Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Visit with Steve Best, New President of The Beazley Foundation

So nice to visit today with Steve Best, the new Beazley Foundation president. The Beazley Technology Center, Beazley Recital Hall, Beazley Foyer in Godwin Hall, and Beazley student scholarships are among the many ways the foundation has supported VWU throughout the years.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Visiting the Slover Library

It was great to visit and discuss collaborative opportunities with Lynn Clements (center left) and Liz Powell (left) of the Slover Library. Lynn is a former Trustee of Virginia Wesleyan. VWU and the Slover have been good partners for many years. Also pictured: Kim Hammer, VWU Vice President for Advancement, and Travis Malone, VWU Dean of the Batten Honors College.

Nota Bene: Weekly Update


July 19, 2021

Good morning,
I am proud to share Virginia Wesleyan University’s support of #Double Pell, a new national campaign aimed at encouraging Congress to double the maximum Pell Grant to $13,000. At VWU, over one-third of our students are eligible to receive Pell Grants, so I ask our entire Marlin family to consider engaging with the campaign in support of the effort to double the maximum award. 

The Double Pell Alliance, a coalition of higher education associations, organizations, and advocacy groups, is organizing the campaign in support of doubling the maximum Pell Grant by June 2022, the 50th anniversary of the creation of the program. 

Marlins can support this campaign in the following ways:

  • Send an email to your members of Congress letting them know why the Pell Grant is so important to you and asking that they support efforts to double the maximum grant. The Take Action page of the #DoublePell website has a template email message you can use and a quick and easy way to send your message to Congress directly. 
  • If you are a current or former Pell Grant recipient, share your story on the Pell Voices page of the campaign website so others can see what the Pell Grant program means to you.
  • Use your social media accounts to speak out in favor of doubling the maximum Pell Grant and encourage others to do the same. The Take Action page of the campaign website has some graphics you can use. Be sure to use #DoublePell in all of your posts.
  • Learn more about the importance of the Pell Grant program on the Resources page of the campaign website.
  • Ask your families and friends to get involved by sending emails to their members of Congress and engaging via social media using the Take Action page.

Thank you for considering this request to help support efforts to double the maximum Pell Grant award, which is essential for many Marlins to access an affordable, high-quality liberal arts private education at Virginia Wesleyan.

