Longwood Magazine | Spring 2021

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Alumni and students are essential to Farmville Fire Department Coaches reflect on a basketball season to remember

Longwood commits to giving students, as much as possible, the kind of in-person college experience they want and need

Taking Aim at Cancer

On the Cover ‘I have made family out of friends at Longwood, making this a second home for me,’ said Myles Johnson ’24, a freshman majoring in political science. ‘My first year may not have been the best in traditional terms, but I am grateful that I am here. I can’t wait to see what the next three years have in store for me.’ Read more about what the past 12 months have been like for students, faculty and staff on Page 8.



12 Months, Together

Through the pandemic, Longwood has persevered, finding a way to live and learn together, in person

President’s Message

Treatment developed at Longwood moves closer to clinical trials




Standing Ready Alums and students put it all on the line with the Farmville Fire Department


Parallel Journeys Coaches of men’s and women’s basketball reflect on this season’s success

Dream Factory

In Print

Two restaurants are among the new residents of High Street across from campus

Scholarship campaign raises $2.7 million, creating 90 scholarships for incoming students

A guide to Religion in the Handmaid’s Tale and other books by Longwood authors




Word on the Street

On Point 3 Class Notes 23 In Memoriam 31



Alumnus uses his business sense to reimagine the school cafeteria

Alums in the Virginia National Guard help provide security for the presidential inauguration

What’s Cookin’

Duty Calls


Virtual Alumni Weekend June 4-6: What’s in store and where to find out more





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Editor Sabrina Brown Creative Director JoDee Stringham Associate Editors Gina Caldwell, Matthew McWilliams, Lauren Whittington Sports Editor Chris Cook Photographer Courtney Vogel Contributors

Nursing students helped administer vaccination doses in clinics on campus and at Centra Southside Community Hospital.

Velibor Božovic, Anthony Caputo ’17, Sam Chase ’21, Ted Hodges ’85, Mike Kropf ’14, Justin Pope, Adam Russo ’07, Jason Snyder, TJ Wengert ’20, Jason Wong Advisory Board Ryan Catherwood, Wade Edwards, Larissa Smith, Courtney Hodges, Victoria Kindon, David Locascio, Justin Pope


We’ve all learned over this past year to appreciate some things we took for granted. Here at Longwood, we’ve come especially to appreciate how deeply our

Board of Visitors

mission depends on the joys of a shared in-person presence together on this beautiful campus.

Eric Hansen, Rector, Lynchburg

That’s why we were so determined this year to persevere, maintaining in-person learning as much as possible. There have been frustrations, to be sure. But our priority has been to let our students be present with one another, their professors, their coaches and other mentors. In the cover story of this issue of the magazine, we’ve asked a range of people on campus to reflect on what has mattered so much about the effort to be together, noting both the challenges and rewards.

Eileen Mathes Anderson ’83, Glen Allen Katharine McKeown Bond ’98, Mechanicsville Michael A. Evans, Richmond Steven P. Gould, Danville David H. Hallock Jr., Richmond Colleen McCrink Margiloff ’97, Rye, N.Y. Nadine Marsh-Carter, Richmond Larry I. Palmer, Richmond Polly H. Raible ’91, Midlothian Ricshawn Adkins Roane, Great Falls N.H. “Cookie” Scott ’72, Midlothian Lucia Anna “Pia” Trigiani, Alexandria Editorial offices for Longwood magazine are maintained at the Office of University Marketing and Communications, Longwood University, 201 High Street, Farmville, VA 23909. Telephone: 434-414-6241; email: browncs2@longwood.edu. Comments, letters and contributions are encouraged. Printed on recycled stocks containing 100% post-consumer waste. To request this magazine in alternate format (large print, braille, audio, etc.), please contact Longwood Disability Resources, 434-395-2391; TRS: 711.

In the spring of this unusual year, you should be immensely proud of the Alma Mater. Our students have met their commitments to one another and the broader community. They did more than just provide an outstanding example. Student nurses helped administer more than 2,200 vaccination doses in a clinic on campus for Longwood staff and local K-12 teachers, and they helped staff Centra Southside Community Hospital’s vaccination clinic as well, getting hundreds more shots in arms. When an ice storm devastated large parts of Southside in February, students stepped up and volunteered. They have maintained traditions, embracing their unique charge as caretakers of the Longwood spirit, ensuring all the things that make student life at Longwood special are passed down to those who will follow. So many of you have faced challenges as parents, caretakers, educators and citizen leaders of all kinds. Many of you serve in positions of public leadership—like Farmville Mayor David Whitus ’83. The pandemic has been a source of tension between many universities and their home communities, but under David’s leadership, Farmville and Longwood have flourished together. Farmville is truly poised to continue its momentum as one of the great college towns. Whatever your circumstances, I hope your Longwood education, connections and memories have been a source of strength. And I hope as life returns gradually to normal, you will join a few friends or family members and make a visit to campus among your first travel stops. Being together truly matters. My best wishes,

Published April 2021

W. Taylor Reveley IV President





Taking Aim at Cancer

Breakthrough treatment developed at Longwood takes another step toward clinical trials CANCER-FIGHTING CELLS developed in a Longwood lab are one step closer to making their way into patient treatment plans. Dr. Amorette Barber’s research and development into a therapy involving genetically modified T-cells was awarded a U.S. patent in 2018 and had success in a wide range of cancers. That patent and the possibilities for the development of cancer treatments based on the research attracted the attention of pharmaceutical companies. Last summer Barber, associate professor of biology and director of the Office of Student Research, and Longwood inked a licensing deal with Kiromic Biopharma, a leading developer of immunology-based cancer treatments. Kiromic has filed international patents in eight countries for the treatment and will develop the treatment for clinical trials in the next few years. “This collaboration marks the beginning of an exciting revolution in cell therapies," said Gianluca Rotino, chief of strategy and innovation officer for Kiromic. Most common cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, tend to destroy healthy tissue as well as cancer cells in an effort to ensure full effectiveness. This often weakens a patient’s immune system and causes lasting damage. Barber’s research focuses on modifying T cells, natural cells in your immune system that kill other infected cells, to better

recognize specific proteins found mostly on cancer cells. With an enhanced detection system, these T-cells can seek out and destroy cancer cells with great efficiency, leaving healthy cells untouched. Another beauty of Barber’s treatment is its wide-ranging effectiveness. “Immunology treatments currently target only one or very few types of cancer,” said Barber. “The T cells we engineered are effective against more than 80 percent of cancers—many of them the more prevalent ones like pancreatic, ovarian, breast and colon cancer.—Matthew McWilliams

Dr. Amorette Barber: ‘I’m so proud that, from the moment I began at Longwood, students have been beside me in the lab, learning in real time. That really is the magic of Longwood.’

Putting elephant smugglers on the endangered list


he illegal wild animal trade, a multibillion-dollar business in which exotic animals like giraffes, tigers and elephants are captured and sold on the black market to the highest bidder, is much more widespread than the average person would imagine. Now a Longwood biologist has teamed up with Sri Lankan colleagues to shed light on one aspect of the problem and recommend solutions. Dr. Sujan Henkanaththegedara, assistant professor of biology, joined a team of Sri Lankan scientists and colleagues at Oxford Brookes University to study the illegal trade of highly valued Asian elephants on the island of Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka has the second-largest population of Asian elephants in the world, and our team documented 55 cases of elephants being illegally captured and traded over a 10-year period,” said Henkanaththegedara. Many of the smugglers, the study found, operate with

impunity in national parks and elephant sanctuaries on the island. A system of bribes and corrupt officials who profit from the illegal elephant trade keep the business flourishing, as young elephants that are captured in the wild are often registered as born in captivity. The study is the first to look at the extent, mechanisms and impacts of Asian elephant smuggling in Sri Lanka. The team recommended several steps to help curb the practice, including a quicker judicial process, penalties for corrupt officials, more transparency regarding those licensed to hold captive elephants, and an enactment of a national policy on captive elephants.




