Friday, November 30, 2018

A Fine Way to Treat a Steinway

Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Music Bryson Mortensen, Dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities and Professor of Theatre Travis Malone, and VWU freshman Ryan Fissinger ‘22 recently traveled to the Steinway & Sons factory and showroom in Astoria, New York to select the best piano for Virginia Wesleyan. Read more here.

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: 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Construction Begins on Grandstand

Construction began today on the grandstand at Virginia Wesleyan University’s TowneBank Park/Broyles Field.

New Building for the Softball Program

Work started today on the new Auxiliary Building for the softball program at Virginia Wesleyan University’s TowneBank Park/Broyles Field. 

Beacon Brick Work Complete

Brick work on The Beacon is complete and crews are removing scaffolding this week. We look forward to holding our annual Christmas tree lighting nearby on December 7.

A Visit With Our New Virginia Beach Mayor

Enjoyable visit this afternoon with new Virginia Beach Mayor Robert M. "Bobby" Dyer. A veteran of the U.S. Marines and former educator, we discussed areas of mutual interest and possible collaboration.

A Gift for the Goodes

A group from Virginia Wesleyan, including Dr. Bryson Mortensen (right), traveled to the Steinway factory in Astoria, New York, earlier this month to select the new Steinway Concert Grand Piano for the Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. As a token of appreciation, Steinway sent a handmade piano hammer to the Goodes, which we had the pleasure of presenting to Susan (center) during today’s Clarke Heritage Society luncheon. The hammer, which is only presented during the selection process, strikes the string to produce the sound from the piano.

Honoring Our Clarke Heritage Society Members

Such a pleasure to welcome Alice Clarke and her daughter Virginia Hitch (center) to campus today for our annual luncheon celebrating members of the Clarke Heritage Society. The society is named for Alice and her late husband Lambuth, a former president of the University, and honors those who have included Virginia Wesleyan in their estate plans. We thank our members for their commitment to the University in this most important way. Also pictured: Martha Jo Wilson (right), wife of the late William "Bill" Wilson, former Academic Dean of the University.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thank You to Those Who Make Our Success Possible

Although the Outstanding Non-Profit in Fundraising Award is a wonderful honor for Virginia Wesleyan, we owe tremendous gratitude to those who make our success possible. Leadership support of VWU enriches our mission of teaching, scholarship and service. We appreciate those who joined us to celebrate today Trustee Mary Haddad, Annie Miller, VWU Senior Vice President Dr. Mort Gamble, Trustee Susan Goode, Trustee John Malbon and Trustee Emerita Jane Batten.

VWU Awarded as Outstanding Fundraiser

It was an honor to accept the Outstanding Non-Profit in Fundraising Award today from Laurie Harrison, President of the Association of Fundraising Professionals - Hampton Roads chapter. Virginia Wesleyan was recognized for its strong record of philanthropic support that has led to new campus construction, two national-niche programs (the Batten Honors College and the Greer Environmental Sciences Center), upgrades of athletic facilities, and enhanced information technology—all constituting an astonishing transformation at our campus in just three years.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Marlins SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in the newest edition of Marlins SportSplash

Auxiliary Building at the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center

Work began today on the new auxiliary building to be used by the track and field program at Virginia Wesleyan University​. The building will be constructed at the Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center. 

Leaders of VWU Greek Organizations

Wonderful lunch with leaders from Greek organizations at Virginia Wesleyan University. I always enjoy these opportunities to learn more about campus life directly from our students. Special thanks to Brandon Foster, President of the Inter-fraternity Council, for helping coordinate the event. Joining us is Kelly Bateman of Alpha Sigma Alpha, Austin Edmonds of Chi Beta Psi, Bayli Foley of Phi Sigma Sigma, Celine Henri of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Nicole Johnson of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kennedi Jones of Independent Greek Council, Genesis McDaniels of Zeta Phi Beta, Myles Stephens of Alpha Phi Alpha, Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Moore, and Assistant Vice President for Students Affairs Jason Seward. 

Progress on The Beacon

Scaffolding coming down from construction of The Beacon at Virginia Wesleyan University.