Learn more about the campaign in University Business
I wish to acknowledge and congratulate our employees who reached service milestones this spring. These outstanding individuals have dedicated much of their careers to serving Virginia Wesleyan and our students. I sincerely thank them for their commitment to the Marlin community.
We look forward to recognizing the following individuals, and those who celebrated milestones in 2020, during an appreciation event on August 4. Congratulations to all!
35 Years
Deborah Carr
30 Years
Lois Ford
Deborah Ware
25 Years
Anthony Daniels
Robin Takacs
20 Years
William Harrell ’98
Tim Lockett
Stuart Minnis
Diana Risk
Lindsay Sands ’16
Jennifer Schirmer
Jason Seward ’05
Sharon Swift
15 Years
Kent Brown
Deirdre Gonsalves-Jackson
Andrea Hoover-Erbig
Lydia Kennedy
10 Years
Peter Anderson
Kala Baskerville ‘11
Nathan Boudreaux
Thomas Brown
Kristin Burney
Natalie Clark
Audrey Malagon
Amy Rush
Sylvia Schelly is Interim Vice President for Finance
As previously announced, Sylvia Schelly will be serving as Interim Vice President for Finance while the search for a new vice president continues. Sylvia has served as Associate Vice President for Finance for several years and will continue in that capacity after the new CFO is selected. I thank Sylvia for her willingness to assist the University in such a capacity as we find the right candidate for the position. 
Thanks to those who joined us last week for a farewell gathering for departing Vice President for Finance and Administration Jim Cooper. Jim served the University extremely well for four years, and we wish him the best as he transitions to a similar position at Cabrini University in his hometown of Philadelphia.
Preparing for the 2021 State of the University
I hope you’ve marked your calendars for the 2021 State of the University, which will be held on Friday, August 20. The event is open to faculty, staff, and special guests of the University (by invitation only). Thank you to our event sponsors -- The Franklin Johnston Group, Hoy Construction and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney -- for their generous support. 
Tides Game to Celebrate VWU Softball Rescheduled
Due to weather, the Norfolk Tides game at Harbor Park celebrating our 2021 National Championship softball team has been rescheduled to Tuesday, July 27 at 7:05 p.m. National Player of the Year Jessica Goldyn will throw the first pitch. Marlins fans are welcome to purchase tickets for the game to join in the celebration. If you’d like to support our national champions but cannot attend the game, please consider making a gift to our championship rings campaign.  
Town Hall with Rep. Elaine Luria
I enjoyed attending a town hall meeting with U.S. Representative Elaine Luria at Ebenezer Baptist Church, which is located across from campus on the corner of Wesleyan Drive and Baker Road. In addition to visiting with Rep. Luria and her staff, it was nice to catch up with a variety of local dignitaries for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Rep. Luria has been a good friend and strong supporter of VWU during her two terms in Congress.  
The Robert Nusbaum Center Summer 2021 Publication Online Now
Please find the latest publication from the Robert Nusbaum Center at VWU here. The publication’s new title, Understanding, reflects the expanded focus of the Robert Nusbaum Center beyond religious freedom to broader matters of diversity, faith, and freedom. 
Dual Enrollment Program Success
Our dual enrollment partner, The Hague School in Norfolk, was very pleased with the success of this year's Oceanography course at VWU in partnership with The Harkness Institutes in Mexico. They created a photobook to capture the memories of this fun and educational experience of their students. A special thanks to Hague School Headmaster and VWU Class of 1996 alumna Jennifer Warren for sharing. Enjoy! 
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez 
Instagram: @prezscottmiller 
Flickr: Scott D. Miller 
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email
Have a wonderful week, Marlins!

Scott D. Miller, Ph.D.
Virginia Wesleyan University
5817 Wesleyan Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
Phone: 757.455.3215

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Academic Search/AALI Board of Directors Summer Meeting

For several years I have chaired the Academic Search Inc. Board of Directors. Today we held our joint summer meeting with the American Academic Leadership Institute. Both of these organizations have provided me and many college presidents with personal and professional growth and support, especially during the last 18 months of nationwide challenges.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Farewell Gathering for Jim Cooper, Vice President for Finance & Administration

Today we had a farewell party for Vice President for Finance & Administration Jim Cooper. We sincerely thank Jim for his four years of outstanding service to Virginia Wesleyan University and our students.

He is pictured with some of his Cabinet colleagues and his direct reports below. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021


VWU is proud to join the #DoublePell campaign to help make higher education more affordable for students with the most need. Find out how you can help at