Ted Hodges ’85


Word on the Street New life is being breathed into the storefronts on High Street just a few steps toward downtown from the Longwood campus. A new marquee above one space heralds a “coming attraction”: the High Street Theatre. The cinema and black-box theatre is envisioned as a place for events ranging from intimate stage performances to quirky, independent films. Flanking the theatre are a new Mexican restaurant, Bandidos, and




the offices of the Virginia Children’s Book Festival. VCBF looks forward to welcoming children for monthly programming in their new space when safety allows. Another new addition to High Street is Taproot Tavern, located in the lower level of Hotel Weyanoke. The restaurant offers dinner guests a wide-ranging menu of food and drink in a polished, yet cozy atmosphere. Hotel Weyanoke reopened in 2018 after an extensive renovation.

(top left) The Virginia Children’s Book Festival, now settled into its new home on High Street, traditionally draws renowned authors and illustrators of children’s and young adult literature, along with thousands of their fans, to the Longwood campus for a bulging slate of events in October.

(top right) Bandidos offers traditional Mexican fare and adult beverages along with a pickyour-protein, pickyour-toppings, pick-your-veggies house specialty.

(bottom right) High Street Theatre was developed in a partnership among Longwood, the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts and the Longwood Real Estate Foundation. Film series will figure prominently in the theatre’s offerings, including Friday Night Frights, an international film festival and Black history films.


Dos Passos Prize winner explores issues of exile

The Ripple Effect

Strongly impacted by a scholarship he received in high school, Board of Visitors member Larry I. Palmer (shown here at Longwood’s 2019 Convocation) is helping with the Call Me MISTER campaign.

Scholarship drive targets young men who want to be teachers

Aleksander Hemon’s best-known novels are Nowhere Man and The Lazarus Project.

Velibor Božovic

(bottom left) Dinner is served Tuesday through Saturday at Taproot Tavern, Hotel Weyanoke’s newest dining venue. Wine pairings and Happy Hour are on the menu, along with a variety of entrees, soups, salads and appetizers.

A SCHOLARSHIP made it possible for Larry I. Palmer to attend one of America’s most renowned private prep schools, setting him on a path to Harvard, Yale, a law degree and a career in higher education. Now Palmer, a member of Longwood’s Board of Visitors, is part of an effort to have that same kind of impact, this time for a young man in Longwood’s Call Me MISTER program for aspiring teachers. In February, Professor Palmer and a group of current Call Me MISTER students participated in a virtual discussion centered on Palmer’s book Scholarship Boy, which details the far-reaching impact of the scholarship he received to attend high school at Phillips Exeter Academy. The purpose of the discussion was to call attention to an initiative to create an endowed scholarship for a Call Me MISTER student. Prior to the event, the university had already raised $14,000 of the $25,000 goal. Plans are to award the first scholarship in 2021-22. “Call Me MISTER directly addresses the critical shortage of young men entering careers in teaching, particularly young men who reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of our K-12 school populations,” said Dr. Maurice Carter, the director of the Call Me MISTER program at Longwood.


leksandar Hemon, a fiction and nonfiction writer, is the 2020 winner of the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature—a premier literary award given annually by Longwood. Hemon is known for his short stories and novels that explore issues of exile, identity and home through characters drawn from his own experience with displacement. His works often deal with the Yugoslav Wars, his native Bosnia or Chicago, which became his adopted hometown when war broke out in his home country and he was granted status as a political refugee in the United States. Hemon’s best-known novels are Nowhere Man (2002) and The Lazarus Project (2008). He also co-wrote the script, alongside David Mitchell and Lana Wachowski, for the upcoming The Matrix 4 movie, which is slated to be released in late 2021. The John Dos Passos Prize for Literature is the oldest literary award given by a Virginia college or university.




Making Dreams Come True

Scholarship campaign raises $2.7 million


dents right away while interest builds on eserving students will be invested funds to provide scholarships in making their dreams of a perpetuity. In addition, it was structured Longwood education come with four leadership gifts that provided true for many years into the matching funds for 90 giving opportunifuture thanks to a scholarship campaign ties: 25 scholarships each in Longwood’s completed in February. three academic colleges and 15 in the The campaign, which raised $2.7 milathletics program. lion for the Family Scholarship Program, Members of the Longwood community will provide scholarships to 90 incoming came forward to fill every slot. freshmen each year. For example, Noah Wood ’89 made “Students often face a gap between his gift to honor a fellow alumna who’s what they can afford and the actual costs of college,” said Courtney These scholarships could Hodges, vice president for instimake the difference between a tutional advancement. “Coming on student coming to Longwood the heels of Covid, or staying home.’ paying for college is — COURTNEY HODGES, VICE PRESIDENT a bigger challenge FOR INSTITUTIONAL ADVANCEMENT than ever for many had a lasting impact on his life. “Her families. These scholarships could make the difference between a student coming to impact is with me every day,” he said of his mentor-turned-friend when he named Longwood or staying home.” his scholarship for her some 35 years after The campaign was a hybrid model that they first met. —Sabrina Brown is putting scholarships in the hands of stu-

Fulfilling Her Destiny. When Destiny Brown ’22 arrived at Longwood, she met a few upperclassmen who shaped her experience and inspired her to become involved. Now it’s her mission to be that mentor for others. “When I was a A LOOK AT WHO GAVE … new student, upperclassmen 63% played a big role in my life and ALUMNI helped me feel like a part of a community that could do real good here. Taking on that 4% FACULTY/ role for other people means a STAFF lot to me,” said Brown, a sociol3% PARENTS ogy major and the 2020 recipient of the Moton Legacy Scholarship, which provides 30% full tuition for one year. FRIENDS 6



INPRINT Revolutionizing Women’s Healthcare: The Feminist Self-Help Movement in America

Religion in The Handmaid’s Tale: A Brief Guide by Dr. Colette Tennant, M.A. ’78, professor of English at Corban University

by Dr. Hannah Dudley-Shotwell, honors faculty in the Cormier Honors College at Longwood


argaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale captivates readers with its disturbingly prescient vision of the future and haunting insights into the world as we know it. Religion— especially elements of the Christian faith—pervades every inch of the world as Atwood imagines it. For anyone who's ever googled a biblical precedent or religious phrase after encountering Atwood’s dystopia, this essential guide explains it all and gives readers a fascinating look into this prophetic novel and its world. Published by Fortress Press, September 2019, 130 pages


Breaking the Blockade: The Bahamas during the Civil War by Dr. Charles Ross, Longwood professor of physics


n April 16, 1861, just four days after Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln issued a blockade of the Confederate coastline. Filled with intrigue, drama and colorful characters, Breaking the Blockade focuses on the political dynamics and tensions that existed between the United States Consular Service, the governor of the Bahamas, and the representatives of the Southern and English firms making a large profit off the blockade. Published by University Press of Mississippi, December 2020, 274 pages

Inquiry-Based Literature Instruction in the 6-12 Classroom: A Hands-on Guide for Deeper Learning by Dr. Sean Ruday, Longwood associate professor of English education, and Dr. Kathryn Caprino, associate professor of education at Elizabethtown College

his book details a feminist experiment—the self-help movement— that grew out of women’s frustration, anger and fear for their health. Tired of their lack of control over their own reproductive lives and the patronizing attitudes of some physicians, women took action. They founded and ran clinics, wrote books, made movies, and protested against the medical status quo. Revolutionizing Women’s Healthcare chronicles these stories and more to showcase the creative ways women came together to take care of themselves. Published by Rutgers University Press, March 2020, 201 pages

Speech-Language Pathologists as Expert Witnesses by Dr. Lissa Power de-Fur, Longwood professor of communication sciences and disorders, and Dr. Brenda Chafin Seal, retired professor at Gallaudet University


his groundbreaking book provides a comprehensive resource for speech-language pathologists who may already serve as expert witnesses, for those wanting to broaden their practice to include expert witnessing and for those who may find themselves involved in a dispute or due process hearing. Numerous case studies provide examples of the complex issues that arise in disputes in a wide variety of settings. Published by ASHA Press, 2021, 232 pages


his practical and engaging book provides a guide to teaching literature with an inquiry-based approach. Inquiry-based literature instruction is an effective method to facilitate student engagement, motivation and understanding in middle- and high-school English language arts classrooms. Easy-to-implement and adaptable for many types of texts, this method encourages students to make authentic connections between texts, their lives and real-world issues. Published by Routledge, December 2020, 204 pages SPRING 2021









persevered, finding a way to live and learn together, in person BY MATTHEW MCWILLIAMS SPRING 2021



With some adjustments to game schedules and spectator policies, Longwood’s athletics teams, including softball (this page, above), have been able to stay on the fields, track and courts this year. (opposite page, top and bottom left) Students’ commitment to observing precautions, including wearing face coverings even outside, has been instrumental in Longwood’s ability to remain on campus this year. (opposite page, bottom right) Giving students an in-person, hands-on learning experience, as in this communication studies class, is a top priority.

