Voyages 2010

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C hr i s tophe r N e w p ort Uni v e rsi t y ’s

oyages a l u m n i m a g a z i n e d 2 010

Mr. 500

Co ac h Woo llu m reaches h isto ric m ile ston e




The Personal Side of Education

CNU’s Changing Landscape

Our House

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News and notes from across campus, including a look at signature academic programs, a Greek Week recap and a commencement pictorial


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Helping Hands - student service initiatives


The Personal Side of Educaiton - mentoring in action


On the Side of Students - Dr. Michaela Meyer



A Winning Combination - Honors student Kimberly Solheim

A Pulse on Public Opinion - CNU’s Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy

Voyages • 2010 Director of Communications Bruce Bronstein Editor Matt Schnepf Designer Caitlin Dana ’07

Writers Wayne Block, Lori Jacobs, Nicole Jones, Matt McCubbin, Andrea Van Hyning ’09 Photographers Adam Baker, Doug Buerlein, Chris Crisman, Amie Graham, Jesse Hutcheson ’10, Karen Hymes ’10, Katelyn James ‘10, Ryan Kelly, Heidi Naylor

Voyages is published by the Office of Communications and Public Relations for alumni and friends of Christopher Newport University. CNU’s e-newsletter, e-Voyages, is published multiple times a year. If you’re not currently on the e-news mailing list, please send your e-mail address to Amie Graham at

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Captains Pride: A Look Back - a retrospective of CNU athletics through the years



CNU’s Changing Landscape - an evolving campus for the 21st century


Encore! Encore! - five years of the Ferguson Center for the Arts


Faith at CNU connecting through spirit, tradition and service



Embracing Change Brian Skinner (‘92) and Anne Conner (‘91)

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Strong CNU Ties - Alan Witt (‘76)


Stay in Touch Help keep CNU’s alumni connected through the alumni magazine and other forms of communication. Please send your news to

Support CNU To make a gift to Christopher Newport University, please contact the Office of University Advancement at (757) 5947179. Or, make a gift online at, where you will also find detailed information on ways to support your alma mater.

Chapter News Class Notes Our House - a home for all alumni Make an Impact, One Student at a Time

Cover: C.J. Woollum, men’s head basketball coach, celebrated his 500th win Feb. 23, 2010. See story on page 14. Above: Trible Library

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their sophomore year, admission to EVMS after graduating from CNU (without having to take the Medical College Admission Test — the MCAT).

The Pre-Med and Pre-Health Program ( is preparing CNU students for postgraduate study at the best medical schools — as well as other health career programs, from dentistry to physical therapy and beyond.

Students recently gaining early acceptance to EVMS include Nathan Davidson, Jennifer Gerstenfeld and Sarah Patton. They will follow in the footsteps of Zachary Einarsson (’09, right), who is taking MD classes his first two years at EVMS and interning in a hospital his final two years.

Qualified students participating in CNU’s Pre-Med Scholars Program can apply for early acceptance to Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) through a joint BS-MD program. Applicants successful in this highly competitive process are guaranteed, before the end of

“Zachary was a great student. I am proud of him for being our first successful BS-MD applicant,” says Dr. Harold Grau, who oversees the Pre-Med and Pre-Health Program. d

CNU Sets the Stage for Law School

Photo by Chris Crisman

Britney Maddux (’09) found CNU to be the ideal training ground for law school. “The academic rigor and open-door policy of the professors provided me with the skills needed to be accepted and succeed at University of Virginia Law,” she says.


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Photo by Chris Crisman

Top Scholars Prepare for Medical Careers

The University designed its PreLaw Program ( to help students gain admission to the nation’s top law schools. The program is led by William Thro, university counsel and a former solicitor general of Virginia who has successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. Like Maddux, fellow graduate Bon-

nie Brown (’09, left) found excellent preparation for law school studies. “As a result of the courses I took at CNU, I entered law school able to dissect, organize and coherently argue complex material,” notes the College of William and Mary law student. Political theory courses with Dr. Nathan Busch and Dr. Elizabeth Kaufer Busch particularly served Brown well. “Those courses required precision in thought and writing — something law professors expect right away.” Students interested in law can participate in the Pre-Law Program the moment they arrive on campus. By doing so, they reap many helpful rewards: academic/ career advising, mentoring, internships, workshops/seminars, guest lectures, networking opportunities and the Phi Delta Alpha professional pre-law fraternity. d

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A New Look! Visit us online 24/7. Have you visited Christopher Newport online recently? The University’s website has undergone a complete revision, and we’re excited to share it with you. You’ll notice new features the moment you log on at as our homepage spotlights stellar students and the CNU mentors helping them create exceptional collegiate experiences. Check back often for alumni news updates, information on athletics and Ferguson Center events, as well as new homepage stories about the exciting work students are accomplishing with their CNU mentors. d

Canon Leadership Scholars Adds 25 in ’09-’10 Canon U.S.A., Inc., Canon Virginia, Inc. (CVI) and Christopher Newport University welcomed 25 members into the 2009-10 class of Canon Leadership Scholars. In addition to high academic achievement, these students demonstrated exceptional potential in leadership, service and citizenship. “Leaders are defined by their ability to make a positive impact on the world and their local communities,” says Joe Adachi, president and chief executive officer, Canon U.S.A. “The Christopher Newport University Canon Leadership Scholars Program is continuing to provide the leaders of tomorrow with the knowledge and skills they need to fulfill their leadership potential and one day become top decision makers in America.” Canon U.S.A., CVI and CNU announced the formation of the Canon Leadership Scholars Program in 2007. Each Canon Leadership Scholar

receives a $5,000 merit scholarship for four years, for a total of $20,000. Through leadership studies, prominent guest speakers, study abroad, an outdoor leadership program, internships and a public service requirement, the program gives students the tools and experiences to become high-caliber leaders. “The Canon Leadership Scholars Program is an example of Canon’s commitment to encourage the young people of today to assume important leadership roles tomorrow,” says Takayoshi Hanagata, chairman of CVI. “It is critical that the business community take an active role in educating, training and developing future generations to assume important roles in guiding our institutions, our government and our community organizations in the years ahead. Canon is proud to partner with Christopher Newport University in this important mission that impacts the future of us all.” d You, too, can partner with us to support the education of tomorrow’s leaders. To learn more, contact Elizabeth Taraski at

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embers of CNU’s Greek organizations came together April 5-9 for annual Greek Week festivities and competitions. The schedule of events included:

of each other through questions about their partnered sorority sister or fraternity brother.

April 5

April 8

John Replogle, president and CEO of Burt’s Bees, gave a motivational speech about leadership. The event was open to Greek members as well as all other CNU students and faculty.

This year CNU’s Greek organizations supported several causes and groups including: • Cardiac care research • Breast cancer education and awareness • Haiti earthquake relief • The Red Cross • PUSH America • Boys & Girls Clubs • YouthAIDS - among others


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Greek Week Unites Groups

April 6

Each fraternity and sorority showcased tables displaying their individual philanthropies and the work they do to support them. Members then competed in a “Stroll-Off ” dance competition.

April 7

The annual “Know Thy Brother/ Know Thy Sister” competition took place in Trible Plaza. Two representatives from each organization tested their knowledge

All of Greek life participated in an on-campus game of Capture the Flag.

April 9

Fraternities on campus: • Kappa Delta Rho • Phi Beta Sigma • Pi Kappa Phi • Pi Lambda Phi • Sigma Phi Epsilon • Sigma Tau Gamma • Tau Delta Phi CNU sororities: • Alpha Kappa Alpha • Alpha Phi • Alpha Sigma Alpha • Delta Sigma Theta • Gamma Phi Beta • Phi Mu • Zeta Tau Alpha

The Greek organizations supported a worthy cause during “Greeks Storm the Breezeway.” For this event, fraternities and sororities collected money for Relay for Life in the David Student Union. Field Day on the Ferguson Center lawn also took place, featuring outdoor games like tug of war, balloon toss, dizzy bat, sack race and musical chairs. d — NJ

Below: Alpha Phi sisters at sorority bid day

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From top left: Megan Roberts receives Klich award, CNU’s highest academic honor, from President Trible; Students embrace at candlelight ceremony; ROTC class takes the oath of office; Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling gives the keynote address; Traditional penny toss in Saunders Plaza; Presenting the Class of 2010; Personalized caps have become a staple at graduation ceremonies.

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Clockwise from left: Jeff Gallo, Kristen Merek and Jake Mills; Communication students at benefit concert; LLS Woman of the Year nominee Mary McLaughlin; Jesse Hutcheson with women from a remote village in the mountains of India.