Monday, July 12, 2021

Nota Bene: Weekly Update


July 12, 2021

Good morning,
I am pleased to welcome the fifth class to our highly selective Batten Honors College. Founded in 2016, with the first class enrolled in fall 2017, the Batten Honors College quickly emerged as a national niche program of Virginia Wesleyan University. 
The first cohort graduated this spring. The program boasts of a 93 percent retention rate and 88 percent VWU graduation rate. The first graduating class had a cumulative college GPA of 3.6 (on a 4.0 scale).
Our newest class of scholars boast a collective high school grade point average of 4.16 (on a 4.0 scale) and an average SAT score of 1353. Students hail from all over the country—Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. 
Congratulations to the following new Marlins:
Erin Andrews - Raleigh, NC
Katelyn Baker - Nokesville, VA
Casey Bennett - Williamsburg, VA
Sarah Blackburn - Fredericksburg, VA
Lucas Bukowski - Brick, NJ
Kirkland Butler - Norfolk, VA
Kyleigh Castengera - Jacksonville, FL
Sainandan Challagundla - New Port Richey, FL
Kaitlyn Duswalt - Leonardtown, MD
Jenna Elswick - Chesapeake, VA
Isabelle Gaudet - Lynbrook, NY
Amalia Houff - Honolulu, HI
Kimberly Koscinski - Point Pleasant, NJ
Emma Lankford - Pocomoke, MD
Christopher Lopez - Sparks, MD
Jalen Major - Virginia Beach, VA
James McArthur - Somerset, KY
Marco Molino - Alexandria, VA
Emily Moody - Milton, DE
Josiah Palma - Chesapeake, VA
Christian Palmisano - Califon, NJ
Audrey Roberts - Casper, WY
Landon Rockwell - Georgetown, DE
Stephen Schneider - Wappingers Falls, NY
Samantha Silvia - Virginia Beach, VA
Harrison Smith - Alexandria, VA
Gabriella Snowman - Anacortes, WA
Joshua Spicer - Pipersville, PA
Alyssa Stepp - Windsor, VA
Adam Sterling - Upper Marlboro, MD
Ronaldinio Stickley - West Point, VA
Rowan Stuart - Nissequoge, NY
Sara Traver - Purcellville, VA
Jessica Warden - Virginia Beach, VA
Jenna Waters - Herndon, VA
Evelyn Weaver - Lancaster, PA
Emma Wehr - Virginia Beach, VA
Jessica Wilson - Trenton, NJ
Zuri Wilson - Virginia Beach, VA
Lauren Wynn - Bel Air, MD
Madelyn Yale - Egg Harbor Township, NJ
Kayla Yokom - Sherman, NY
We will officially welcome the newest Batten Honors College class with the traditional Matriculation Ceremony on August 20 at 4 p.m. A pinning ceremony in recognition of their completion of orientation and formal induction into the program will be held on September 9 as a part of our Founders Day celebration.
The Batten Honors College is gratefully named for Virginia Wesleyan Trustee Emerita Jane P. Batten and her late husband, Frank Batten, Sr. For nearly 40 years, Mrs. Batten has been a force for change, improvement, and empowerment, and she believes deeply that students of the highest academic ability will flourish through this innovative program. We are endlessly grateful for her passion for knowledge and her enduring support.
Additionally, the Summer 2021 edition of the Batten Honors College publication Excelsis is now available online. I hope you enjoy learning more about this program, which has become a national niche for Virginia Wesleyan University. 
On June 28, we celebrated the 318th birthday of John Wesley, the founder of the United Methodist Church. Wesley’s legacy lives on through the Church, his many writings and sermons, and the affiliated colleges and universities inspired by his message of hope, tolerance, and mutual understanding. In honor of his birthday, check out some Wesley-inspired fun facts here

Our namesake is pictured right on Gamble Plaza at the Monumental Chapel and Beazley Recital Hall on campus. 
This week we welcomed our new chaplain, Rev. Kotosha Griffin, and an enlivened partnership between Heritage United Methodist Church and Marlin Ministries at Virginia Wesleyan University. 

Located on the east side of campus, HUMC holds prayer time in the Narthex each Sunday at 8:45 a.m., Sunday School at 9 a.m., and Worship Service at 10 a.m.