The spring of 2020 was a hard one. In March, like universities all across America, Longwood sent students home to finish the semester’s classes online. Just finishing the year profoundly challenged students, faculty and staff. But in early summer, President W. Taylor Reveley IV sent a clear message: In-person learning is central to Longwood’s mission, and we are committed to making it work in the fall. The commitment made Longwood an outlier. Many colleges adopted a wait-and-see approach during 2020-21 academic year. Others started the fall semester fully online. Others tried to be in person and failed. Longwood, by contrast, offered more than 75 percent of classes fully in person or with in-person components—a percentage as high or higher than at any other Virginia public university. Students moved into residence halls on time. Extracurricular life continued, with precautions. Fire pits and additional outdoor gathering spaces were added to campus to allow for safer socializing. Longwood asked students to do their part for themselves and the community by wearing masks and social distancing.

They did. An extensive contact-tracing system was implemented to limit spread, along with quarantine support to ensure students stayed on track emotionally and academically if they had to isolate. Faculty adjusted to new classroom spaces and accommodated students who had to be away. The University Health Center prepared to test and support students during an unusual year. It wasn’t always easy. The academic, mental health, emotional and financial challenges for many at Longwood were real, as they have been for this whole generation of college students. But despite the changed routines of campus life, there was wide agreement that being together mattered. We talked to students, faculty and staff from across campus about why that was, what their experiences were like during this unique year and what they are looking forward to as we return next fall.

More reflections on how the Longwood community has responded to the challenges of Covid-19 can be found online at go.longwood.edu/together.

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Micah Clark ’24

Freshman class president Major: Political science When it really felt like college

The day I moved in, a few people from my Peer Mentor group went to D-Hall. There were so many fresh faces. I had been with the same small number of people since kindergarten, so stepping out and seeing all new people was really monumental. It was different and big to me. It made me thankful that I went to Longwood instead of a place where people like me started their first semester online. The struggle is real

Some of my classes have been online or had portions online, and, honestly, it was tough. I’m a very hands-on learner, so I really need to be in the classroom. I’ve made it work, but it’s a struggle sometimes. I appreciate my in-person classes a lot more. Looking forward to traditions

I am really looking forward to experiencing Color Wars. I’ve seen pictures and other students have told me about it. It genuinely looks like a good time. As freshmen, we are excited to experience these traditions in their real dynamic. It’s more exciting to look forward to participating in something in the future rather than dwelling on what we couldn’t have this year.

Taylor Jennings ’21 Major: Criminology and criminal justice

A safe place that cares

It was a big relief to have some kind of normalcy. Coming back made a lot of us feel like Longwood really cared about us. We needed that safe place to have somewhat of a normal routine and a place of support for those of us who were really SPRING 2021



struggling mentally. A lot of us were thankful Longwood prioritized students being here. A community effort

It’s hard because I got to spend three years with all of our traditions and CHI Walks and all the fun stuff that we do as a community. It’s hard for freshmen and transfer students. It’s going to be difficult for them to get into it and get as excited as those of us who got to experience that. The spirit is definitely there—it will just take more initiative and work to keep it going strong. But we know how important it is. It’s the thing that’s kept us here.

The pandemic perspective: take nothing for granted

The last 12 months changed my entire perception of everything. This fall, I told myself that I wouldn’t take a single day in Farmville for granted. This is my last year, and, yes, there are guidelines that we have to follow, but I’ve been making the best of it. Our spirit kept us on campus

If you step back, there are students at other universities who haven’t been as fortunate to return to campus or stay in person. It’s the spirit of the student body at a small university where everyone is just on the same page. When we had a spike in cases on campus, it really was everyone talking to their friends saying, ‘Hey, let’s get it together here,’ that made a difference and kept us here. We really had to lean on that and come together as one family.

Dr. Karen Feathers

Assistant professor of special education A big adjustment

Last March we left in the middle of the semester, and students had a hard time adjusting to being away from their social and academic support networks. Going into the fall, it was really important to me that as many of my students as possible had access to in-person learning.

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Giving students credit

I feel like we’ve had to rely on our character a lot over the past year. We all had to stretch and learn things that we hadn’t known before, but the qualities that bind us together were on full display. Everyone asks each other, ‘What can I do to help?’ Beyond that, I’m so impressed that our students have taken responsibility in public and in the classroom to follow the guidelines that allow us to be here. Not every university can say that about their student body, and ours deserves a lot of praise for the sacrifices they have collectively made.

Dr. Leslie Straker Senior lecturer in environmental science Minimizing disruption

Especially in labs, face-to-face classes mean everything. One of the priorities of the department was to do whatever we could to not disrupt the experience of students in labs, even though it was very difficult to find online lab exercises. That meant we had to get creative. We had to design lots of different activities and work through whatever problems arose. Real campus camaraderie

We talk a lot about the camaraderie and environment here, and it’s easy to dismiss as just talk for people outside of Longwood. My wife is a professor at a different university, and the problems that she describes just aren’t present here. We all pulled together, but the students were very, very understanding and willing to work hard. I’ve never had a negative experience in terms of a student being understanding of changing circumstances. The unspoken bargain: bending not breaking

It’s almost been an unspoken bargain between professor and student this past year: We will both be flexible and approach this year with understanding, and we’ll make it. If I have to move a

(opposite page, clockwise from top) Many professors have held classes outside this year. Every effort is being made to provide traditional, inperson science labs. Art students also are benefiting from hands-on instruction this year.




Moe Bates

Director of residential programs Togetherness makes the difference

With the kind of work we do in residential life, students—especially those who are struggling—need the option available to connect with peers and faculty and staff, so it was important to have in-person options. I remember one student over the summer was trying to build relationships with classmates online, and the connections just weren’t very substantive. But once they got on campus and started connecting in person, whether it be in a formal way through an organization or just passing by someone in the hallway, it became much more real. Being on the front lines

Our staff and student and professional staff live in residence halls with students. They’re on the front lines of helping students have a traditional college experience but also maintaining safety for everyone. It’s been a challenge, but the effort is worth it. Pulling together, not pushing back

By and large, Longwood students are interested in supporting each other. When the guidelines came down about masks and social distancing, I talked to colleagues at other universities who were having real issues with students not wearing masks or pushing back against the regulations. We’ve hardly had any of that—everyone knows that it’s important to look out for each other.

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Judith Campbell

Director of university events and ceremonies Covid Response Team: a test of resourcefulness

It was a privilege to be able to help. Every year we run a tight slate of conferences and events on campus, and the skills my team uses to coordinate those translated really well to the Covid response, particularly in facilitating students’ stays in the quarantine space in ARC Hall. It was exciting in a way. It’s like if a thunderstorm hits during an outdoor wedding—it’s the event planner’s job to figure it out and coordinate everyone’s needs on the fly. It’s what we do, and I’m happy to have played that role.

(top) Making and maintaining friendships has been a key element in mental well-being for students this year, and they have embraced the precautions necessary to make that possible. (bottom) In addition to outdoor structured activities, including movie nights, Longwood has installed fire pits and Adirondack chairs across campus to encourage spontaneous socializing outside.

Quarantine hospitality

Students coming to ARC were our guests—that’s how we viewed them. So hospitality became our focus. We set up rooms purposefully, with fresh linens and blankets, and made every accommodation possible so that rooms felt welcoming because we knew that this was a really stressful time and a big upheaval for a lot of students. So we put refrigerators in rooms, and, when students asked for microwaves, we bought microwaves for all the rooms. The food that catering provided was above and beyond what they had to deliver. But we all had this sense that it must be terrible to be stuck in a room by yourself, sometimes for 14 days, so we tried to make it as welcoming an atmosphere as possible.