"Organization working to 'break down barriers' opens Hampton Roads office"

"With an extremely diverse student body and faculty and staff, we think it's important to have VCIC here and in a prominent role, in that it teaches, educates, facilitates…how to be better neighbors and partners and how to live in a non-divisive way." Virginia Wesleyan University is proud to be home to the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities' Hampton Roads office and to take part in breaking down barriers.

Read more in The Virginian-Pilot article "Organization working to 'break down barriers' opens Hampton Roads office."

Monday, November 26, 2018

The Wesleyan Review: November 23, 2018

Our newest edition of the Wesleyan Review is out. Read about the latest VWU news and events here:

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

I hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and that you have returned to campus rested and ready to take on the remainder of the semester. I spent much time over the break reflecting on the many things for which I am most grateful, including all that we have achieved here at Virginia Wesleyan in the last year.

We have affectionately referred to this time as the "Year of the Arts" here on campus. It started last December with the groundbreaking for the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, and has continued with various milestone events surrounding the new facility-the announcement of our forthcoming Steinway Concert Grand Piano, the signing of the steel beam as the final structural piece was raised into place, our recent unveiling of the building's cornerstone, and of course, the many theatrical and musical performances that have taken place in Hofheimer Theater this fall as we've said farewell to this historic space as a mainstage.
Today I am proud to share yet another landmark moment for our new Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. It is my pleasure to reveal the creation of a stunning new logo that captures the modern design of this magnificent facility and symbolizes the unique performances and artistic imagination that will come to life within its walls. Many thanks to Christine Hall, Associate Director of Communications and Design Manager, for her outstanding work. Christine was instrumental in the rebranding of Virginia Wesleyan to a University and is also responsible for our new Marlin logo in athletics. We appreciate her good work and dedication to enhancing Virginia Wesleyan's image.


Our best wishes to Provost and Vice President Timothy O'Rourke as he recovers from hip replacement surgery. We look forward to seeing him at the start of the new year. Special thanks to Associate Provost and Dean of University College Maynard Schaus who will act on behalf of Dr. O'Rourke for the remainder of the fall semester until his return in January.

Thanks to Governor Ralph Northam for making a special visit to campus on November 16 to recognize our back-to-back NCAA National Championship softball team. The Governor has been a good friend to our University and it was wonderful to see him, as always. Read more about his visit and view photos here.


Special thanks to our friends at TowneBank for their sponsorship of last weekend's TowneBank Tip-Off Tournament. In their season opener, Virginia Wesleyan's basketball team defeated Greensboro College (NC) 75-74 on Friday, November 16. Closing out the tournament, St. John Fisher College (NY) narrowly upended Virginia Wesleyan 64-61 for the championship on Saturday afternoon. I'm pleased to share that the entire weekend was well attended and the quality of all four teams participating in the tournament was solid, both in regards to athleticism and sportsmanship. View the full men's basketball schedule  here.

Kudos to VWU student-leaders for hosting the 2018 Marlin Prestige Business Conference November 12-16. The Marlin Prestige featured workshops, presentations, and interactive panels that embraced the fall 2018 theme, "The Business of Everything." Read more here.


With parts of our campus in both Virginia Beach and Norfolk territory, we benefit from many strong leadership organizations in both cities. One such organization is the award-winning Downtown Norfolk Council. Founded in 1979, the DNC is comprised of more than 300 business and individual members dedicated to promoting and enhancing business, cultural, and residential initiatives in Norfolk. I recently had the pleasure of visiting with President and CEO Mary Miller and under her leadership, the DNC is a valuable asset to our community. Visit their website for more information and to explore local attractions and upcoming events.


Another valuable asset to Coastal Virginia is the Greater Norfolk Corporation where I enjoy serving on their Board of Directors. Our last meeting was particularly interesting with presentations from  Entrepreneurial EcosystemGlass Light Hotel & Gallery, and  Economic Development. It is always exciting to see the collaboration between the greater Hampton Roads community. 