Helping Hands

Students share their hearts through service initiatives.


hen fall semester kicks off, you find CNU students engaged in the community. Some may clean and paint properties. Others may plant trees. It’s all a part of the annual Day of Service organized by the Center for Service Learning and Social Entrepreneurship — and just one way CNU prepares students to lead lives of significance. “Our students should confront hunger, poverty, misfortune, human suffering and loss, and through these experiences come to understand the harsh realities of the world,” says President Paul Trible. “They must also know how their unique abilities can turn hardship into triumph and instill in them a lifelong sense of responsibility for making the world a better place.” The annual Food for Thought food drive supports the Foodbank of the


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Virginia Peninsula; students in the President’s Leadership Program complete hours of community service each semester; several students volunteer with the Isle of Wight Rescue Squad. The list goes on. The following projects represent a mere snapshot of how CNU students took the lead this year and made a difference.

Wrap Your Feet Around It


t’s a long journey from CNU to the Big Apple, but from April 28 to May 13, theater majors Jeff Gallo (’10) and Jake Mills (’10) achieved the unimaginable: walking approximately 387 miles from Newport News to Times Square in New York City. Along with fellow theater major Kristen Merek (’10), they developed this ambitious walk-a-thon titled Wrap Your Feet Around It. The project raised funds and awareness for Broadway Cares/Eq-

uity Fights AIDS, which raises and donates millions of dollars annually to assist those living with AIDS. The national organization is the designated philanthropy of CNU’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, the national honorary theater society. The trio created Wrap Your Feet Around It to help those struggling with HIV/AIDS. To prepare for the walk, they coordinated with several organizations to spread awareness and raise funds for both the project and philanthropy. “We’ve always collected a little money, but we’ve never done anything big,” says Merek. “And this is about as big as it gets.” Gallo and Mills walked approximately 30 miles per day. They started their journey traveling up Route 17 in Newport News, connecting with other small roads before reaching New York City. During their walk, they spoke


with theaters, schools and local news networks to build awareness. After completing their journey, they returned to CNU for another important walk on May 16 — their graduation at CNU’s 84th commencement. d — MM

The BELIEVE Campaign


ary McLaughlin is touching lives as founder of The BELIEVE Campaign to raise awareness and funds for blood cancer research. “Too many of us have been affected, and the need for a cure has never been greater,” says the CNU student, who begins her senior year this fall. McLaughlin supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) mission of finding a cure for blood cancers and improving the quality of life of patients and families. Her efforts led to her nomination in the LLS National Capital Area’s Man and Woman of the Year Campaign. Each candidate has 10 weeks to raise money, with each dollar counting as one vote. The male and female with the most votes will be named Man and Woman of the Year. McLaughlin is the youngest candidate and only college student to ever attempt this campaign in D.C. More than 900,000 people in the United States currently live with or are in remission from leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or myeloma. It’s a cause that hits close to home. In 1998 McLaughlin’s older brother, Ryan, was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphocytic leukemia. After more than a year of intense treatments, he lost his battle at age 13. Remembering an LLS Light the

Night walk they encountered in Washington, D.C., McLaughlin and her sisters, Sarah and Regan, formed a team to participate in the walk the past 10 years.

“My participation will hopefully inspire other college students and young adults to do their part in making this world a better place,” she says. “Along with my support system and campaign team, we call ourselves The BELIEVE Campaign. We believe a cure is possible. We believe our community can make a huge difference. We believe in this cause.” d — AV

Photography in Service


esse Hutcheson’s (’10) passion for photography leads him beyond the role of CNU university photographer. In 2009 he traveled to Mexico, capturing the story of a family’s struggles and highlighting the importance of the nonprofit Codeni. A month later he traveled to Haiti with the Haiti Rescue Mission, and photos from that trip were then televised nationally during January’s “Hope for Haiti” telethon. He returned to Haiti following the earthquake. “It was a very hard trip for me emotionally,” says Hutcheson, who was faced for the first time with photographing people dying. “I will never forget

pulling my camera away from my face and my eyes connecting with a lady dying on a mat outside the hospital,” he says. Hutcheson’s work has also taken him to South America and India. His current long-term project focuses on the homeless in Newport News. d — AV

Rock out Against Cancer


n April 6 members of Lambda Pi Eta, national communication studies honor society, hosted the Rock out Against Cancer concert, raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer. Local band Chasing Arrows performed, and volunteers from the communication studies department and CNU Greek organizations raffled off prizes. Proceeds benefited CureSearch, the world’s largest childhood cancer research organization. This was the second year the concert was held. For many, it is known as the Concert for Tommy. The inspiration for the first concert came following the passing of then 9-year-old Tommy Gosser, son of CNU communication studies faculty Dr. Linda Manning and David Gosser. Tommy died in 2008 after a long battle with Ewing sarcoma, a malignant round-cell tumor. The rare disease causes the creation of cancer cells found in the bone or in soft tissue. This year, more than $500 was raised, $300 of which will be donated to CureSearch in Tommy’s honor. d — MM

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Professor receives honor for teaching and mentoring excellence.





r. Michaela Meyer jokes that she became a teacher by accident. “Of course, if you ask my mother, she’d say I was born a teacher and tell embarrassing stories about my designing lectures for my stuffed animals about what I learned in school each day,” says the assistant professor of communication studies.

Coming to Christopher Newport was a conscious choice for Dr. Meyer as CNU offered the style of university life she sought when choosing her first academic job. Three aspects specifically endeared her to CNU — her commitment to the liberal arts, her aspiration to mentor undergraduate students and her desire for intellectual diversity.

In graduate school, Dr. Meyer began directing and coaching speech and debate students, and the speech team’s director asked if she’d be interested in teaching a public speaking class. As a broke college student who needed the money, she agreed.

Looking back, Dr. Meyer’s own struggles to find guidance as a young adult significantly influenced her professional pursuits. “When faced with the decision to begin a career, I knew immediately that undergraduate education was where I wanted to be,” she notes. “I want to be the mentor for my students that I often longed for during those years of my life.”

“My students did their last round of speeches, and I saw how much progress they made over the semester,” says Dr. Meyer. “Several of them came up to me after the class and thanked me for helping them get over their public speaking anxiety. I felt like I really made a difference, and from that point forward, I was hooked.” Dr. Meyer received her undergraduate degree in philosophy and communication at Miami University in Ohio. She continued her education at Ohio University, earning an MA in journalism, a certificate in women’s studies and a PhD in communication studies. Last year the CNU Alumni Society presented her with its Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. The $2,500 honor recognizes younger faculty exceptionally committed to teaching, learning excellence and university citizenship. As part of her award, she gave the keynote address at the 2010 honors convocation.

In the six years she has been at CNU, Dr. Meyer has grown exponentially as a scholar, enjoying the freedom to take risks and pursue her passions. “I’m continually perplexed by what I call a ‘rhetoric of relationships’ in media programming, specifically targeted to emerging adults,” Dr. Meyer says. “I’ve currently been working on a large project about the representation of Mean Girls and relational aggression among women in mediated contexts.” Whatever her current project may entail, Dr. Meyer takes great pride in her students and the rigorous undergraduate experience and programs available on campus. “It’s exactly the type of program I wanted to be a part of when I first came to CNU,” she says. “The students amaze me every day with their passion for learning.” d — AV



Below: Dr. Meyer’s teaching resources; Meyer


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A Winning C o m b i n at i o n Kimberly Solheim made a perfect match for CNU’s Honors Program.


hile studying art history and Italian in Rome, Kimberly Solheim (’10) heard the position of student assistant director for CNU’s Honors Program would be filled through an application process. Not wanting to miss out, she completed her application while still in Rome. “She was one of a dozen applicants, and her online interview was outstanding,” says Dr. Jay Paul, Honors Program director.

“When I found out I was selected, I couldn’t have been more thrilled,” Solheim says. For the past two years, she worked both front and center and behind the scenes for the program. As an assistant director, Solheim played a critical role in the evolution and growth of the Honors Program. She filed and monitored the thousands of reports and portfolios all Honors students

must submit, helped ensure the programs’ website stayed current, and served as the program’s representative at all CNU admissions events. During admissions activities, she shared her experiences with prospective students, a role that proved valuable to the Honors Program. Dr. Paul notes, “Her poise and articulate nature make her a superb spokesperson. She

comes across as a serious student — a responsible, involved member of organizations and a person eager to learn about things beyond her major.” Solheim affirms how the program helped shape the person she has become. “The Honors Program has done nothing but benefit me, from the classroom to the staff to enriching my cultural experience. In the classroom, I always felt like

academics I was accomplishing something — taking a step toward creating a better world,” she says.