Allyson Buchanan ’24 Major: Psychology

Online vs. in-person learning

It’s really hard for students to learn online because we’ve been in a classroom our entire lives. Last semester I had mostly

Sam Chase ’21

quiz, I’m going to do it in your favor. A student’s internet connection is terrible at home, so I allow them to complete work asynchronously. I’ve designed a lab for online students that isn’t working very well so students complete a different assignment. We all work together, and that’s why we’ve made it this far.

online classes, but this semester I’m mostly in person, and the difference is huge. I’ve made insane connections with my professors. Dr. Steven Faulkner has even gotten me to appreciate history— even if I still don’t really like it! Isolated but not alone

I was so exhausted [when I had to isolate], but the staff there was so supportive. Dr. Jennifer Green really took care of me to make sure I had extra time on assignments or whatever other accommodations I needed. And the CNAs were so nice—if you called them for anything, they were on it. High hopes for next year

I feel like freshmen really missed out on Oktoberfest. From the moment you hear about the university, that’s one of the events everyone talks about. I’m looking forward to hopefully experiencing it next year.

Todd Dyer ’92

Women’s soccer coach You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone

You don’t realize how important the group dynamic is with a team until it’s taken away. Last March when we went home, there was such a void in terms of that in-person contact, that togetherness. You feel lost, and you’re searching for what you had. That was a big hurdle emotionally for us.

important for her to be here with her Longwood family, her team family, who love and care about her and were willing to do whatever was necessary to get her through hard times.

The new normal: exceptional

Our normal is going to feel exceptional because I know we’ll never take it for granted again. Our history, our traditions are going to feel even more special because we know what it’s like to lose them.

Madison Hommey ’21 Women’s soccer team member Major: Elementary and middle school math education Connecting with freshmen

I’ve always taken pride and care to ensure that our freshmen feel like part of the team—having conversations, sitting down with them, having meals with them. This year that was a little bit different. Over the summer, we would FaceTime a lot and talk about the challenges of the season. When we got here, we’d try to hang out in small groups rather than as one large team like we’re used to. So it was difficult, but we’re managing to still come together as one team. A foundation to build on

We played USC Upstate for the first game this semester. As it was about to start, it dawned on me that this was the first time I had seen all of the players’ faces since last March. It hit me. It was hard to understand how much that means in terms of that personal connection.

Upperclassmen definitely feel the responsibility to carry our traditions and community forward. It’s been encouraging to see the efforts people go to to see that happen. At the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, we’ve worked hard to lay foundations for students to build on when we open things back up. Everyone’s been so creative, like giving away scarves even though there was no G.A.M.E. this year. That type of thing builds momentum for the future.

One of the most cautious players on the team in terms of the health guidelines came back from the holidays, and everyone could tell she was just beaten up emotionally. It turns out her entire family had gotten the virus, and she lost a grandparent. I really think it was

I’m looking forward to having a normal season and seeing large groups of students on campus again. I’d love to just sit out at the dancing fountains at a picnic table with some friends and have a random person walk up and give hugs. That would be perfect.

Seeing faces again

When Covid hits home

Picturing Longwood post-Covid




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Half of the members of the Farmville Fire Department are current students and alums of Longwood. Among them are (front row, from left) Will Gill ’21, a criminal justice major; Zach Kim ’22, a criminal justice major; Chief Cayden Eagles ’16; (back row, from left) Riley Hayden ’21, a liberal studies major; Darrell Hodges ’07; and Brian Seimetz ’20. The department has kept this cherished 1940 Ford fire engine running over the years.

Most college students have never seen or used a pager, a relic that mostly died out with the advent of the cellphone. But Carson Rubin ’22 sleeps with one on the nightstand next to his bed. On a Sunday night in early March, that pager started buzzing a little after 1 a.m., alerting him that all available Farmville Fire Department volunteers were needed to respond to a suspected house fire. In a flash, he was out of bed and rushing to the fire station on Third Street. SPRING 2021




ubin, a business management major, knew the call could take many hours to resolve— and that he had a full day of Monday classes ahead—but he didn’t hesitate for a moment when it came. He was one of eight volunteers—all but one of them Longwood students—who responded and were on the scene of the fire in less than seven minutes.“We’ve got a very strong volunteer base, and we always get a good response from our college students,” said Rubin, a second lieutenant who spends an average of 35 to 40 hours each week at the station. “We want to help other people, and that’s the main reason we have a volunteer department that’s thriving and strong.” As the Farmville Fire Department formally celebrates its 150th anniversary this spring, it is Longwood students and alumni who make up the core of active volunteers and run the majority of calls. Of the 38 volunteer members on the roster, 12 are current students and seven are Longwood alumni. This active and loyal volunteer base—the majority of whom live within a half-mile of the fire station—allows the department to log response times on par with much larger fire departments with paid personnel. “Essentially we are a professional volunteer fire department,” said Chief Cayden Eagles ’16, who was promoted from assistant chief to head the department late last year. “Students can be here in a matter of moments from the top of the hill.” The symbiotic relationship allows Longwood students— many of whom, like Eagles and Rubin, are pursuing or plan to pursue careers as professional firefighters—to get critical experience and training while serving as citizen leaders in the Farmville community. Meanwhile, the town is able to maintain a professional-level volunteer department at a time when finances are tight and many rural localities are struggling to replenish their ranks with younger volunteers. “Without Longwood’s help, Farmville would have probably have had to go to a paid fire department by this time because of the demand and the need,” said Darrell Hodges ’07, a lifetime member of the department and Cumberland County sheriff. “It would have been a bigger burden on the taxpayers.”

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A GREAT PARTNERSHIP Founded in 1870, the Farmville Fire Department is officially celebrating its 150th anniversary this year after a yearlong delay due to Covid-19. (above) This ladder-tower truck was state-ofthe-art when it was purchased in 1978, primarily to protect the students living in Longwood’s highrise residence halls.

Prior to the early 2000s it was a requirement that volunteers had to be full-time residents of the town of Farmville. However, a major event on Longwood’s campus 20 years ago this month paved the way for student participation and the leading role students and alumni have come to play. On April 24, 2001, a catastrophic fire in Longwood’s historic Rotunda raged for 37 hours and required the assistance of 181 firefighters from Farmville and surrounding localities. After the fire, the community realized more personnel were needed, and the department voted to allow students to join. Eagles, who is employed as a professional firefighter in Hanover County, is the second Longwood alum to serve as chief of the department. He has witnessed firsthand the parallel growth in student participation and call volume since he first joined in 2014. The department now averages between 1,200 and 1,400 calls per year, compared with 600 to 800 a year when Eagles was a student. Despite the increase in volume, the department has cut its response time in half over the past five years, Eagles said, giving much of the credit to student volunteers. “It was probably one of the best things we ever did,” Hodges said of the decision to add students to the ranks. “We have an abundance of enthusiasm and energy with these students. You can come down here any night of the week, and you’ll see cars parked here. Almost all of them belong to Longwood students.” Founded in 1870, the department postponed until this year the official celebration of its 150th anniversary due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At press time, a community parade was planned for April 18.

The strong community partnership There are also times when student GIVING BACK TO THE between the two entities reaches back at life intersects with their community COMMUNITY IS SOMETHING THAT least 50 years into that history, when the involvement. university was instrumental in helping Eagles was the first arriving officer on IS EMBEDDED IN THESE STUDENTS the department purchase a custom-built the scene in August 2016 when there FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES.’ ladder-tower truck in 1978. State-ofwas an attic fire caused by lightning at the Longwood Landings student housing the-art for its time, it had a hydrauliDA R R E L L H O D G E S ’ 07, L I F ETI M E VO LU N TE E R ME MB E R O F TH E complex. cally operated 85-foot ladder and was FA R M V I L L E F I R E D E PA R TME N T “I had just graduated, and I knew peopurchased with state funds at the request ple living in that building,” he recalled. of Longwood, primarily to help protect The Farmville Fire “It was very nerve-wracking seeing the volume of fire coming the students living in the relatively new twin high-rise residence Department has a from the roof. But it ended up being a great stop, and thankhalls. full complement of fully no one was injured.” In 2005, the university donated $100,000 toward the modern equipment, including a truck Riley Hayden ’21 joined the Farmville Fire Department department’s purchase of a new truck with a 105-foot aerial with a 105-foot her sophomore year and spends roughly two to four hours per ladder. That truck is still in use today. aerial ladder (cenday at the fire station. And if a call alert pops up on her phone “Longwood has always been a great partner with the volunter) that Longwood helped purchase. when she’s between classes, she’ll drive to the scene to see if she teer fire department by helping us in getting the equipment we can assist. need to better serve this community,” Hodges said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is to have confidence in myself,” she said. “In this line of work, you have to put your all A CALLING TO SERVE OTHERS into everything you do to keep each other safe.” Helping and serving others is the primary reason students Hayden, a liberal studies major with a minor in children’s and alumni give when asked why they volunteer with the fire literature, is preparing to become a teacher after she graduates department. For students, volunteering provides a stronger in May. She’s also planning to remain active as a volunteer in connection with the Farmville community. her hometown fire department. “A lot of students just know campus and Main Street down“Giving back to the community is something that is embedtown, whereas we know every street and every neighborhood in ded in these students for the rest of their lives,” Hodges said. “I the county,” said Brian Seimetz ’20, who is finishing his EMT don’t know a single student who is involved in the department certification this spring and preparing to apply to become a here where they don’t go on and continue volunteering wherevfull-time firefighter. “We get to make connections within the er they end up.” community beyond the campus.” SPRING 2021