A wonderful debut at the Virginia Wesleyan University basketball opener on November 16 by the new Pep Band. Thanks to Dr. Jason Squinobal, Director of Instrumental Music, for his leadership.

Congratulations to student-athlete Amber Matalus of the Virginia Wesleyan University volleyball team for earning an All-America Honorable Mention from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) for her performance during the 2018 season.

As in 2018-19, Virginia Wesleyan University will freeze tuition for the 2019-20 academic year. Read more here.

Congratulations to The Rev. Dr. Theodore "Ted" Smith '84, a Virginia Wesleyan alumni, on his appointment as the new Director of Connectional Ministries, effective July 1, 2019! It was great to see Rev. Smith on campus last month when he delivered an inspiring message at a special Homecoming worship service. Read more here.

Brick work on The Beacon is complete and crews are preparing to remove scaffolding in the coming week. Pads have been poured on the Broyles Field at TowneBank Park and the step-down, walk-in softball dugouts are nearing completion. Work is set to begin this week on the new stands. The new baseball scoreboard for Kenneth R. Perry Field at TowneBank Park is looking great as are the new stands at Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center. Construction continues on schedule for the March opening of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center.


  • "Is the 'Trump Effect' Scaring Away Prospective Students? The number of international students enrolled in American higher education in the fall of 2017 dropped by 6.6 percent." Read more in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  • "What is the future of fraternities on college campuses? After four student deaths in 2017 and pressure from parents, colleges are cracking down--but just how far they'll go is still undetermined." Read more here.
  • "Study Abroad Numbers Grow," reports Inside Higher Ed, "The number of Americans studying abroad continues to increase and grow more racially diverse. Participation in short-term programs is booming, while the number of students studying abroad for a full year is decreasing."
  • "Welcome to Virginia Beach, home of the East Coast's fastest-rising sea level."  Read more in The Washington Post.
  • "Report: Colleges must teach liberal arts grads to merge hard and soft skills." Read more here.
  • What You Need to Know About the Proposed Title IX Regulations," reports The Chronicle of Higher Education.  "The long-awaited draft rules would replace the Obama administration's guidance, which had called for more aggressive enforcement of the 1972 law mandating gender equity among colleges that accept federal money."
  • United Methodist Church Coverage of the Commission on a Way Forward:
  • Everyone knows English majors can't get jobs. Except the employers who hire them. College kids--and their parents--think a humanities degree is useless. But businesses want students who can write and think critically."  Read more in The Boston Globe.
  • "VT's transformative higher-ed package attracted Amazon to Va," reports Tim Sands in the Richmond Times-Dispatch
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
I invite you to stay updated on these activities here.
Instagram: @prezscottmiller
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email)

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Have a great week!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

VWU Men's and Women's Basketball

Good luck to our Virginia Wesleyan University men's and women's basketball teams today as they both take on Guilford College at home. Come cheer on your Marlins at 2 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Broyles Field at TowneBank Park

Pads have been poured on Broyles Field at TowneBank Park and the new step-down, walk-in dugouts for our National Championship Virginia Wesleyan University softball team are nearing completion. Work is set to begin on the new stands this week. 

Friday, November 23, 2018

Feature on VWU Athletic Director Tina Hill

Great feature on Virginia Wesleyan University Athletic Director Tina Hill. Read it here.

Progress on The Beacon

Brick work on The Beacon is complete and crews are preparing to remove scaffolding in the coming week. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Betty S. Rogers Track & Field Center

Aren't the new stands at Betty S. Rogers Track and Field Center looking great?

Marlins SportSplash

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in the newest edition of Marlins SportSplash:

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Good Luck VWU Women's and Men's Basketball

Good luck to our men's and women's basketball teams as they both play on the home court tonight in the Jane P. Batten Student Center. Don't miss the women's basketball team take on N.C. Wesleyan College at 5:30 p.m. and the men's team as they take on Salisbury University at 7:30 p.m. Go Marlins!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Congratulations to Rev. Theodore "Ted" Smith '84

Congratulations to The Rev. Dr. Theodore "Ted" Smith '84, a Virginia Wesleyan alumni, on his appointment as the new Director of Connectional Ministries, effective July 1, 2019! It was great to see Rev. Smith on campus last month when he delivered an inspiring message at a special Homecoming worship service. Read more here.

