Tuesday, December 10, 2019

New Virginia Beach Sports Center

Today I had the opportunity to check out the new Virginia Beach Sports Center which is progressing nicely. Virginia Wesleyan looks forward to the opening of this beautiful new facility which is located adjacent to the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

The Pharos: December 2019

Read up on the latest accomplishments of Virginia Wesleyan University faculty and staff in the December edition of The Pharoshttps://conta.cc/2PaMI4o

Marlin SportSplash: December 10, 2019

Catch the latest in Virginia Wesleyan Athletics in this week's edition of Marlins SportSplash: https://conta.cc/34bngA6

Monday, December 9, 2019

Visit with Longtime Colleague

Enjoyable breakfast visit in Houston today with long time colleague and friend Clayton Hess, current President of Lincoln Memorial University. Clayton was on the staff at LMU when I was president there back in the 1990s.

The Wesleyan Review: December 6, 2019

Our newest edition of the Wesleyan Review is out! Read about the latest VWU news and events here: https://conta.cc/2RzdeX9

Nota Bene: Weekly Update

Yesterday, family, friends, and faculty gathered on campus to celebrate 55 Virginia Wesleyan students who qualified for graduation at the end of this semester as well as those who reached the milestone in August of this year. Both undergraduate and masters-level students are among the mid-year degree candidates. Adding to the special day was the new venue for this year's ceremony. Held for the first time in the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, the ceremony took place in the Joan and Macon Brock Theatre with a reception that followed in the Eleanor and Henry Watts Grand Lobby and Gallery. Dean of the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities Dr. Travis Malone, recipient of the 2019 Samuel Nelson Gray Distinguished Teaching Award, offered words of wisdom and reflections in his address to the group. Alisa Crider, Class of 2010 and recipient of the 2018 Graduate of the Last Decade (GOLD) Award, gave remarks on behalf of the Alumni Council and welcomed these accomplished Marlins to the ranks of alumni. 

To these graduating students: congratulations and remember that as alumni, you are always part of Virginia Wesleyan. We look forward to learning about your many achievements and the exceptional ways you will make a positive impact on the world. 

Read highlights from the ceremony, enjoy the photo gallery, and view the video here.

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Last week, we celebrated members of the Clarke Heritage Society at our annual luncheon. Annie and I had the pleasure of welcoming to campus Alice Clarke for whom the society is named along with her late husband Lambuth, president of Virginia Wesleyan from 1966 to 1992. The Clarkes planted many of the seeds of Wesleyan's future success. We remain grateful to Alice for her continued support of our institution and to the Clarkes for their inspiring legacy. Many of our supporters attended the luncheon, including Jim Bergdoll, Vice President Emeritus, and Henry Light, member of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and strong supporter of the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program (VTAG). We thank all of our Clarke Heritage Society members for their commitment to the University in a very important way. Learn more and view the photo gallery here.

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We had a wonderful time celebrating all who supported "The Future is Here" 2019 Faculty/Staff Campaign. Special thanks to Kelly Cordova (Assistant Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations) and our campaign ambassadors who were recognized at the thank you reception--Elaine Aird '96, Heather Campbell '04, April Christman '14, Brandon Elliott '03, Randy Lott, Dr. Bryson Mortensen, Jason Seward '05, and Dr. Michelle Vachris.

I am delighted to report that our full-time faculty and staff members demonstrated their confidence in the future of Virginia Wesleyan with results showing 73% of the campus participating in this month-long campaign, exceeding our participation goal. This year's campaign raised over $42,000 for various priorities across the University. A noteworthy achievement from the campaign is that we had 100% participation from our alumni working full-time on campus. We can be grateful to have such an engaged community of alumni, faculty and staff supporting the University through their gifts of time, talent, and treasure. View the photo gallery here.


Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program
Each October, Virginia Wesleyan students, parents, and alumni join others across the Commonwealth in the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program (VTAG) advocacy campaign.  VTAG supports educational opportunities for nearly 23,000 Virginia residents and their families, including more than 800 Virginia Wesleyan students.  While currently at $3,400 per resident, the amount varies annually. The campaign generates awareness of, and appreciation for, the grant program by writing elected officials, including Governor Ralph Northam, requesting their continued support.  VWU's participation has always been exceptional in terms of the rate of support from our community. This year, Virginia Wesleyan's role is second only to a larger institution enrolling over 100,000 students.  The campaign consists of letters, emails, post cards, and an annual visit to the Capitol to visit with elected officials, which also teaches our students a valuable lesson about the power of civic engagement.  Special thanks to the staff in Student Affairs who coordinate this effort each year.  

In case you missed it, I discuss this topic in my monthly column in The Virginian-Pilot. To learn more, read "Affordability continues to be a focus for colleges" here.

"Viewpoint: Virginia needs to up TAG funding to level education access"
On a related note, Washington Business Journal recently published a nicely done op-ed by Marymount University President Irma Becerra. You can read it here.

CICV Graph of the Month
Each month, Robert Lambeth, President of the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV), shares a statistical graph.  I thought you'd find this one interesting, and you can view the graph here.

VWU Students Awarded Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships
Three Virginia Wesleyan students have been awarded a Benjamin A. Gilman scholarship to study abroad during the spring semester. Congratulations to the following students:
  1. Kayleen Meinen (Earth & Environmental Science) will be studying in Los Angeles de Atenas, Costa Rica.
  2. Asha Richards (International Studies & Political Science) will be studying in Accra, Ghana.
  3. Brianna Sandy (Political Science) will be studying in Rabat, Morocco.
Overseen by the Institute of International Education, a division of the U.S. State Department, the highly-selective Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program awards grants to students to study or intern abroad. Each student will receive a $4,000 scholarship.

Special thanks to Mandy Reinig, Director of the Study Away Program, who mentored these students through the application process.


Congratulations to Alisa Crider '10 on her new position as Director of Investor Relations & Development with Hampton Roads Economic Development Alliance (HREDA). When she spoke at yesterday's ceremony celebrating our December graduates, it was great to see her as always. Read the announcement from HREDA here.

Annie and I enjoyed dinner recently with the Virginia Wesleyan Student Government Association at The Porch on Long Creek in Virginia Beach. Joining us was Isaac Guzman (Secretary), Taylor Major (President), Nick Peterson (Vice President), Bobby Mazingo (Treasurer), Maya Davis (Special Events Coordinator), and Dr. Keith Moore (Vice President for Student Affairs). We thank this group for their outstanding leadership!

As always, it was nice to visit with our friend and educational partner Steve Hammond, Principal of Saint Patrick Catholic School. Located in Norfolk, STPCS's vision is to guide students toward independence in striving for quality and goodness in every phase of their development. 

It was great to meet with our partners at Broadwater Academy on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Visiting with Julie Badger, Interim Head of School, is always enjoyable. Broadwater Academy and Virginia Wesleyan have collaborated on a number of educational programs over the past four years and we look forward to our continued partnership. 

I enjoyed a discussion on education and other crucial topics over lunch with Congressmen Rob Wittman and Bobby Scott. Congressman Scott is Chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor, a committee so important to Virginia Wesleyan University and American higher education. I also visited with Representative-elect Nancy Guy, who will serve the 83rd Virginia House District (adjacent to Virginia Wesleyan University). She is a good friend of Virginia Wesleyan and a strong supporter of education issues.

Check out the upcoming December events and programs offered through Virginia Wesleyan's Center for the Study of Religious Freedom here.


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Have a great week!

Special Guest at the 2019 Christmas Tree Lighting

A special guest stopped by for this year’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at The Beacon. With Justin Robbins (Marlin Ministries) and Santa. 

2019 Brunch with Santa

An enjoyable Virginia Wesleyan University holiday tradition — Children’s Christmas Party for children/grandchildren from the VWU family over the weekend. Thanks to Jill Sturts’ recreation and leadership class for coordinating the event! 

The Arts at VWU: December Edition

Mark your calendar for events and programs happening now through the end of the month. Read up on the latest in the arts at Virginia Wesleyan: https://conta.cc/350TZtf

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center

Thanks to our partners Tymoff+Moss Architects for these incredible photos of our Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center! Link to gallery: https://bit.ly/2ORfXJu