PARALLEL hey arrived at Longwood just a few weeks apart, in the spring of 2018, both first-time head coaches and both charged with building basketball programs that hadn’t yet found their footing in the Big South Conference. Just three years later, men’s coach Griff Aldrich and women’s coach Rebecca Tillett have taken their teams past unprecedented milestones each year, and the future is even brighter. In 2020-21, both programs set records for Big South wins, both reached the Big South semifinals, and both earned invitations to postseason tournaments—the men’s team’s second in three years under Aldrich, and the women’s team’s first-ever since making the jump to the Division I level in 2004-05. Now with their respective 2020-21 seasons in the books, Aldrich and Tillett sat down to discuss their journeys at Longwood and reflect on what has been behind each team’s success on the hardwood. 20 I


The growth of both teams over the past three seasons has been remarkable. How do you feel those achievements have moved your programs forward this year?

REBECCA TILLETT: You lay the foundation in year one, and you hope each year to see the positive trajectory of the program. As a coach, you have that vision with your staff, and you’re hoping that the success and the results will follow. This year has been enjoyable because there have been continued firsts, but you can also look back to times when alumni and supporters reach out and say they’re proud of the progress the program has made—and we’re still making progress. This year’s team specifically plays and practices with a lot of joy, which really is a key value of ours and something that’s essential to our success. I know that’s true of both our programs. It takes hard work to do these things,

JOURNEYS and it should be joyful, too, because there’s joy in the intense work. GRIFF ALDRICH: Looking back to

when we started the journey three years ago, you think about how you want the team and the program to be perceived and what you want them to represent. We really wanted our team to be composed of guys who are high-character, who really want to grow as young men and who want to do well both on and off the court. In the fall, 11 of our 13 guys had above a 3.0 GPA, and then you see their personal growth throughout the course of the season. It’s really encouraging. We had some time after the end of the tournament and before the CBI to reflect on the values and characteristics the program has taken on. It matches a lot of what we were hoping to build. Is it cemented? Absolutely not, but I’m very pleased that the guys have assumed a lot of what we’re trying to do with toughness, focusing on excellence, paying attention to the details,

being very connected and playing for one another. They have all embraced the idea, “As I grow as a person, I’ll grow as a basketball player.” When you were hired in the spring of 2018, both of you spoke at length about the importance of building the right culture for your programs. What elements of your respective team cultures do you feel provided the foundation for the success Longwood basketball is now experiencing?

RT: Collective responsibility is the one

that runs through everything for us. It’s about more than the individual. You do need the individual to continue to grow. For us, that’s certainly the “Empowered Women” path our athletes are on in everything they do: in basketball, in the classroom, their personal lives, their commitment to growing. But collective responsibility is about caring about this place, caring about where they are, caring about their teammates and each SPRING 2021



GA: Excellence and grit—those are the first two characteristics we focus on. We talk a lot about competing. It’s not my quote, but I say it a lot: “Execution is the highest form of competition.” That is excellence: Executing at a high level and competing at a high level. Being able to do that requires a level of grit and toughness and perseverance through various types of adversity. We have not had a shortage of that this year, through Covid and injuries and stoppages and all the rest of it. For us, there has to be a fundamental understanding, respect and appreciation for what is required to strive for excellence. I think this group has really embraced that by trying to compete every single day both on and off the court.

are, how we’re handling it—I know I walk out of the room with something new to think about, a new way of looking at everything. Both of us have coached each other on the “joy” part and reminded each other of the path that takes. If you have somebody next door who’s trying to do the same thing you’re doing and is rooting for your success at the same time they’re fighting for theirs, that’s really valuable. It’s also not an opportunity men’s and women’s basketball coaches always get, simply because of proximity to each other on campus. Being right across the hall from each other, we’ve just developed and strengthened a natural interest in each other’s programs that’s helped us, too.



Mike Kropf ’14

other in a way that when every single person does that, special things can follow for the group.

THIS YEAR’S TEAM SPECIFICALLY PLAYS AND PRACTICES WITH A immersed in our teams, but LOT OF JOY, WHICH REALLY IS when we can take those moments to hear from each other A KEY VALUE OF OURS … .’ about what our current challenges

You’re on the road, and you’re about to play in a tournament game, and you’re still writing the paper the night before or the day of a tournament game. That’s part of excellence, and it’s part of grit and toughness—to fight through and continue to strive to be the best you can be in everything, not just basketball. Given the fact that you’ve both had similar paths in building your programs at Longwood, and your offices are right across the hall from each other in Tabb Hall, do you feel you’ve contributed in any way to each other’s success?

RT: Definitely. I think it’s the couch

talks in Griff’s office. We’re both

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GA: It’s been really neat because we both started at the same time. In some ways, it feels like we’re on parallel journeys. We both went through early struggles trying to turn programs around, and we’ve both faced other similar struggles at one time or another. The other thing is that, even though we don’t get to know each other’s players as closely as our own, we develop relationships with them just being around each other, sharing facilities, sharing a hallway. My daughter, who’s 6, has been able to look up to their players and talk about DayDay [Tra’Dayja Smith] and some of the other women. It’s been a lot of fun for us to follow them this year and cheer from afar.

Mike Kropf ’14



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What’s Cookin’

Business graduate reimagines the school cafeteria


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Courtesy of Adam Russo ’07

qual parts restaurateur, savvy marketer and back-to-basics foodie, ADAM RUSSO ’07 invites you to forget everything you thought you knew about school cafeterias. Actually, it’s more like he’s insisting you do that. Ask Russo about his job running the Prince William County Schools (PWCS) food service, and you’ll unleash an avalanche of ideas and innovations that tell the story of what he’s brought to his got him something to eat, and then I went award-winning operation. to the walk-in cooler and cried. It made me Russo, who started working in his famrealize there was a lot of work to be done.” ily’s restaurants when he was 6 and took After two years in Norfolk, Russo spent over running the operation when he was a two years in the Hanover County schools senior at Longwood, says he knew nothing and then signed on in 2017 with PWCS. about how meals got onto cafeteria trays With 90,000 students and 101 schools when he applied for his first job with a and centers, it’s the second-largest school school system in 2013. At that time, it food-service operation in the state and the had been six 30th-largest in the months since country, he said. You can’t be hungry he and his Russo’s initial to learn if you’re family sold their lack of experience restaurants. is likely one of just plain hungry.’ Fortunately, the the reasons he’s — ADAM RUSSO ’07 job was with the risen to the top Norfolk schools, and Russo’s future boss so quickly in his new career. Here’s why: was familiar with the quality of the restauHe runs a school food service on the same rants his family had owned in the area. principles that made his family’s restaurants All it took for Russo to realize he’d successful, mixed with a generous helping landed in the perfect second career was an of what he learned about management and marketing at Longwood. encounter with a Norfolk first-grader. For Russo, it all starts with good-tasting, “One day I had lunch with a first-gradnutritious food, with minimal processer,” said Russo, who had a young son ing and cooked from scratch whenever at home and wasn’t surprised when the possible. (He even has a list of banned strawberries on the tray ended up all over ingredients.) the young student’s white school-uniform When PWCS cafeterias serve dinner shirt. “Then I saw that same young man rolls, shortcake or other baked goods, they several days later with the same shirt on, come straight out of school ovens. There’s with strawberries still smeared across it, fresh fruit and a Panera-esque specialty and he was so hungry he was shaking. salad offered every day. Hamburgers are In Norfolk, more than 80 percent of the made from beef with just three added students are on free or reduced lunch. I ingredients—salt, pepper and garlic. had no idea poverty existed like that. We

Adam Russo ’07 often has lunch with students.