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

Last Monday, we commemorated military service and sacrifice at our annual Veterans Day Ceremony on campus. I was honored to be invited to speak. Marissa Philips '19 offered beautiful renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful," and The Rev. Greg West, University Chaplain, gave the Invocation and Prayer of Thanksgiving. Many thanks to Amy Rush, Deputy Director of the Lighthouse: Center for Exploration and Discovery; Kate Couch, Director of Student Activities; and Melanie Monk, Assistant Director of Financial Aid, for their efforts in planning a dignified and meaningful event. Read more and view the photo gallery here.


Our highly selective Batten Honors College continues to receive national attention.  From an initial list of nearly 40,000 prospective students, we have narrowed the pool of eligible candidates to approximately 80 students who will compete for 40 scholarships in this year's cohort. We hosted 38 prospective scholars to campus on November 8-10 for the first Batten Honors College Competition of the 2018-19 academic year. The competition for a place in this distinctive and unique program began with a welcome reception at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and continued with interviews, campus tours, class visits, and panel discussions over the next two days. Participating students and their parents also attended a reception the evening of November 9 at Slover Library in downtown Norfolk. The second part of the competition, which will follow the same format, will occur February 7-9. View the photo gallery here.


History was made last weekend as we watched the cupola placed atop The Beacon at Monumental Chapel, a milestone in the restoration of a historic campus icon. The cross, a symbol of our Methodist heritage, faces east which has religious significance. 


We also had a great turnout last weekend for the Marlins Day Open House where we welcomed prospective students and families to campus. Read more about the day and view the photo gallery here.

At the invitation of Jonathan Alger, President of James Madison University, I attended a meeting of cross-sector presidents (private, state and community colleges in Virginia) in conjunction with a conference JMU hosted entitled "Engagement for the Public Good."  Dr. Alger has taken a leadership role in this important topic in Virginia and has invited me to assist him in organizing the Virginia presidents.  We discussed connecting learning to community and civic engagement. It was great to share my strong interest in civic engagement and service with so many other leaders in higher education. As a former Chair of West Virginia Campus Compact, I will join the Board of Virginia Campus Compact this year.


I enjoy serving on the Board of Virginia Beach Vision. This month's topic was Regionalism and Business led by
Louis "Lou"  Haddad, President and Chief Executive Officer of Armada Hoffler Properties, Inc. Lou's wife, Mary Haddad, serves as a Virginia Wesleyan University Trustee whom we are pleased to have on our Board. 


Last week I participated in a fascinating program entitled "Free Speech at Colleges and Universities: Perspectives and Recommendations" hosted by four colleagues from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).  Grant Cornwell, President of Rollins College; Frederick Lawrence, CEO of Phi Beta Kappa Society, and President-emeritus of Brandeis University; Sandy Ungar, Director of The Free Speech Project at Georgetown University, Visiting Lecturer at Harvard College, and President-emeritus of Goucher College; and Cerri Banks, Dean of Skidmore College, did a masterful job of framing an important topic for all of American higher education. Special thanks to AAC&U for taking an active leadership role in this important topic.


Most of you are aware that I Chair the Climate Leadership Network (formerly American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment). The 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit comes at an opportune time to gather as climate action leaders in higher education. I've provided a link to the speakers and registration information here.

Such a privilege to recognize our incredible Physical Plant staff last week who earned Virginia Wesleyan University a Merit Award from the Professional Grounds Management Society's Green Star Awards competition for exceptional grounds maintenance. I'm grateful for their hard work in keeping VWU's native forests, large expanses of turf, ornamental and native trees, numerous ponds, athletic fields, and flower beds beautiful. Our partners from the Norfolk Botanical Garden who assist with our living landscapes joined us for the event. Read more here.  