“I always felt like I was accomplishing something — taking a step toward creating a better world.” Being student assistant director particularly served her well. “She gained considerable confidence in the position,” Dr. Paul says. And she has given as much to the program as she has received. Dr. Paul adds, “I’m very grateful she has been able to work with the Honors Program. Her support has been absolutely critical as we continue to grow and change.” Solheim graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in leadership studies and now serves the admissions office as part of the newly created CNU Fellows program. She is currently undergoing the application process for U.S. Air Force officer training school and notes, “Serving this beautiful country is a calling I have felt for many years.” d — MM Above: Kimberly Solheim and Dr. Jay Paul

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T h e P e rs o n a l S i d e

Camilla Shelton (’09), for example, benefited greatly from working with Dr. Anne Perkins, recently retired professor of leadership and American studies. As Shelton pursued a leadership minor, she and Dr. Perkins brainstormed ideas for a scholarly journal. The two met frequently to research and develop the concept, which resulted in the Undergraduate Leadership Review where undergraduates, professors and staff publish scholarly works on topics pertaining to leadership.

Make a Connection

Above (clockwise from left): Brian Roller; Dr. Anne Perkins and Camilla Shelton; Adam Baker; JT Hosack

CNU alumni provide excellent career resources. To become a career mentor for our students, contact Amie Graham ( or Eric Kean (’94), president of the Greater Peninsula alumni chapter ( Meet Our Students Visit CNU online at for in-depth profiles of our students and their campus mentors.

In the classroom and beyond, Dr. Perkins inspired Shelton to exceed the expected role of student. “She took the time to get to know me as a person but never let me have any excuse for doing other than my best,” Shelton says.

Photo by Chris Crisman

Mutually Rewarding Mentoring also benefits profes-

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Below: Dr. Kelly Cartwright and Baker; Hosack and Dr. Bob Colvin; Shelton; Dr. Drew Velkey and Roller

Photo by Chris Crisman

Photo by Chris Crisman

“You see students you’re mentoring around campus; you notice what interests them as individuals — what makes them tick,” says Kelly Cartwright, associate professor of psychology. “Mentors care about students as individuals, and I think that’s one of the things you see at CNU, that one-on-one relationship.”

Photo by Chris Crisman

Over the years Hollywood has illustrated — through these and countless other films — the impact one teacher can make. Yet you don’t have to rent a movie to see true mentoring in action. These relationships are commonplace at Christopher Newport University as students build life-changing connections with their professors.

Photo by Chris Crisman

angerous Minds, Freedom Writers, Stand and Deliver.

Photo by Chris Crisman


Faculty-student mentoring


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is a hallmark at CNU. sors. Ask Dr. Bob Colvin, dean of the College of Social Sciences and former chair of the Department of Leadership and American Studies. “What I get out of mentoring is working with people as they figure out who they are and what their passions are — and how they can better influence others,” he says. Recent graduate JT Hosack (’10) is one student Dr. Colvin has greatly influenced. “One of the most important things he has ever said to me is, ‘Leadership resides in the minds of the followers,’” Hosack notes. “This quote reminds me, and informs others, that without followers there would be no leaders; therefore, the followers and their well-being should be in the forefront of the leader’s mind.” Recognizing Hosack’s potential, Dr. Colvin hired him to be a coordinator for the Commonwealth Leadership Institute, an intensive summer program for rising high school seniors. “We have a number of facilitators who work with those students and follow up with them to make sure they’re doing well,” Dr. Colvin says. “JT was one of the people who did that.” Hosack’s diverse experiences through the institute, the President’s Leadership Program and other campus activities inspired him to follow in his mentor’s footsteps and pursue a career in higher education. “I know ‘dean of students’ is difficult, and that it requires a lot of time, patience and leadership; however, I believe it will, hopefully one day, be a great fit for me,” he says. “I’m ready to give back and lead the student population of a campus.” He’s off

to a great start. Immediately following graduation, Hosack was hired as part of the CNU Fellows program, tasked with student success and engagement.

Research Connections Student-faculty collaboration often centers on discovery and the pursuit of new ideas. As they tackled research together, Dr. Drew Velkey and Brian Roller (’09) developed a strong bond. The associate professor of psychology became a mentor to Roller, motivating him to excel in both the classroom and lab. Roller participated in Dr. Velkey’s animal behavior research in the infamous “fish lab,” as it’s known. Here his knowledge of computer programming shined as he advanced research projects through digital images and data analysis. “I knew then that research was important to my long-term goals,” he says. Roller even assumed levels of responsibility above what is typically expected of undergraduates. “Brian was a very coachable student,” Dr. Velkey says. “His coachability will carry him far as he furthers his education. One day, he will be the coach.” “Undergraduate research at CNU greatly exceeded my expectations,” Roller states. A summer research grant, a published article in an educational psychology journal, and presentations at regional and national conferences were just a few highlights of his undergraduate experience. His mentor helped make such opportunities possible. “Dr. Velkey’s door is always open,” Roller says. “He knows what the

limits of students are and how far he can go to challenge them.” Roller currently attends the University of Arizona where he pursues his MA/PhD in psychology with a concentration in cognition and neural systems and a minor in computer science.

Mentored to Mentoring At CNU it’s not just faculty who make a difference, and often mentoring comes full circle. Current student Adam Baker (who’s mentor is Dr. Cartwright) has become a mentor himself through CNU’s chapter of Pennies for Peace, which raises money to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He serves as the group’s treasurer/ historian and the adviser for its fundraising subcommittee. As Baker and the club’s other founders assume more of an advisory role, they are involving younger students in their pursuits. “While we’re there making decisions, we’re also trying to get the freshmen more motivated to help out,” he says. “Now that we’re in kind of that mentorship role, we are able to expand more into the campus.” From faculty and coaches to program directors and even students like Baker, the CNU community is changing lives. Whether by offering guidance on career aspirations or leading to groundbreaking work, mentoring relationships offer critical support to help tomorrow’s leaders thrive both personally and academically. It’s what clearly makes education here a CNU experience. d — MS

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A P u ls e o n Public Opinion

The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy stays on top of Virginians’ views.


hat do Virginians think about such hot-button topics as children’s health care or the management of the Chesapeake Bay? The Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University seeks the answers to these and other important questions.

public discourse on policy issues facing Virginia, its singular focus on Virginia public policy, and its ability to directly involve CNU undergraduate students in research.

on regional transportation in Hampton Roads and environmental attitudes.

To facilitate dialogue and help citizens better understand policy issues, the center conducts a twice-annual statewide poll — the

Students involved in the center’s work receive the dual benefit of participating in public service while gaining hands-on experience. Dr. Kidd sees their involvement producing extraordinary

Virginia Poll. Questions focus on the core service areas of education (both higher education and K-12), the environment, health care, public safety and transportation.

results, both on campus and across Virginia. “It gives CNU students the opportunity to take part in important, relevant research,” he says. d — LJ

“It gives CNU students the opportunity to take part in important, relevant research.” The center provides elected officials with unbiased, nonpartisan research and insightful information about issues facing Virginia and citizens’ views on those topics. Established in 2007, the center is led by Dr. Quentin Kidd, associate professor of political science. An advisory board consisting of business and community leaders from across Virginia helps guide the center’s activities. In its short history, the center’s surveys have been cited in several national media outlets. The center’s work is unique in several ways, including its ability to immediately and directly impact

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In addition, the center conducts regional polls on specific policy questions where appropriate. It also prepares and publishes briefs on important Virginia public policy issues. Each nonpartisan brief both describes the issue at hand and outlines various solutions to the problem being considered. Besides children’s health care and the management of the Chesapeake Bay, recent policy briefs have focused

For more information on the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy, visit Above: Dr. Quentin Kidd (standing) and CNU students At right: Judy Ford Wason and Gov. Bob McDonnell in Richmond celebrating the opening of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy

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Judy Ford Wason

Center’s namesake has built an enduring legacy of public service.


n 2008 President Paul Trible proposed that the CNU Center for Public Policy be renamed in Judy Ford Wason’s honor. Wason has enjoyed an enduring relationship with CNU. She served the institution as a member of its Board of Visitors, as vice president for university advancement, and as a mentor to Dr. Quentin Kidd, who leads the Wason Center. For more than 35 years, Wason has worked tirelessly in leading the strategic and fundraising efforts for several major political campaigns and nonprofits in Virginia. During her long and varied career, she has also served in several high-visibility posts, including:

• Special assistant for gov• • • • • •

ernmental affairs, President Ronald Reagan Special assistant for state affairs, U.S. Senator John Warner Campaign manager and special assistant for state affairs, U.S. Senator Paul Trible Director of development, Operation Smile (Norfolk, Virginia) Vice president, development, Virginia Performing Arts Foundation Board member, the Phoenix Project Board member, Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg d — MS

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Right: Bev Vaughan Below: Newly constructed Ratcliffe Gym Opposite page (clockwise from left): 1987 track team; 1987 NCAA national championship trophy; Sheila Trice, second from left, competing

C a p ta i n s Pride: A Look B ac k As CNU athletics gears up for a winning future, it already has much to celebrate.