As proud as he is of the food, Russo gets even more excited about the other aspects of his job: starting new programs; providing excellent customer service; building relationships with principals, teachers and families; professionally branding his operation; and giving his 1,000 staff members training and advancement opportunities.

Russo’s way of doing things has resulted in numerous accolades for PWCS, including FoodService Director magazine’s 2020 Operation of the Year award and the 2021 Food Achievement Management Excellence Silver Leadership Award. Most of all, however, Russo is focused on the vital role proper nutrition plays in education. “You can’t be hungry to learn if you’re just plain hungry,” he often says. “We have to ensure that we are serving the proper fuel for our scholars.” Pre-pandemic, in a normal day, he and his staff served 95,000 breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks to their “guests,” as they refer to students. When Covid-19 hit last spring, Russo had to find alternate ways to provide the nourishment students need to concentrate and learn. He started out like most schools, with individual breakfasts and lunches, but then he had a better idea. He switched to providing weekly bulkstyle grocery kits to supplement families’ own grocery shopping. The kits include whole grains, protein, vegetables, fruit and milk. “Here’s a whole loaf of bread, a bag of oranges, a bag of apples, a gallon of milk,” said Russo, adding that one week’s kit included pre-cooked spicy beef, locally sourced tortilla chips, cheese and cherry tomatoes. “We’re feeding 20,000 to 30,000 kids every day. We’re able to give them so much more nutrition this way.” —S.B.

1970s Barbara Thurston Pittman ’72, a retired educator and a member of the Dinwiddie County School Board since 2012, was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association in November 2020 as one of two Regional School Board Members of the Year. Pittman retired in 2010 after serving 38 years as a school principal, teacher, counselor and coach in the Dinwiddie County schools. The Virginia School Boards Association is a voluntary, nonpartisan organization of Virginia school boards that promotes excellence in public education. Kathryn Starke ’72, M.S. ’09, has published two books. A Touchdown in Reading: An Educator’s Guide for Literacy Instruction was released in October 2020. The Perfect Blend, a contemporary romance novel, was published January 2021. Margaret Webb Thomas ’72 recently retired as the voter registrar and director of elections for Buckingham County after serving in that capacity for 28 years. Rebecca Rigsby Massie ’77 has been teaching art for 44 years at Louisa County High School.

Kathryn Laffey ’78 joined WhitbeckBennett, a national family law firm specializing in family, special education and mental health law, as a managing partner in November 2020. She will lead the Delaware practice of the firm, which is based in Wilmington. Laffey specializes in all areas of Family Court practice: divorce, custody and visitation, adoption, guardianship, termination of parental rights, support, and protection from abuse. She also is a trained family law mediator and parenting coordinator. Before joining WhitbeckBennett, Laffey operated her law practice, Kelleher & Laffey, for more than 35 years. She has been voted by her peers as one of the top five attorneys in Delaware in family law and divorce. She received her J.D. from Notre Dame law school and earned her undergraduate degree in social work from Longwood.

Hoops coach scores 300 career wins at Arlington school BOBBY DOBSON ’89, coach of the boys basketball team at Washington-Liberty High School in Arlington, Virginia, is something of an anomaly: He’s not that focused on winning. Asked not too long ago how many career wins he’d amassed since signing on as the coach at Washington-Liberty in 1993-94, he told a reporter for the Sun Gazette newspapers: “I have no idea. I don’t keep track.” That reporter apparently checked the stats and let Dobson know he was within three games of reaching 300 wins. Dobson’s reaction: “That’s nice. It’s good for our program.” The 300th win came on Jan. 19, when the Washington-Liberty Generals defeated the Herndon Hornets 57-40. What matters more to Dobson than reaching that milestone is what he and the game of basketball can do for the young men he coaches. “I had a former player tell someone during a presentation that I was one of the most influential people in his life, along with his grandmother,” Dobson said. “I really appreciated that because the players are why I coach. It’s special when they say how much they appreciate you. I never wanted to coach for personal awards.” Dobson played basketball for Longwood when it was a Division II program. As a senior, he started all 27 games, leading the team in assists with 136 and steals with 109. He averaged 6.3 points and 2.1 rebounds per contest. The position at WashingtonLiberty is only his second since earning his degree in sociology. After 27 seasons, he says, “I still love it.”

Longwood’s 1 Hour a Month program is an ongoing volunteer experience designed for alumni and friends of Longwood who enjoy creating and sharing digital stories. Volunteers create and share stories through photos and respond to topic prompts asking for advice and reflections of about four to six sentences. You’ll be rewarded with Longwood swag depending on your level of participation. Find out more at longwood.edu/alumni/1-hour-a-month. SPRING 2021

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1980s Tom DeWitt ’80 is the author of Evil Walks Among Us, a novel about a secret government program created to incarcerate the nation’s worst criminals in a virtual reality world. This virtual prison offers substantial costs savings to taxpayers and appears to be the “perfect solution,” but there’s more to it than meets the eye, and those trying to expose the truth find themselves embroiled in politics and murder. DeWitt is the co-founder and executive vice president of SNVC, a small business providing information technology services to the federal government and commercial businesses. He currently serves on the advisory board for Longwood’s College of Business and Economics and is a former member of the university’s Board of Visitors. All-American golfer Charlaine Coetzee Hirst ’95 (left) told those attending a ceremony honoring former golf coach Dr. Barbara Smith (right): ‘She gave us our start in college golf, and many of us have gone on to golf careers.’

Elaine Lassiter ’83 is the executive director of the Youth Development Center (YDC) in Winchester, Virginia. Appointed to the position in October 2020, Lassiter said she is “thrilled” to be helping the YDC achieve its mission of fostering physical, academic and individual growth for youth in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. She spent the majority of her career with Fairfax County’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court before retiring in 2014—but retirement didn’t last long. She soon signed on as director of the 20W Court Services Unit in Warrenton, which helps young people in the juvenile court system grow into successful adults. “Over the 30-some years I worked with the court system, all those experiences are all rolled up in this one position [at YDC]—working with kids, my supervisory experience, working in the community,” Lassiter told the Winchester Star newspaper. “That’s why I’m excited about this position.” Mike Rowe ’85 was named a member of the board of directors for VCU Health Community (continued on Page 28)

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Charlaine Coetzee Hirst ’95 was among the Longwood alumnae who gathered on campus in November 2020 to honor former Longwood women’s golf coach Dr. Barbara Smith with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on the site of the former Longwood Golf Course. Led by the fourtime All-American Hirst, a collection of former players raised funds for the plaque to honor their trailblazing coach. Hirst shared with the crowd Smith’s impact on her career as a professional golfer and her life overall. “All the core values you go through life with, that is Dr. Smith,” said Hirst. “That’s what she gave us as college players. She lived those values, so we were able to see that in action. It was important to me and the former players to come back to campus, see Dr. Smith and just share how much she means to us.”


Duty Calls

Alums in the Virginia National Guard help provide security for Biden inauguration


Courtesy of Anthony Caputo ’17

ue to Covid-19 precautions, the usual inauguration crowd was missing from President Joe Biden’s swearing-in ceremony—but at least eight Longwood alumni were there for the historic occasion. They were among the reported 25,000 National Guard troops providing security for the event, said 1st Lt. Anthony Caputo ’17, who confirmed he knew of seven other Longwood graduates in the Virginia National Guard who were activated for the assignment. “Our primary responsibility was to support the Capitol Police in their effort to maintain security and safety at the Capitol Complex,” said 1st Lt. Daniel Parrish ’17, who worked as a platoon leader for about 20 days during, before and after the inauguration. 1st Lt. Daniel Glass ’17 served a total of 23 days, 14 as a battle captain on staff helping to coordinate the efforts

1st Lt. Daniel Glass (left), 1st Lt. Anthony Caputo and 1st Lt. Daniel Parrish, all members of the Class of 2017, joined the Virginia National Guard while they were students at Longwood.