Annie and I enjoyed lunch with some wonderful friends of Virginia Wesleyan University last week including Alice Clarke (wife of former President Lambuth Clarke), Judith Brown (a faculty member in the 1970s), Martha Jo Wilson (wife of former Academic Dean, William "Bill" Wilson).  We shared so many great Virginia Wesleyan stories.

We welcomed to campus LTC Rhana Kurdi, Professor of Military Science and Director of the Army ROTC Monarchs. Virginia Wesleyan has an active Army ROTC program in cooperation with ODU.  This program has grown significantly over the last two years and we will soon be announcing designated office space on our campus.   

Jason Seward, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, poses here with the new VWU logo that will be placed on the hill at Mt. Crushmore (beyond the left field fence at Perry Field). The logo will be lit at night and surrounded by landscaping. It was funded by the graduating Class of 2018. 

Congratulations to student-athlete Skyler Lattuca of the Virginia Wesleyan University men's cross country team who earned All-Region honors! Read more here.

It was great to Chat 'n Chew with friends from Student Affairs recently. 

I had a wonderful evening last Tuesday with the young professionals of tHRive, a program of the Hampton Roads Chamber that empowers young professionals to actively take part in shaping the future of our region. I was proud to participate in their "Table for 10" program. Read more here.

Last week I attended the 2018 Darden Awards, sponsored by the CIVIC Leadership Institute, and enjoyed being a guest of long-time Virginia Wesleyan University Trustee and friend George Birdsong at the Birdsong Peanuts table at the Peter Decker Half Moone Cruise Center at Waterside in Norfolk. George was last year's recipient of the Darden Award, presented annually for outstanding civic leadership in Coastal Virginia. I had the opportunity to catch up with Henry Light, friend and supporter of Virginia Wesleyan University and a member of the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV). Congratulations to Harvey Lindsay, Jr., and Ferguson Enterprises--recipients of the 2018 Darden Awards.

It was such a pleasure to recognize our friends from TowneBank at the Roundball Insiders Luncheon. The TowneBank Tip-Off Tournament was held over the weekend.

I'm proud to share that four-time Grammy winner Steve Buckingham will be teaching a course at Virginia Wesleyan University this spring. He gave a special presentation last Thursday on the course topic: "Rhythm and Blues Tore Down the Walls of Segregation." Read more here

I'd like to conclude with an especially meaningful statement on the importance of service and social commitment by Clayton Singleton '94: "There are some people who equate service with sacrifice, but service is an investment. It's an investment in the future, in each other, and in what bonds us together." Clayton shared this in his acceptance speech when receiving the 2018 Alumni Service Award from VWU during our Founders Day celebration in September and it has stayed with me. Clayton is an award-winning artist and educator in the Norfolk Public Schools who gave a special artist talk last Thursday at the opening of his show "Future, Love, Paradise" on display at the Neil Britton Art Gallery through January 17.



  • "Conflicted Views of Technology: A Survey of Faculty Attitudes." Read more here.
  • "College students are more engaged in interest groups than in political parties." Read more here.
  • Read about how colleges are incorporating blockchain to verify academic credentials here.
  • "Life Is Complicated: Distance Learning Helps."  Read more in The New York Times.
  • "America is Divided by Education," reports The Atlantic.
  • According to The Chronicle of Higher Education's Daily Briefing, the midterm elections generated record early-voter turnout, and exit polls broke down which voting blocs played crucial roles in who was elected. Here are some takeaways:
    • Over half of college-educated white men and 40 percent of college-educated white women backed Republican candidates.
    • College students in Wisconsin helped defeat Republican Gov. Scott Walker. In Dane County, where the University of Wisconsin at Madison is located, voter turnout increased by 17 percent compared with 2014.
    • Fifty-nine percent of college-educated white women voted for Democratic House candidates compared with 49 percent in the 2016 election.

    I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
    I invite you to stay updated on these activities here.

    Twitter: @vawesleyanprez
    Facebook: @ScottDMillerprez
    Instagram: @prezscottmiller
    Flickr: Scott D. Miller
    (Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email

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    Have a great week and blessed Thanksgiving!