The following was written by Wayne Block, recenty retired assistant to the athletic director/ communications. He spent 27 years at CNU and will be writing a book about the history of CNU athletics. Sometime next spring he and his wife will be moving to Arizona. Bev Vaughan was visiting the Christopher Newport College (CNC) campus to view the underconstruction Ratcliffe Gym. He was pondering an offer to become the fledgling school’s first basketball coach. As he entered the unfinished locker room, a man appeared, demanding, “What are you doing here?” It was a security guard, protecting the future home of the Captains. Today when Vaughan enters the beautiful Freeman Center, he does so as an honored guest. Little could the former William and Mary basketball star have dreamed of the heights Christopher Newport University would reach in collegiate athletics. What he began in 1967 has blossomed into a 22-sport empire that annually ranks among the top in NCAA Division III.

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When Vaughan arrived there were a few athletes competing in track and field and a men’s basketball team — well, a club playing in the Newport News City League. “I never did see them play,” Vaughan notes. But from that beginning he crafted a 204-128 record over 14 seasons and fed directly into the outstanding program of today. From that initial club came the idea for the formation of future varsity sports. “If some students wanted to form a team we said, ‘let’s try it as a club team,’ and if there was still interest we would elevate it to the intercollegiate level,” explains Vaughan. The 1970s were a time of growth for the young athletics program. Men’s tennis and golf began during the 1970-71 school year, just as the college gained four-year status. Women’s basketball began as a

club, gaining varsity status during the 1971-72 season. Previously clubs had been formed for women’s field hockey and golf. Vaughan, still wearing many hats, actually coached men’s tennis for a short time. The first national notoriety hit campus when Carl Farris was named National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) honorable mention All-American in basketball. He became the first of more than 500 CNU studentathletes to attain that status. By decade’s end, men’s soccer and women’s volleyball had joined the Captains’ growing list of sports.

National Prominence The 1980s ushered in Christopher Newport’s first forays into national championship competition.

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Edna Davis could have no idea, as was the case with Vaughan, what she was beginning. But in 1981 and 1982 she won two national championships each year in the 200 and 400 meters in the old Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW). Today, the CNU women’s track and field teams own a total of 61 individual national championships, to go along with their 12 team national titles. The program that young head coach Vince Brown took over in 1980 with two hurdles and a parking lot to run in now features two of the nation’s best competition venues in the Belk Track at POMOCO Stadium and indoors at The Freeman Center. In May 1987, in Naperville, Illinois, Claudia Stanley, Michelle Dickens, Lisa Dillard, Sheila Trice and Sandy Shelton piled up 80 points, with Dillard winning national crowns in the 100, 200 and long jump and anchoring the victorious 4x00 relay. This gave CNC its first team national title.

Dillard was the individual star of the year, also winning titles indoors at 55 meters and in the long jump, as the Captains finished second, a sign of things to come. But it was Trice who set almost unimaginable standards. She eventually accumulated 32 AllAmerica citations and won 15 event championships, both as an individual and with relay teams. It culminated in her being named the NCAA women’s Division III track and field Athlete of the Decade. Along the way, she had one of the greatest individual performances at an NCAA championship in history. In 1989, at Brunswick, Maine, she captured the 55 meters, 55-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump — four national titles at one championship. It was a feat only the legendary Jesse Owens had previously accomplished. Incredibly, the 40 points she scored with those victories were more than any other team. “Team Trice” had won the national championship.

It came during a stretch in which Christopher Newport became the dominant power in Division III track and field, winning six consecutive national crowns, both indoors and outdoors, from 1987 to 1990. While the women’s track team was making most of the headlines, two other sports were fighting their way into national prominence. The men’s soccer team made its first NCAA appearance in 1986. Featuring two-time All-American Gerard Mosley, the Captains posted an 18-5 record. Although it would take 14 more years for CNU to reach NCAA play again, a consistently excellent program was a precursor to the top-notch squad of today that has made four NCAA appearances in the 2000s, including back-to-back Elite 8 berths in the last two years. Very quietly at first, the men’s and women’s basketball programs began runs that would cement their national reputations during the ’80s. On Feb. 22, 1986, the championship reputation of both began. That night, at St. Andrews College in Laurinburg, North Carolina, both shocked the old Dixie Conference by winning their first conference titles. Led by tournament MVP Pam Stewart, the women began the festivities, first by knocking off regular season champions UNC Greensboro, 69-67, and then North Carolina Wesleyan, 66-62. CNC had come from fourth place during the regular season to win the conference title and accompanying NCAA bid.

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A few hours later it was the CNC men doing the celebrating. They, too, defeated N.C. Wesleyan, by a 57-45 final score, to capture their own conference title. For the women it was the first of 13 NCAA appearances, and for the men, 17. It was merely C.J. Woollum’s second year at the helm. Again, who could have foretold what would eventually transpire. “When you take a job you never think about things like years, wins or championships,” he says. “But then, at the end, you look back and feel good.” Good, indeed. When his 26-year coaching reign came to an end last March, his Captain teams had accumulated 13 conference championship and 17 NCAA appearances, and he had reached one of the great coaching milestones, 500 victories. Woollum would be the first to say the outstanding players he and assistant coaches Roland Ross and Jon Waters had are the reason for the success. Start with Lamont Strothers. All he did was become the third leading scorer in Division III history, win All-American honors three times and secure one of the alltime Division III rarities, an NBA draft selection. Add to the list Steve Artis, James Boykins, Antoine Sinclair and a host of others, a total of nine of whom became All-Americans. Even more played professionally overseas. From a packed Ratcliffe Gym, possibly one of the great “homecourt advantage” locations, to the spacious Freeman Center, still one of the top Division III venues in the country, CNU basketball has

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always had a built-in edge, one that extends to CNU’s women. Starting with the great Karen Barefoot, a three-time All-American, and extending through Misty Hart, Linda Richardson and Pam Stewart, the legacy was embodied perfectly by this year’s squad, which produced the greatest single season record in school history in any sport, 30-1. Led by junior Chelsea Schweers, CNU kept the wins piling up, taking its first 30 games in a row before finally falling in the Sweet 16. Schweers is on pace for an historic career. She closed the season just one point short of the rarely attained 2,000 mark — and still has a year to go.

Gridiron Giants Possibly the most momentous day in CNU athletics history occurred in 2000 when the announcement was made that “Christopher Newport will start a football program.” On May 9 of that year, longtime William and Mary assistant coach

Matt Kelchner was named the first football coach of the Captains. He’s been at the helm ever since. More than a year later, on Sept. 1, 2001, Kelchner led the charge as the first CNU football team, something many people never thought would exist, took the field in front of 6,135 excited fans to meet Salisbury. “I got here about 5 a.m.,” says Kelchner of that first game. “We had everything scripted. I had a script from like 7 a.m. until after the game. That day and the Ferrum game were surreal. It was like I was in a different world.” That Ferrum game — who could have predicted the final game of the first season, at the Oyster Bowl in Hampton, would be for a conference championship and NCAA bid? Kelchner admits he was worried. “Their defense was really good. They were ranked highly in the nation. I didn’t know if we could move the ball against them.” Add to that the fact that several key

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players were missing for a variety of reasons. But the Captains weren’t fazed. They took a 7-3 halftime lead on a 10-yard run by Kaveh Conaway and built the margin to 14-3 when Conaway scored on a 21-yard pass from Eric Carlson midway through the third quarter. Although Ferrum added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, the Captains ended the game simply taking a knee for the last several plays, and had a 1411 victory. On a key drive in the second half, facing several fourth-down situations, Kelchner had turned to offensive coordinator Dan Antolik and said, “We’re going for it. What do we have to lose?” And losing has been rare, indeed. The Captains earned NCAA playoff bids in each of their first four seasons, something no other school, regardless of division, has ever done, and made a total of six appearances in nine years. Maybe the most famous play in CNU football history was “the catch.” Trailing Muhlenberg, 20-17, with a little more than three minutes remaining in CNU’s first home NCAA playoff game, Nathan Davis pulled in a 16-yard TD pass from Phillip Jones in a corner of the end zone to lift the Captains to a 24-20 victory.