I encourage you to watch my Nota Bene and the weekly Off The Hook student activities calendar for services and events provided through this new relationship.
Administrative/Staff Holiday Calendar
I share with our campus community a link to the administrative/staff holiday calendar for the 2021-2022 academic year. 
Campus Construction Update
I am pleased to provide updates on our a variety of campus construction projects:
  • Brock Commons (top right) construction has been slowed by approvals but demolition of the front area at the Boyd Dining Center began this week. 
  • DeFord Manor (upper middle right) is on schedule for November completion. Masons are nearing completion on the external brickwork while plumbers, electricians and heating and cooling contractors have been working inside.  
  • The Clarke Hall (middle right) renovation began this week with completion scheduled for mid-September.  
  • The Kiln Shop in Susan T. Beverly Hall (lower middle right) is nearing completion with the placement of the re-constructed kiln. Renovation of Beverly Hall has enabled a new steel structure for the kiln off the east side of the building.  
  • New offices for music faculty have been added to the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center. Located off the west side corridor of the Center, Bryson Mortensen, Associate Professor of Music and Chair of Fine and Performing Arts, and Jason Squinobal, Associate Professor of Music, will relocate to the Center. With the relocation of Travis Malone, Professor of Theatre and the new Dean of the Batten Honors College, to the Batten Honors College suite in Blocker Hall, Sally Shedd, Professor of Theatre, has moved to the theatre faculty suite in the Goode Center.
  • Renovation started this week on the women’s soccer and lacrosse locker room in the Trinder Center. In addition to more modern amenities, the renovation will provide additional space for both programs.  
  • Upgrades to the Malbon Center for Technology are nearing completion (bottom right). The relocation of the enrollment/advancement outreach office to the Kaufman Center for Enrollment has enabled additional office and conference room space for the Malbon Center staff.
Judge Bray Retires as President and CEO of The Beazley Foundation
I offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Judge Richard Bray, who is stepping down as President and CEO of The Beazley Foundation after nearly two decades of service. The Beazley Foundation has been a steadfast and generous supporter of Virginia Wesleyan throughout the years, funding campus initiatives like Monumental Chapel and Beazley Recital Hall and The Beazley Foundation Technology Center, which houses the computer lab and Help Desk in Clarke Hall. The foundation was also a major contributor to the construction of Godwin Hall. That support is recognized by the naming of the Beazley Foundation Foyer at the entrance to the building. 

Judge Bray will be succeeded by Chesapeake City Council Member Steve Best. He will continue at The Beazley Foundation as Chair of the Board. Read more in The Daily Press. 
VWU Named a “College of Distinction” Once Again 
VWU has been named among the nation's "Colleges of Distinction," a national guide that highlights innovative learning opportunities at top schools. To be named a College of Distinction, schools must demonstrate results across the Four Distinctions: Engaged Students, Great Teaching, Vibrant Community and Successful Outcomes. High school counselors and educators make nominations, and each school is evaluated on key indicators, including student engagement, student empowerment and curricular innovation.

As Virginia Wesleyan plans for a new year of outstanding teaching and renewed opportunities in experiential learning and community engagement, these publications provide important external recognition and validation of our hard work throughout the entire year. This is exciting news as we welcome our incoming and returning students in the coming weeks.
Shelhorse Team Earns Top Honors at the Down the Bay Race
Kudos to VWU Trustee Emeritus Bill Shelhorse ‘70 on capturing line honors during the 71st Down the Bay Race for the Virginia Cruising Cup. Bill is a veteran in this race, but won line honors for the first time this year. Congratulations, Bill!
Going Places and Seeing Faces
As Coastal Virginia reopens from the pandemic, I had the opportunity to attend a number of meetings and social events hosted by prominent local organizations. First, I attended the Hampton Roads Alliance Investor Reunion. Kudos to Doug Smith and Alisa Crider ’10 for their part in hosting such a great event. Then the Greater Norfolk Corporation Executive Committee met with featured presentations from ipConfigure, the ODU Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience, and the Norfolk Department of Economic Development regarding Military Circle Mall. Next, I was visited by Dr. Charles Stuppard, District Director for Congresswoman Elaine Luria. Later, I had the opportunity to visit with Hunter Walsh, a 2020 graduate of our M.B.A. program, at 757 Startup Studios. During the visit, Hunter provided a tour of the Assembly Norfolk facility. Finally, I attended an informative Virginia Beach Division Board meeting of the Hampton Roads Chamber. The meeting featured Brian Solis (pictured), Special Projects Manager for the City of Virginia Beach, who updated the Board on a new approach to managing the Virginia Beach Resort Area. 
I hope you find these links useful to my recent columns and publications:
Twitter: @vawesleyanprez 
Instagram: @prezscottmiller 
Flickr: Scott D. Miller 
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email
Have a great week, Marlins!

Scott D. Miller, Ph.D.
Virginia Wesleyan University
5817 Wesleyan Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23455
Phone: 757.455.3215