began with a special Alumni Awards event held in the Hofheimer Theater, an appropriate location as we continue to celebrate the “Year of the Arts.” This year’s talented and accomplished award recipients are Alisa Crider '10, Public Relations Coordinator at Hampton Roads Transit (Graduate of the Last Decade Award); Clayton Singleton '94, Artist and Teacher at Norfolk Public Schools (Alumni Service Award); and Joseph Ruddy '83, Chief Innovation Officer at The Port of Virginia (Distinguished Alumnus Award). We also honored and thanked a very special alumna, Mavis McKenley ’11, for her three years of service as past Chair of the Alumni Council from 2016-2018. 

Guests then headed to the site of the forthcoming Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, where all were invited to make their mark on the building by signing the final structural steel beam. We are grateful to the Goode and the Watts families for sharing in the milestone as well as many special guests who joined us for the ceremony. 

Next up was Founders Day Convocation where all students join faculty, staff, and special guests in the Convocation Hall of the Jane P. Batten Student Center. We thank Dr. Larry Hultgren, VWU’s longest-tenured faculty member, for his powerful and engaging words as he recalled his nearly 50 years at VWU and the ways it has grown from an aspiring college to an inspiring university. The Convocation also included performances by the Wesleyan Vox Vera student choir—featuring a fitting rendition of The Beatles’ 1965 hit “In My Life”—recognition of the 2018 Alumni Awards recipients, and a benediction by 2008 alumna Rev. Stephanie Kimec Parker. 

Capping off the festivities was a fitting event which celebrates the present and future of Virginia Wesleyan, an intimate Batten Honors College Recognition Ceremony for the 39 newest Batten Fellows and Shumadine Scholars. A ceremonial pinning of each student represents their completion of orientation and formal induction into the Batten Honors College of Virginia Wesleyan University.
Thank you again to all who made 2018 Founders Day festivities possible and most importantly, meaningful. Read more about the day and the honorees here. You can also view photos from Founders Day here.

Around town and across campus… 
After a week of demolition, construction has begun on the new step-down, walk-in dugouts for the softball complex at Virginia Wesleyan University.

The first President's Leadership Council (PLC) meeting of the 2018-19 academic year was held this afternoon. The PLC meets monthly in an effort to broaden discussion and participation in shared governance and to foster collaborative processes on key administrative issues.

Make plans to join Virginia Wesleyan's Center for the Study of Religious Freedom (CSRF) at their fall events—read more in the CSRF September e-newsletter

Read about the latest accomplishments of Virginia Wesleyan University faculty and staff in this month's VWU Faculty Focus.

Scaffolding is up as brick work is in progress on The Beacon.

The VWU Athletics Management Council is off to a great start with a productive first meeting of the new academic year. 

Wonderful "Chat 'n Chew" lunch in the President's Dining Room (Princess Anne Room) with the Office of Marketing and Communications staff. We appreciate all they do to further the University's mission. I value these lunches as I get to meet with all of the hardworking departments on our campus. To schedule yours, please contact Jodi Bryant.

Enjoy the following links to stay current on all news and features at VWU: 

Highlights from my weekend reading  
  • Wonderful features and coverage by The Virginian-Pilot and ABC 13 News Now on the Regional Fiber Ring event held at Virginia Wesleyan. As VWU continues to grow and expand our research and educational opportunities, fast, reliable and affordable fiber access will be critical to our future success. You can also read more about this initiative here.
  • A great feature in the Southside Daily: Solar SmartFlower making power for Virginia Wesleyan University 
Presidential events
I invite you to stay updated on these activities here

Connect with me on social media
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez
Facebook: @ScottDMillerprez
Instagram: @prezscottmiller
Flickr: Scott D. Miller
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Have a great week!