New Millennium Successes While football has been the marquee sport of the 2000s, the overall excellence of the CNU athletics program has been unequalled.

A total of 10 Christopher Newport teams have made 53 NCAA appearances, culminating this year with three different teams, volleyball, men’s soccer and softball, reaching the Elite 8 and women’s basketball and field hockey reaching the Sweet 16.

Opposite page (clockwise from left): Lamont Strothers; Packed Ratcliffe Gym; Karen Barefoot Below: Press conference announcing Matt Kelchner (right) as CNU’s football coach; Tunde Ogen ’10 breaks through the line at the CNU vs N.C. Wesleyan game Oct. 17, 2009.

Much of that success has been under the direction of the “alum/coach.” Currently five CNU graduates are Captain head coaches. John Harvell (baseball), Keith Parr (softball), Jenny Nuttycombe (women’s tennis) and Rush Cole (men’s tennis) all are directing successful teams. But the ultimate alum/ coach may well be volleyball’s Lindsay Birch. A three-sport athlete at nearby Bruton High School, Birch (known then as Lindsay Sheppard) got into CNU volleyball almost as an afterthought. “I actually came to CNU primarily for basketball,” notes Birch. “But when I got here I met a girl in my first class that I had played volleyball with, and she said she was going to open tryouts that night.” Birch decided to try as well. It was a decision first-year coach Ken Shibuya won’t forget. Shibuya had been hired late in the summer and found himself with just three returning players. After enduring a 7-26 first year, CNU exploded to a 20-13 record in 1999 and has never won less than

20 matches since. As a senior, Birch helped guide the team to its first-ever conference title and NCAA bid. During the ensuing summer Shibuya left to become men’s coach at Juniata, a Division I volleyball program. Faced with the task of finding a new coach, Athletic Director C.J. Woollum didn’t bat an eye before offering the job to Birch. The result has been six NCAA appearances in eight years and another nationally recognized CNU athletics program. Nationally recognized — it is a term that has become synonymous with Christopher Newport athletics. d — WB

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CNU’ s Changing Landscape



he pageantry of fireworks concluded the ribboncutting ceremony for CNU’s latest, 21st-century teaching and learning facility, the Lewis Archer McMurran, Jr. Hall. Home to all of the University’s liberal arts academic programs, the building represents the newest facility helping to change the campus landscape.

Over the past decade Christopher Newport has completed more than $500 million in capital construction. By 2020, CNU will undergo an additional $500 million.*

Clockwise from top left: Integrated Science Center (under construction); Freeman Sports and Convocation Center expansion (under construction); Lewis Archer McMurran, Jr. Hall; Trible Library

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A new home for the Luter School of Business, as well as the departments of mathematics; physics, computer science and engineering; leadership and American studies; and sociology, social work and anthropology Expanded student housing to increase the number of beds on campus to 4,000, accommodating all freshmen, sophomores and juniors The Alumni House (see page 30) The CNU chapel (see page 22)

Come visit your alma mater and check out our ongoing progress! d — MS



The map here highlights progress made over the past few years. In addition to projects already completed or under way, the following facilities are also on the horizon for the University:



With several capital construction projects completed, more are on the way!



campus Freeman Sports and Convocation Center (expansion) • Construction in progress • 70,000-square-foot addition to double

Integrated Science Center

• Two-phase construction in progress (phase 1 to be completed in 2011, TENNIS phase 2 in 2012) 160,000 square feet Future home to the department of psychology and the department of biology, chemistry and environmental science Approximately 60 faculty offices, 14 classrooms and 70 new teaching labs and student research spaces Meritt


• •





the size of the Trieshmann Health and Fitness Pavilion Will include offices for counseling P n ce auxiliary and health services,rian Dre wR oad gymnasium, the new 400-seat Gaines Auditorium, and meeting rooms for student activities Construction schedule: counseling and health services, gymnasium, and fitness area completed by winter University Place University Place 2010; auditorium and meeting rooms completed by spring 2011


. 60 U.S. RT k Blvd

Greek Village (formerly Barclay Apartments) • Home to five sororities and four fraternities

ane ores L

Trible Library • Opened January 2008 • More than 100,000 square feet • Represents the intellectual center

• Opened January 2010 • 82,000 square feet • Home to English, history, Lane Shoe

*State appropriations are specifically designated for capital academic building projects.

• Avenue of the Arts


University Place

Lewis Archer McMurran, Jr. Hall

communication studies, modern and classical languages and literatures, philosophy and religious studies, and government, in addition to the Master of Arts in Teaching program Includes 30 state-ofthe-art classrooms and seminar rooms, plus 120 faculty offices


of campus, combining the finest features of a traditional library with state-of-the-art technology Also home to The Mariners’ Museum Library, which contains the Western Hemisphere’s largest maritime collection

e lyd lvd J. Cris B r Mo

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Encore! Encore! T

he past five years at Christopher Newport University’s Ferguson Center for the Arts have been nothing short of remarkable. Immediately after opening in 2005, the center earned a reputation for presenting the world’s finest cultural attractions. Since then, nearly 1 million people nationwide have

Michael Crawford and the NY Pops 9/12/05 Black-tie opening reception kicks off a month-long celebration.

The Joffrey Ballet 11/18/06 As part of the center’s outreach, Joffrey dancers taught master classes and performed workshops at area schools.

Martin Short 3/12/08 Men’s head basketball coach C.J. Woollum joins Short on stage as he is interviewed by “Jiminy Glick” to hilarious effect.

Jose Carreras 3/24/09 One of the most celebrated tenors brings the crowd to tears.

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experienced hundreds of performances in the venue’s acoustically stellar theaters. A major reason for the center’s success lies in the philosophy that “world class” means different things to different people. Since its grand opening, the Ferguson

Vince Gill 9/30/05 B.B. King 9/25/05 “Lucille” makes her Ferguson debut.

Whoopi Goldberg 1/12/07

Jackson Browne 3/26/08

Garrison Keillor 4/21/09 NPR’s best live on our stage

Andrea Bocelli 10/20/05 Grand finale for opening performances; CNU senior Anthony Colosimo sings onstage with Bocelli.

George Carlin 2/18/07 Comedy legend takes the stage.

Itzhak Perlman 4/14/08 Featured an Insight Discussion - pre-show talk to enrich the concert experience.

Jeff Foxworthy 9/26/09

Peter, Paul & Mary 3/16/07

Miss Saigon 11/4-6/05

The Beach Boys 5/12/07

Dave Brubeck 4/19/08

David Byrne 9/18/08

Johnny Mathis 11/29/09

London Philharmonic 3/4/10


CNU’s Ferguson Center for the Arts celebrates f ive crowd-pleasing years. Center has presented a wide variety of entertainment to suit all ages and interests. From Broadway to ballet, country to classical, rock to reggae, the varied and high-quality performances have wowed audiences while generating a loyal patron base. d — LJ

Smokey Robinson 1/12/06 David Copperfield 1/20/06 Copperfield has had eight performances here, the most for any solo performer.

Wynton Marsalis 9/12/07 The pre-eminient jazzmaster makes his Ferguson debut.

High School Musical 2 10/31/08

Amy Grant 10/14/07

Burt Bacharach 11/13/08

Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby 1/27/06 First Family Night on Broadway Series event

Peter Frampton 10/15/07

Bill Cosby 5/6/06

Tony Bennett 9/20/06 After opening the Music & Theatre Hall in 2004, Bennett returns for his Concert Hall debut.

Queen Latifah 10/30/07 The Queen performed her new big band show to critical acclaim.

The Boston Pops 11/27/07 The hottest ticket in Ferguson’s fiveyear history

Aretha Franklin 3/11/09

Doobie Brothers 11/23/08 Cleveland Orchestra 3/3/09 One of the world’s finest orchestras makes its Ferguson debut.

Peking Acrobats 3/19/10

Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance 4/23/10

The tradition continues with the 2010-2011 season featuring Blue Man Group, Spamalot, Bill Engvall and many more. Visit to subscribe. Special ticket offers for CNU alumni. Contact the Ferguson Center Ticket Office at (757) 594-8752 for details.