We all have lives that we had to put on of the many units in the downtown hold [when we were activated]. To have Washington, D.C., area. Caputo, who that support on a mission made things a had already worked 30 days and was still little easier.” (When they’re not serving on active duty as of February, served as a as guardsmen, Parrish is chief operations commander of a security force. officer for Cedar “It was Creek Defense; humbling Caputo and Glass to oversee I am always proud are senior analysts the peaceful to put my uniform at the Pentagon.) transfer of power,” Glass said he said Caputo. “It on when the had served 10 of was the first time commonwealth or the previous 12 in my career that I the country calls.’ months on active felt I was supportduty as part of ing a truly worthy — DANIEL GLASS ’17 Virginia’s response cause that had to the Covid-19 pandemic, requiring him direct impact on my country.” to put his job and his graduate studies in Parrish said he was grateful for the cybersecurity on hold several times. Servsupport he and other Guard members ing his country and being part of history received from the D.C. community. makes it all worth it, he said. “Everyone there was kind and wel“I am always proud to put my uniform coming to the National Guardsmen. on when the commonwealth or the country calls,” he said. “Living through this historic moment and seeing it with my own eyes is something I’ll never forget.” Parrish added that two weeks after the inauguration the experience really hadn’t sunk in yet. “Mostly I was just proud of my soldiers. They were positive and professional.” Caputo, Glass and Parrish received ROTC scholarships while at Longwood and were commissioned as officers into the National Guard when they graduated, though they had joined the Guard when they were students. “I joined to serve my country and to give back to my community,” said Parrish. Mission accomplished. —S.B. SPRING 2021

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(continued from Page 26)

Memorial Hospital in South Hill, Virginia. He is the vice president of BCC Mortgage Solutions and a resident of Clarksville, Virginia. Rowe started out as a bank teller while attending Longwood and is still helping people with their banking needs. “I still love it. The local bank is where you really get to know your customers, help the local economy and give back to the community,” Rowe said.

1990s Teresa Bowles Reynolds ’96 was named by Gov. Ralph Northam to the Virginia Board of Social Work. Reynolds is the social work program coordinator and director of field education for the bachelor’s degree program in social work at Longwood, where she earned her undergraduate degree in social work. Her master’s in social work is from VCU. She lives in Cumberland County with her husband and two daughters. Lynda Halliday ’97 has worked in professional theatre since 1974 and has taught theatre classes in California, Japan, Wisconsin, Virginia and at the Trillium School for Performing Arts in Lewisburg, West Virginia. She earned her BFA from Longwood. Colleen McCrink Margiloff ’97 was one of the organizers behind Operation Pass the Gravy, an initiative based in Rye, New York, that provided 800 meals to those in need this past holiday season. Margiloff, former rector and current member of Longwood’s Board of Visitors, and co-organizer Lynn Halpern worked with volunteers to prepare and deliver nearly 300 meals on Thanksgiving and more than 500 meals on Christmas Eve. Those receiving the meals included homebound elderly, men and women living in shelters, teens aged out of the foster care system, and families across Westchester, New York, Stamford, Connecticut, and New York City. MyRye.com quoted Margiloff as saying, “It cannot be stated enough that little things add up, and did it ever on Christmas Eve!” She told the many volunteers, “Your time and love were felt by someone who didn’t know where their meal was going to come from on a rainy, cold and lonely (for many) Christmas Eve. You did that. You were their light.”

2000s Kristie Helmick Proctor ’04 is the executive director of the Virginia Rural Center in Richmond. The center hosted the annual Governor’s Summit on Rural Prosperity, which was held in October and in a virtual format this year. The center advocates for broadband Internet access across the state, a resource unavailable to half a million Virginians. Proctor, who (continued on Page 29)

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Thinking Through Design. Nakia Shelton ’05 is an assistant professor of strategic communication in High Point University’s Nido R. Qubein School of Communication. She brings 15 years of experience as a designer and design manager in the public and private sectors to the position at High Point, her first in higher education. She previously was a senior graphic design manager at Radford University, where she earned her Master of Fine Arts in design thinking. “By integrating and imparting my industry experience, I hope to provide real-world context to the subject matter through hands-on, interactive learning.” Alumnus applies technical expertise, management skills and Native American heritage in his Navy job MICHAEL BROWN ’02 brings significant technical expertise and management skills to his position as a branch head in the Naval Service Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD). But that’s not all he brings to the division. He’s also a member of the Patawomeck Indian Tribe, one of Virginia’s 11 recognized tribes, qualifying him to serve as the NSWCDD Native American Indian and Alaska Native (NAIAN) Special Emphasis Program manager.

As branch head of computing integration and analysis for Dahlgren’s Strategic and Computing Systems Department, Brown leads multidisciplinary scientists, engineers and technical professionals who provide the development and integration of innovative computing solutions for the fleet. As the NAIAN Special Emphasis Program manager, he helps to address and remove barriers employees encounter while also striving to foster improvements. “It is an honor to support the workforce and the sailor in developing technological advancements for our combat systems,” said Brown, who received a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Longwood and went on to earn a master’s degree in engineering from North Carolina State University. “I also feel privileged to represent my Native American heritage and connect with other Native Americans at Dahlgren— something I haven’t been able to do very easily before. I want to champion a healthy work environment where employees feel free to share challenges and concerns without fear of reprisal.”


On the Job

(continued from Page 28)

Science grads put their degrees to work at lab analyzing Covid-19 tests





hen Sandra Ghali ’19 applied for a lab position at GENETWORx, a Glen Allen company that processes thousands of Covid-19 tests daily, she left a few people shaking their heads. “Didn’t I already interview you?” the recruiter wanted to know. And the head of the lab did a double take at her in-person interview. “I thought you looked familiar,” he told her after Sandra explained that her sister, 2020 Longwood graduate Sarah Ghali, had just been through the same interview process. Both young women—Sarah, a chemistry graduate, and Sandra, a biology graduate—were offered jobs as medical technologists in the GENETWORx lab, and they aren’t the only Longwood alums working there. Sandra knows of at least six other Longwood graduates who are employed at the company. Sarah can take a little of the credit for that. When she found out about the GENETWORx opportunity, she shared the news with her sister and several other Longwood alums, including Josh Walker, a 2020 chemistry graduate who also was hired. Walker and the Ghali sisters are relying on experience they gained in Longwood’s laboratories in their new jobs, which involve handling various aspects of processing PCR (polymerase chain reaction) Covid-19 tests. Samples that come into GENETWORx go through multiple steps to extract DNA, purify the DNA and then analyze the results to determine if the test is positive or negative. The three technologists estimate that GENETWORx processes an average of 30,000 tests each day. Sarah Ghali, who participated in Longwood’s PRISM summer research program when she was a student, said she landed the job because of the education she got One of the first at Longwood. questions they asked “My degree and my experience in me in the interview a laboratory— was to describe my those were the only things that experience with mattered,” she research.’ said. “In the labs —JOSH WALKER ’20 at Longwood, you had to be careful and conscious of what you were doing at every step.” Walker, who also participated in PRISM, agreed that Longwood provided excellent preparation. “The lab experience I got at Longwood definitely helped me. One of the first questions they asked me in the interview was to describe my experience with research.” The three say their work at GENETWORx makes them feel good about helping people coping with the pandemic. “It’s a result that can impact their life, their livelihood and their future,” said Sarah Ghali. —S.B.

lives in Hanover County, also leads the center’s efforts to promote economic prosperity in rural areas. In 2021, she will oversee the launch of the Virginia Rural Leaders Institute, whose goal is to attract, develop and retain leaders in the state’s rural communities. Ryan Halpin ’07 was named a partner at RSM US, LLP, a leading national CPA firm. Halpin provides audit and assurance services to startup and high-growth clients in the technology industry. Carlyle Powell ’08 was appointed as an assistant vice president in the supervision, regulation and credit department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Virginia, with responsibility for overseeing a portfolio of community banks as well as a team that conducts supervisory events. Powell joined the Richmond Fed in 2018 as a senior manager in the department’s Strategic Advisory Group. She previously worked at the Chicago Fed as a senior manager and financial institution central point of contact.

