I am pleased to announce S. Bernard Goodwyn, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia, as the 2022 Commencement keynote speaker.
He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Virginia in 2007 by then-Governor Tim Kaine and was named Chief Justice on January 1, 2022. Prior to appointment on the Supreme Court, he served as a circuit court judge for 10 years and as a general district court judge for two years, both in Chesapeake, Virginia. Prior to his service on the bench, Chief Justice Goodwyn was in private law practice and served on the faculty of the University of Virginia School of Law. He has served on numerous statewide commissions and committees, and he is presently the co-chair of the Virginia Access to Justice Commission.
A Southampton County native, Chief Justice Goodwyn graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in economics and was a member of the Harvard varsity football and track teams. Chief Justice Goodwyn received his law degree from the University of Virginia, where he was an editor for the Virginia Tax Review, a member of the Raven Society, and a recipient of the Ritter Award for honor, character, and integrity. He is married to Sharon S. Goodwyn, an attorney at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP and a member of the Virginia Wesleyan Board of Trustees. They have one son and one daughter.
We plan for the Class of 2022 to graduate at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 14 on the lawn in front of our Greer Environmental Sciences Center (weather permitting). Should the need arise, we will adapt how our 2022 Commencement exercises are executed. We are prepared for a number of scenarios and know that Chief Justice Goodwyn will give an inspiring address to our graduates no matter the format.
I am also pleased to announce Rev. Beth Givens as our 2022 Baccalaureate speaker.
Rev. Givens is the pastor of Haygood United Methodist Church, located just a few miles from VWU. She has played an instrumental role in the new student ministries model and partnership with HUMC. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia and her Master of Divinity from Emory University. She has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights in the Church, and we look forward to her timely message of service, citizenship, and faith through her own support of an inclusive agenda that cares for all Marlin students, alumni, parents, and friends.
Baccalaureate will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 13 in the Joan and Macon Brock Theatre of the Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center as a part of the Spring 2022 Commencement exercises. This prelude to Commencement is a service of worship in celebration of and thanksgiving for lives dedicated to learning and wisdom.
Andrea Hoover-Erbig (Executive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics) and I took part in the Association-wide Business Session of the NCAA Convention, hosted in a hybrid format in Indianapolis. The NCAA ratified a new constitution Thursday despite objections from members (including VWU) who feel it concentrates too much money and power in the hands of Division I schools. Read more.
Congratulations, once again, to Erin Highsmith ’22 on receiving the Mavis McKenley ’11 Award during our Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day commemoration event last week. Erin, pictured center, received the award for her great compassion for humanity and her commitment to building inclusion and understanding outside of the classroom by participating in service engagements on-campus, in her hometown community, and internationally. We are pictured with Mavis McKenley (right), who presented the award. Learn more.
The Virginia Wesleyan University President’s Council comprises business leaders who embrace, embody, and similarly align with the University's vision and values in their management practices. Their personal and professional influence and support ensures students are strategically positioned to participate in opportunities such as internships and externships that will prepare them for a meaningful life and career.
I’m pleased to share members of the President’s Council for 2022 here.
AROUND TOWN AND ACROSS CAMPUS
COVID Mitigation Protocols Continue for Spring 2022
Last week I sent a special message to students, faculty and staff informing them that our current COVID-19 mitigation protocols will continue for the beginning of the Spring 2022 Semester. I sincerely thank the campus community for their continued support of our efforts. Please visit our website for more information and updates.
Work & Learn Program Update
Now in its second year, VWU’s Work & Learn Program (WLP)remains focused and committed to assisting students with the affordability of their degrees. For the Spring 2022 Semester, 280 students are assigned to meaningful employment on campus, providing valuable support to University operations while gaining resume enhancing work experience. The Jane P. Batten Student Center employs our largest number of students each semester. This spring, 81 students will assist Willie Harrell ’98, Director of Recreation and Wellness, with the daily operations of our campus center, providing a safe and welcoming environment for academic delivery, programming, and other social opportunities. Hofheimer Library, also one of our larger on-campus employers, relies heavily on their student employees to provide academic support for students, faculty, and staff. Under the supervision of Amber Gruszeczka, Research Librarian, students assist with circulation desk management and other auxiliary functions. Virginia Wesleyan remains committed to the affordability of a VWU degree and will continue to grow the WLP, offering valuable earning and learning experiences for our students.
Batten Honors College Students Go Global During January Term
This January Term saw the return of Global Residency experiences for the students of the Batten Honors College. Dr. Joyce Easter, Dr. Diana Risk, and 10 students from the Batten Honors College journeyed to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. While in-country, the students explored the role history, culture, and science have had on biodiversity and sustainability in Ecuador. The team walked in the footsteps of the Inca at the Ingapirca ("Inca Wall") in Kichwa, explored culture in Quito and Cuernica, and explored the island that inspired Charles Darwin's The Origin of the Species. Additionally, students visited farms and performed a service project improving school infrastructure for the residents of San Cristobal Island.
Virtual Wesleyan Wednesdays Are Back!
Join the Office of Alumni Relations on Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. as Alisa Crider ‘10, Alumni Council Chair, hosts “Fins Up Athletics Meet & Greet.” Our special guests include Cameia Alexander, Director of Women's and Men's Cross Country and Track & Field; Toni Bickford, Director of Women's and Men's Tennis; Colby DelBene, Head Cross Country Coach and Assistant Director of Track and Field; Andrea Hoover-Erbig, Executive Director for Intercollegiate Athletics; and Ryley van der Velde, Head Field Hockey Coach. Register to attend this free event here.
2022 VFIC Ethics Bowl Moving Forward
The 2022 Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) Ethics Bowl hosted by Randolph-Macon College will be held on January 30-31. Five students from VWU are preparing to compete, deliberating a variety of case studies relating to this year’s Ethics Bowl event theme, “Pandemic Ethics.” Members of the 2022 Virginia Wesleyan University student team are freshmen Casey Bennett, Amalia Houff (alternate), Christian Palmisano, Rowan Stuart, and sophomore Kainaat Trehan. The faculty coordinator for the team is Professor of Communication Dr. Kathy Merlock Jackson.
The VFIC has a strict COVID protocol in place for the event (participants, volunteers, etc.) and are coordinating closely with the host institution to take every precaution. Thus far, no schools have decided to pull out of the event and almost all the VFIC schools are starting the semester face to face. The VFIC will continue to monitor things as the date approaches.
Westminster/Wesleyan Lifelong Learning Institute: Spring 2022 Schedule
The schedule and course descriptions for the Spring 2022 Westminster/Wesleyan Lifelong Learning Institute are now available online. Seven courses are offered in spring 2022 as a result of the unique partnership between Virginia Wesleyan University and Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Programming for the initiative—a component of Virginia Wesleyan University Global Campus—is coordinated by Dr. Ben Fraser, the Westminster-Canterbury Fellow for Religious Studies and Lifelong Learning, in collaboration with Virginia Wesleyan’s Robert Nusbaum Center.
(Be sure to subscribe to Dialogue for daily updates via email)
Let’s start the spring semester off on the right foot, Marlins! Get to class, reach out when you need help (to your professors, coaches, the Learning Center and/or Counseling Services), and do your very best.