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Spirit, tradition and service build bridges across the University.


ith more than 15 faith organizations on campus, students embrace the opportunity to grow spiritually and make a difference. Beth (’05) and Eric (’05) Gambardella, for example, have demonstrated a commitment to leadership, service and character both as students and alumni. Coming to CNU, their lives were changed, and now they’re pouring back into the lives of today’s undergraduates. The couple was highly involved in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IV), which provided a community where older students challenged them to embrace their faith. It had such a huge impact that they were led to become student leaders. After graduation, they married, spent a year training with IV and were placed as IV staff at CNU, where they challenge and mentor students. “A lot of people feel faith is just one part of their life, and then all of a sudden it becomes the center of it. They leave knowing confidently what they believe in and how it affects the rest of their life,” says Beth. “They’re challenged all the time to be honest and intentional in their relationships in ways they might not be challenged anywhere else. If anyone asked me if faith organizations are important, I would say yes, emphatically, because we are radically changed from who we were as freshmen.”

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Intra-faith Unity Students experience community throughout faith organizations. Junior Addie Cunningham comments, “The group Because Christ Matters (BCM) emphasizes the importance of a servant’s heart by striving to create a welcoming environment for the CNU body that reflects Christ’s love.” BCM is part of a nationwide initiative of Baptist Collegiate Ministries, established to encourage collegiate fellowship, service and discipleship. Every week local churches bring in lunch for students to enjoy a homecooked meal. Students also meet for worship and Bible study. Hillel provides opportunities for students to attend synagogue for the High Holy Days, hosts events at the United Jewish Community Center of Newport News and meets for potluck Shabbat dinners. “Hillel provides a community for Jewish students on campus to connect with one another, practice our faith and to provide a positive impact on our community, both that of CNU and Hampton Roads,” says David Levenson, Hillel president. “Jewish students on campus stay close; we build a strong emotional connection to one another, which allows us to be there for each other.” Similarly, Catholic Campus Ministries (CCM) offers community dinners and Cathetics, plus athletic outings such as bowling, ice skating

or kickball to connect people and deepen friendships. “Of all we do together, our greatest blessing is sharing Sunday Eucharist on campus every weekend. If you could see our CCM community at prayer, study, play or service, as I am blessed to do, I believe you would agree our students are responding to Jesus’ call to ‘Love one another as I have loved you,’” comments Mary Murphy, Catholic Campus minister.

Inter-faith Unity Students across campus enjoy engaging with those from different faith backgrounds, and organizations support interfaith dialogue. Last year, CCM initiated a campus screening of The Power of Forgiveness with a discussion and reception co-sponsored by Hillel, Muslim Students Association, Canterbury Club, Indic Studies Program, Center for Faith and Politics, and Center for Service Learning and Social Entrepreneurship. Canterbury Club is launching a theme, “Exploring the Truth,” with the subtopic “Living a life that is true to your faith.” The goal is to bring together people of all faiths and no faith backgrounds. To address this topic, diverse guest speakers are invited, including a Sudan Lost Boy discussing his fight to survive, a medical doctor on how faith fits into medicine, and a Muslim speaker on the Islam faith and how he practices it. “We wish


to gain a broad and true perspective of the beliefs of different peoples while strengthening our own faith and our adherence to it,” says Jacob Capin, Canterbury Club president.

“We see a chance to challenge people to actually think about what they believe, about things they’ve always just assumed.” Students also come together to learn Jewish cultures and values. Hillel hosts a Sukkah, or a temporary shelter where students take meals as part of the harvest festival holiday, Sukkot. “Although Hillel is a small group on campus, it is a way students can stay connected to their Judaism and share it with others,” says Jake Kolker, Hillel vice president.

Faith in Action Faith-based groups are united by a desire to serve. The past few years, BCM’s canned food drive has benefited the Foodbank of the Virginia Peninsula. Members have also been involved with Teens Opposing Poverty, supporting efforts to wipe out hunger and poverty in downtown Newport News. Canterbury Club will be working with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, and both Hillel and CCM have entered teams in Relay for Life. CCM has a rich tradition of serving the poor and marginalized. “Stu-

dents prepare sandwiches monthly for people living on the streets of our inner city,” says Mary Murphy. “As winter approached, CCM sponsored a successful sock drive for LINK, Living Interfaith Network, providing warm clothing for those seeking food and shelter during the winter months.”

zations. “One of the philosophies behind doing ministry on a college campus is that we believe intellect and faith are not separate,” says Eric Gambardella. “We see a chance to challenge people to actually think about what they believe, about things they’ve always just assumed.”

Like the Gambardellas, other alumni have graduated from CNU with a hunger to impact the world. “Without the help of my support group from CCM and the many activities I participated in, I wouldn’t be pursuing a position in a parish and graduating with my master’s degree in ministry,” notes Christina Reid (’07).

Growth continues beyond college, and just as the Gambardellas are influencing students, CNU students are impacting them in return. During Beth’s first year on staff, she developed a mentoring relationship with a freshman named Rachel. “In four years I watched Rachel transform from an overly excitable, rather nervous freshman to a mature young woman, confident in her own leadership abilities and her Lord’s faithfulness. However, Rachel has challenged me in numerous ways,” she comments. “I am constantly humbled by her heart for others, and her willingness to be a servant motivates me to move out of my own comfort zone to meet people where they are. I’m certain I am changed because of knowing her!” d — AV

CNU Chapel As organizations find commonality through service, they will connect further in CNU’s future chapel. Open to all faiths, the chapel will host student groups, religious activities and weddings, as well as musical performances and lectures. “We’re very excited about the unity that would be fostered from having a central place of worship on campus,” says Kimberlee Gibson, campus minister with BCM. “There are so many different religious organizations on campus with one common goal — to share the love that has been bestowed upon us and have a positive impact on those around us.” Jacob Capin adds, “The addition of the new chapel will be a wonderful resource for all campus ministries!”

Read more about Beth and Eric Gambardella in an upcoming issue of e-Voyages, CNU’s alumni e-newsletter.

Lives Transformed Transformation can be seen in students involved in faith organi-

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E m b r ac i n g C h a n g e These grads enjoy thriving careers in banking.


he banking world and CNU have something in common: Both are constantly evolving. Two individuals who have witnessed both worlds are Brian Skinner (’92), president of TowneBank Peninsula, and Anne Conner (’91), president of TowneBank Williamsburg. Both excel in the field of banking, and both call CNU home. Skinner currently serves on the Alumni Society board of directors while Conner is a past member of CNU’s Board of Visitors. “CNU has changed dramatically over the years, and I am very proud of those changes,” Skinner says. “President Trible and his team have done an outstanding job transforming the campus and curriculum. His impact is felt throughout the region and especially on the Virginia Peninsula.” Conner agrees. “The banking industry is continually evolving, and CNU has certainly done the same over its lifetime,” she says. “CNU as it exists today is very different from the CNU I attended many years ago — though I am equally proud of each incarnation.” Christopher Newport prepared both graduates for prosperous careers. “CNU’s general curriculum courses as well as the specialized courses in my major provided a solid foundation for entering the business community,” Skinner says. While accounting and financial management courses proved most critical to his profession, he has applied knowledge gained in marketing and public speaking classes to connect what he learned in the classroom to real-world situations. For Conner, one of the most important lessons learned was one of the most basic. “It seems kind of amusing

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to me now, but learning about the time value of money was a real eye-opener for me,” she says. “Understanding that the value of a dollar in your pocket today is worth more than a dollar in your pocket tomorrow was a catalyst for my interest in finance. It was a valuable lesson that provided the foundation upon which I have built my career.” As a member of TowneBank’s executive management team, Skinner leads TowneBank’s second largest region, one that includes 85-plus employees in commercial banking centers and branches on the Virginia Peninsula. Conner is responsible for representing and growing TowneBank in the Williamsburg community. “This means assuming leadership positions on various nonprofit boards, attending functions and events that support other community-based organizations, and generally working to enhance the quality of life in our hometown,” she says. Skinner and Conner each sought careers that benefited others — a desire born at Christopher Newport. “CNU taught me the importance of giving back and getting involved in the community,” Skinner says. It also means giving back to the University. Conner explains, “I am extraordinarily proud of the transformation that has taken place at CNU. I’m so proud to have played a role in helping to grow the University.” She adds, “CNU is a vibrant and dynamic component of the Hampton Roads community, and I look forward with anticipation to what lies ahead for this fine institution.” d — MM Above: Anne Conner; Brian Skinner


S t ro n g CNU T i e s

Alan Witt has witnessed the dramatic transformation of his alma mater.


uch has changed on campus since Alan Witt (’76) was a Christopher Newport student. “When I began as a freshman, there was no student center on campus. The gathering place was limited to the grill in one of the block buildings at the front of Gosnold Hall,” he recalls. “The construction and opening of the student center — now gone and replaced with the magnificent David Student Union — was the single most transforming event during my four years. A place for students to meet, relax, congregate and play resulted in students staying on campus after their classes ended, thereby enhancing the college experience.” Originally a political science major, Witt eventually changed to accounting, which had a profound impact on his future. “My switch to accounting as a major, although toward the end of my undergraduate studies, gave me the opportunity to have a wonderful career in an extremely diverse, dynamic and rewarding profession. I attribute much of my early success to Christopher Newport’s great professors, small class sizes and the ability to interact with those professors in a way that added great value to the education,” he says. On campus, he was involved with the College Republicans, an association that led to his appointment to both the Newport News City Council and two city commissions. He notes, “My civic involvement

started at Christopher Newport and continues to this day.” Witt serves as CEO of Witt Mares, a certified public accounting and business-consulting firm with offices in Norfolk, Newport News, Williamsburg, Richmond and Fairfax. “We have grown to be one of Virginia’s largest CPA firms,” he says. Despite a busy professional life, he also maintains close ties to CNU. Shortly after graduating he joined the alumni’s board of directors, briefly serving as treasurer. Other involvements followed. “In 1985 Governor Robb appointed me to the Board of Visitors, and in 1989 Governor Baliles appointed me to a second four-year term, affording me the opportunity to serve as rector during my final two years,” he says. Since then he has participated in several areas of campus life, from serving on the search committee that recommended the hiring of President Paul Trible to serving on the business school’s board of advisors.

“I have watched Christopher Newport transform from a commuter college with only three academic buildings to a vibrant residential university that attracts students from all across Virginia and the nation — a transformation from a college that was considered by some as redundant and superfluous and not needed as part of Virginia’s system of higher education to one of the commonwealth’s most attractive universities with freshman applications soaring to unprecedented numbers,” he says. Through these changes, Witt appreciates seeing his alma mater attain a high level of significance — one that “rivals the best liberal arts colleges in the South.” d — MS Below: Alan Witt

Witt’s family also enjoys CNU ties. His wife, Debbie, graduated in 1978 and spent her entire career at CNU. The couple’s oldest son, Alan Jr., is a 2007 graduate. As a family, they have seen the University evolve before their eyes.

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C h a p t e r N e ws


t’s an exciting time to be CNU alumni. This past year, four alumni chapters were officially chartered, offering opportunities for graduates to stay active in campus life.

Founding Officers • President: Stephen Maxie (’99) • Vice President: Tim Kawamoto (’06) • Secretary: Allison Bridges (’07) • Directors at Large: Rachel Harrell (’04), Laurie Huebner (’07), Pam Otey (’98), Jason Slater (’07)

“As CNU continues to thrive, alumni have grown more excited to return and contribute to the University,” says Melissa Jackson Howell (’98), vice president of the South Hampton Roads chapter.

The South Hampton Roads chapter was formally chartered on April 1, 2010, at the Greenbrier Country Club in Chesapeake. President Trible presented the charter to Chapter President Charles Ciccotti (’86), Alumni Board President Scott Millar (’85) and members of the chapter board.

Metro Richmond The Metro Richmond chapter was formally charted on Oct. 3, 2009, at a football pre-game ceremony at POMOCO Stadium. CNU President Paul Trible presented the charter to Stephen Maxie (’99), chapter president, who represented approximately 900 alumni in greater Metro Richmond. In December, Board of Visitors member John Conrad and his wife, Kathy, hosted a gala holiday reception for Metro Richmond alumni at their home. President and Mrs. Trible brought greetings to all alumni and guests. Other programs have included “A CNU Evening” at the Short Pump Maggiano’s and participation in a welcome event for 2009 graduates.

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South Hampton Roads

Approximately 1,600 alumni reside in South Hampton Roads. “Alumni interaction is such an important aspect of the post-college experience as many of the relationships formed in college last a lifetime,” says Kyle Gregory (’09). “I felt a sense of belonging, and it sparked my deepest interest to ensure the South Hampton Roads chapter continues, strengthens and welcomes each and every member of the CNU alumni community residing in the area.”

Carrie Vance (’08) notes, “I was not only able to network as well as enjoy the company of old CNU friends and professors who attended, but I was able to share my own experiences with past alumni excited to hear of our alma mater’s transformation over the years.” Founding Officers • President: Charles Ciccotti (’86) • Vice President: Melissa Jackson Howell (’98) • Secretary: Carrie Vance (’08) • Directors at Large: Jennifer Hogan (’04), Jennifer Mandler (’06), Daren Whitney (’89)

Greater Peninsula Alumni gathered at the CNU president’s residence as the Greater Peninsula alumni chapter was formally chartered on April 6, 2010. President Trible presented the charter to Chapter President Eric Kean (’94) and Alumni Board President Scott Millar, who represented the Greater Peninsula’s approximately 7,000 alumni.

Below: Greater Peninsula alumni event Opposite page: Alumni at the Metro D.C./Northern Virginia event


With live music and the James River as a backdrop, the gathering drew graduates of all generations. “Attending the chartering reception revitalized my passion for CNU. Now stepping back and realizing CNU was such a large part of who I am as a young businesswoman has made me want to give back even more,” says Shannon Edwards (’04). “I have made an effort in the last few years to give my time and energy to helping out with the alumni events, and I am so thrilled many other alumni are starting to do the same. Networking and socializing at events like this is the greatest way to carry on that Captain’s pride!” Many attendees expressed enthusiasm in being CNU alumni. “The Tribles are the ultimate hosts, and the energy level and enthusiasm for the school makes me proud to be an alumnus,” comments Dominic Velardi (’84). Kristen Kang (’05) adds, “I love living close to my alma mater and being able to attend events on campus. I hope being a part of this local alumni chapter will bring more opportunities to give back to the University and reunite with fellow alumni.” Last September the chapter hosted a “kick-off ” event at Port Warwick as a way to meet, socialize and network while enjoying live music on Styron Square. Founding Officers • President: Eric Kean (’94) • Vice President: Will Holt (’05) • Directors at Large: Shawn Avery (’96), Shannon Edwards (’04), Mike Koontz (’01), Muriel Millar (’88), Carlina Neely (’06), Monica Nolan (’06), Pam Nuby (’00), Tu Ritter (’89), Paul Szabo (’95),

Cynthia Whyte (’97)

• Ex Officio: Scott Millar (’85)

Metro D.C./ Northern Virginia The Metro D.C./Northern Virginia alumni chapter was formally chartered on April 27, 2010, at Maggiano’s Restaurant at Tyson’s Corner in McLean, Virginia. On behalf of President Trible, Scott Millar presented the charter to the chapter board members who represented approximately 1,300 alumni. C.J. Wollum, men’s basketball coach, joined the celebration and made a presentation. “As a former student who participated in numerous campus activities, I look forward to giving back to the CNU community and fostering relationships with fellow graduates,” says Suzanne Medici (’06). “It was refreshing to see familiar faces who share the enthusiasm about getting involved with this new chapter. I’m excited to see how the alumni chapter will cultivate and continue to recruit other CNU graduates in the D.C. area.” Thomas McCreary (’82) adds, “The alumni population in the Washington, D.C., area has been steadily growing. The establishment of an

alumni chapter is a significant and exciting event to be part of, but it is only a signpost on our way to even greater achievements for the University in our nation’s capital.” Previously, members of the Metro D.C./Northern Virginia chapter board organized a gathering at BlackFinn D.C. attended by more than 100 young alumni and guests. Founding Officers • President: Heather Boyd (’06) • Vice President: Ilysa Schrager (’07) • Secretary: Leslie Hutchins (’04) • Directors at Large: Nadine Boone (’95), Lana Borgie (’08), Mary Pauline Jones (’08), Thomas McCreary (’82), Suzanne Medici (’06), Pete Smith (’98), Michael Waclawski (’82), Nikki WenzelLamb (’95) As the alumni chapters grow, a Chapter Leadership Council will bring together the various chapter officers and Alumni Board members. Contact if you are interested in becoming a local chapter leader. You can also join your Facebook alumni group to stay informed on news and activities. d — AV

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C la s s N ot e s

Freddy Arsenault (’02) recently assumed the lead role in the Virginia Stage Company’s production of Billy Bishop Goes to War. He has found success as an actor across the country, including New York City.

Plisco Tapped for Top Workshop Erin Plisco (’09, MAT ’10) was selected to participate as a full conductor in this summer’s Sarteano Chamber Choral Conducting Workshop held in Tuscany, Italy. One of just 10 international participants in the full conductor tier, she will be part of an ensemble that prepares and performs a cappella choral music from the 16th through 20th centuries. Plisco will work directly with Simon Carrington, former director of the Yale Schola Cantorum and creative force behind The King’s Singers. All of the workshop’s full conductors have either earned or are currently pursuing advanced music degrees. Plisco just completed the Master of Arts in Teaching at CNU with Virginia state licensure to teach music. d Cathie Miserandino (’88) is music director for the Wantage Male Voice Choir in Oxfordshire, England. She earned her doctorate from the University of Oxford. Terry Vosbein (’90) teaches music composition at Washington and Lee University and earned his doctorate in composition from the Cleveland Institute of Music. His musical works have been performed by groups worldwide. Susan (Presson) Grainger (’94) works at the College of William and Mary in the Office of the University Registrar.

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Chris (’03) and Becky (’05) Chappell are both educators in the Newport News area. He teaches history and geography at Menchville High School while she teaches third grade at McIntosh Elementary.

Photo by Chris Crisman

Matt Szramoski (’94) is associate director of development for the Scottish Rite fraternal organization in Washington, D.C. Robert Howell (’95) is in the process of completing his MBA at the College of William and Mary through the executive MBA weekend program. Michael Yaskowsky (’95) has earned the designation of certified economic developer from the International Economic Development Council. He is a senior business development manager for the city of Hampton, Virginia.

Two plays by actor-playwright Brian Hampton (’97) were presented last summer in New York — Checking In and The Jungle Fun Room. Hampton appeared in both as well. Fellow CNU grad Rick St. Peter (’95) directed Checking In. Loretta Killen (’99) was employed in the social work field until 2008. She now works in the real estate industry. Heather Hoffman (’01) married Alan Rukin in 2009. The couple resides in Washington, D.C., where she is a professor at The George Washington University.

Carrie Clawson (’04) is an account manager with Musictoday in Crozet, Virginia. She works with such acts as U2, Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw. Dana (Wimmer) Grizzle (’04) is married to fellow CNU grad Steve Grizzle (’01). She is the proposal specialist for DMG Federal, a small information technology and business intelligence consulting firm, and resides in Newport News. Emily Scarborough (’04) graduated in May from the University of North Carolina School of Law. Shannon (Ligon) Speights (’05) is a firstgrade teacher with Prince William Public Schools in Virginia. She married Joshua Speights III last July.


Ann MacDonald (’06) completed her master’s degree in secondary education at Old Dominion University in 2009. Kathleen McCormack (’06) works with the youth-focused mission organization Nexus International/Outdoor Leadership International. Her work entails training outdoor leaders in North America and Japan.

Ashley Bisutti (’08) is pursuing her MA degree in Arabic for professional purposes while teaching Intro to Arab Culture at the University of Michigan. Megan (Lekavich) McCormack (’08) is on staff with Young Life in Staunton, Virginia.

Catherine Bowersox (’07) and John Posey (’07) were married last July. The couple resides in Fairfax, Virginia.

Allison (Martin) Miller (’06) and Ryan Miller (’06) were married in 2008 and reside in Fort Worth, Texas. She works in the marketing department of OmniAmerican Bank. He completed his law degree in 2009 at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and is part of the in-house council at Ben K. Keith Company.

Allison Bridges (’07) recently graduated from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond.

Lacey Howard (’08) is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration at the University of South

Pete Sasso (’06) is a PhD student in the higher education administration program at Old Dominion University.

Carolina where she is the graduate assistant for the Carolina Student Alumni Association. Christine Morgan (’08) married Torrence Dawkins in 2009. She is a mutual fund accountant for Capital Group Companies and lives in Hampton, Virginia. Kathryn Campbell (’09) is studying at George Mason University toward a master’s degree in social work with a concentration in social change.

degree in education upon graduating from CNU. Kristin LaRiviere (’09) is pursuing her master’s degree in higher education administration at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a graduate assistant in the Undergraduate Studies Office at the Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Below: Paul and Cindy Clegg’s wedding

Paul Clegg (’09) and Cindy Watterson (’09) were married May 22 in the Paul and Rosemary Trible Library at CNU. She works for her alma mater in the Office of Admissions, and the couple resides in Yorktown. Laura Gee (’09) married James Jones last May and pursued her master’s

Alum Takes the Stage in Avenue Q Lisa Helmi Johanson (’08, center) portrays Christmas Eve in the 2009-10 North American tour of the hit musical Avenue Q. She graduated from CNU with a BM in vocal performance and a BA in musical theater. Johanson made her Off-Broadway debut in Red Bull Theater’s production of Women Beware Women, followed by the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s OffBroadway staging of Three Sisters. d

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Our House

A ‘home’ for all alumni is coming to campus.


ore than 16,000 students have earned degrees from Christopher Newport. While their careers and life’s circumstances may take them down diverse paths, CNU remains a cherished home base for many. The future Alumni House will help unite them for generations to come. CNU has moved forward with plans to construct a distinctive building on campus for its alumni. In this venue — to be located on the right-hand side of University Place heading toward POMOCO Stadium — graduates will reunite with former classmates and professors while reminiscing about their days on campus. As alumni make significant strides in their careers and communities, the facility

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will also provide a place to recognize them and their notable achievements.

events. Here the University will also display and maintain the rich history of CNU and its graduates.

“The Alumni House represents an integral part of our increased focus on alumni re-engagement,” says Amie Graham, director of university events and alumni relations. “As we charter new alumni chapters and plan the formation of additional groups, this facility will help make our re-engagement efforts all the more successful. It will provide a physical bridge between classes of all decades, unifying them toward increased involvement with CNU.”

Alumni serving on the building campaign’s executive committee include Alumni Board President Scott Millar (’85), Jim Eyre (’75), Jason Houser (’97) and Henry Jones (’75). “It has been encouraging to see many fellow alumni support this campaign,” says Millar. “Working together, we will achieve our goal and soon have the Alumni House as a wonderful addition to the beautiful CNU campus.” d — MS

A vast number of functions will take place in the Alumni House: reunions, seminars, pre- and postgame activities, and other various

You can help bring the Alumni House to campus. Call (757) 594-7179 to learn more.

Make an Impact, One Student at a Time alumni


s our students prepare to change the world, merit and need-based scholarships help to make a CNU degree attainable. Many times, the scholarship’s rewards exceed one’s expectations. Just ask Andrea Van Hyning (’09), who received the Elizabeth H. and Harrol A. Brauer Jr. Endowed Scholarship. “As a recipient of the Brauer scholarship, I have been blessed in more ways than just financially,” she says. “I’ve had the opportunity to form a relationship with the Brauer family and see their example of touching people’s lives. Mrs. Brauer and I still stay in touch and occasionally will meet for lunch.” Elizabeth Brauer (center) with past scholarship recipients and 2009 graduates Elizabeth Bartelmes (left) and Andrea Van Hyning

The Brauer family enjoys close ties with Christopher Newport University. “We’ve had this long affinity for and love affair with CNU,” says Elizabeth, whose late husband, Harrol, was the Board of Visitors’ first rector. Each of the couple’s three sons attended Christopher Newport: Hal III (’75), Bill (’77) and Greg (’82), and Bill now serves CNU as executive vice president for administration and finance. While initially providing support for faculty, the Brauers’ endowment was re-designated to benefit rising juniors in the Joseph W. Luter, III School of Business. “I’m so happy the endowment has been switched

over to support students,” Elizabeth says. In addition to academic excellence, recipients must exemplify the qualities of leadership and public service, two enduring hallmarks of a CNU education. Like the Brauer family, you also can build a rich legacy at Christopher Newport University — one that impacts future generations, one student at a time. As you establish a new scholarship at CNU, your generosity will benefit the leaders of tomorrow as they transform their dreams into reality. d — MS

For more information, contact: Lucy Latchum Director of Planned Giving and Scholarships (757) 594-7702

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Join Us on Campus This Fall! Alumni Society 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Run Saturday, September 11

Family Weekend

Friday through Sunday, October 8-10


Friday and Saturday, October 29-30

Christopher Newport University 1 University Place Newport News, VA 23606-2998

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAI D Champaign, IL Permit No. 453

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