2010s Jordan Miles ’10 was named by Gov. Ralph Northam to the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission, which was created by the 1999 General Assembly to promote the economic growth and development of formerly tobaccodependent communities. Miles represents District Four on the Buckingham County Board of Supervisors and is director of nutrition and transportation for Piedmont Senior Resources Area Agency on Aging. BJ Harlow ’12 joined Long & Foster Real Estate’s Grove office in Richmond in November. Prior to his career in real estate, he taught for eight years in the Henrico County schools.

Lauren Irby ’12 is the manager of public relations and community outreach at Delaware Electric Cooperative. After graduating from Longwood, Irby (continued on Page 30)


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Giving and Receiving Alumni, student participation triple in Work Shadow Program


hen more than 80 alums volunteer to spend a day showing current Longwood students the ropes of their jobs—and when the places they work include Ernst & Young, NatGeo Studios and the British embassy in Washington, D.C.—you know you’ve got an amazing network of caring and generous alumni. More than 100 Longwood students got an inside look at a variety of organizations and careers over winter break in the alumni office’s most successful Work Shadow Program ever, held virtually due to the pandemic. Participation by students and alumni more than tripled over last year. Among the student participants were two seniors originally from West Africa who were matched with Erin Weyen ’10, projects/corporate services manager for

international relations.” Amber Litchford ’17, assistant director of alumni engagement, said the Work Shadow Program is the first step in a larger initiative whose next step, a MicroBHARANI SANKAR ’16 Internship Program, is currently being piloted. A grant will provide compensation to interns. Alumni who can provide placements are currently being sought. For alums participating in the Work Shadow Program, passing along the kind of help they received as students is a common motivation. “This was an easy way to give back and also share with the Longwood community what else is out there,” said Bharani Sankar ’16, who hosted two

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worked in Indianapolis and Richmond, making her way back to Farmville in 2014 to work at Longwood and then the Southside Electric Cooperative, where she won awards for her publications and digital storytelling. She started her new position in Delaware in December 2019. “I loved coming back to Farmville…,” she told the Farmville Herald. “For a small town, it really has so much to offer; there is never a lack of fun things to do.” Daniel Hughes ’13 was promoted to director at BGS Consulting, a finance and accountingfocused professional services firm that provides interim and project-based, technical, strategic and direct-hire resources to clients across all industries and sizes. In his new role, he will lead client engagements; design, oversee and execute the firm’s growth strategy; and lead the recruiting and sales teams at the firm. Christopher Nettemeyer ’13 joined RSM US, LLP, as a senior associate in their risk consulting group overseeing the financial and IT controls for large-scale Microsoft D365 implementations. RSM US is an audit, tax and consulting firm. It is the fifth-largest accounting firm in the United States. Patrick O’Hare ’13 earned his Master of Science in information systems from VCU in December 2020. Matthew Dickason ’14 joined BGS Consulting, a finance and accounting-focused professional services firm, as a senior consultant providing accounting and financial support to the firm’s wide range of clients.

[This] is just one small thing I can do to make a big impact on Longwood students.’


the Welsh government within the British Embassy in Washington. “Our North American office just so happens to have three women of various African descent in the U.S. and Canada,” said Weyen. “I was able to coordinate a group Zoom session on what lessons and experiences my Welsh government colleagues could offer my work shadows in diplomacy, trade and

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students at Rheaply, Inc., a resource management and exchange platform based in Chicago. “It was amazing to see students come in and make longlasting relationships with members of our company.” Weyen’s inspiration to participate came from the teachings of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, who is often quoted as saying, “Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd”—“Do the little things in life.” “[This] is just one small thing I can do to make a big impact on Longwood students,” Weyen said. —S.B.

Jason Wong


Travis Lyles ’15 was named the Washington Post’s Instagram editor effective Feb. 1. In that position, he’ll be leading one of the newsroom’s key growth initiatives on its fastest-growing social platform, according to a story on the Post website. Lyles joined the Post in 2017, and since (continued on Page 32)


In Memoriam 1930s

Agnes Thompson Rowlett ’37 Feb. 6, 2021 Leah Marsh Cockrell ’39 Dec. 24, 2020



Jacqueline Robins Soles ’50 Dec. 21, 2020 Marjorie Boswick Michael ’50 Jan. 14, 2021 Catherine Johnston Wilck ’50 Jan. 4, 2021 Romine Mahood Overbey ’51 Jan. 20, 2021 Panzie Parham Pruett ’51 Jan. 14, 2021 Olga Rodriguez-Bello ’52 Dec. 20, 2020 Ann Gray Cook ’53 Jan. 5, 2021 Sarah McElroy Harvie ’53 Jan. 2, 2021 Shirley Fishback Crosen ’56 Oct. 28, 2020 Lou Pomeroy Eberhard ’57 Jan. 31, 2021 Berle Stephenson Hudson ’58 Nov. 17, 2020 Jacquelyn Trader Kavanaugh ’58 Nov. 23, 2020 Joan Brooker Pollard ’59 Jan. 4, 2021 Virlinda Joyner Snyder ’59 Jan. 6, 2021


Myra M. Brush ’60 Dec. 18, 2020 Sylvia Roper Custer ’60 Dec. 15, 2020 Carolyn Elliott Holden ’62 Nov. 15, 2020 Agnes Massie Weaver ’62 Dec. 1, 2020 Dorothy Womack Tate ’63 Dec. 31, 2020 Sandra Ashworth Bollinger ’64 Jan. 31, 2021 Kathleen Slusher Moore ’65 Jan. 21, 2021 Judith Crum Raymore ’65 Nov. 25, 2020 Elizabeth Ann Fox Casada ’67 Oct. 29, 2020 Sandra Lee Long ’67 Dec. 5, 2020


Patricia Ann Herring ’71 Dec. 8, 2020 Pamela Jean Hart ’75 Nov. 28, 2020 Marsha Glenn Poland ’75 Dec. 24, 2020


Ronald Vernon Dunn ’82 Dec. 30, 2020 Michael Floyd Dehooge ’86 Dec. 14, 2020 Sharon Moynihan Schreiber ’88 Dec. 13, 2020


Kimberly Jeter Mitchell ’90 Jan. 15, 2021 John Michael Monihan ’96 Nov. 13, 2020 Claudia Patricia Blauvelt ’98 Dec. 26, 2020


William Clark Chase ’18 Nov. 29, 2020


Robert Alan Mason Nov. 19, 2020 Lola M. Miller Oct. 31, 2020 Kenneth Smith Nov. 20, 2020 William O. Tucker Dec. 21, 2020 Catherine Whiting Jan. 1, 2021

Send us your class notes If you have any news from your professional or personal life, we’d love to hear about it. Please email the details to us at alumni@longwood.edu. Remember to give us your full name, the year you graduated and the degree you received.

Courtesy of TJ Wengert ’20

Josephine Beatty Chadwick ’45 Jan. 24, 2021 Florence Godwin Robbins ’46 Dec. 24, 2020 Ann Ridley Bain ’47 Feb. 6, 2021 Doris May Anstey ’47 Dec. 2, 2020 Katherine Bridgforth Hooker ’47 Jan. 2, 2021 Constance Pemberton Gallagher ’48 Dec. 30, 2020 Hilda Abernathy Laubach ’48 Nov. 23, 2020 Jackie Hancock Shearin ’48 Jan. 15, 2021 Edna Agnes Taylor ’48 Jan. 22, 2021

That Just Happened. TJ Wengert ’20 enjoyed an unforgettable moment in his broadcasting career during the Feb. 11 Longwood men’s basketball game against Gardner-Webb. Wengert was one of the announcers for the game, which ended with a tie-breaking half-court shot with just 4.7 seconds left to play. His quote—“What have my eyes seen?!”—blanketed phones as ESPN pushed out an alert about the amazing play that handed Longwood a 57-54 win. By day, Wengert is director of broadcasts and media relations for the Tri-City Chili Peppers baseball team. SPRING 2021



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then has been running the organization’s Instagram account. Under his leadership, the account has expanded from 675,000 followers to more than 4.4 million, the Post story said. Molly Moomau ’15, M.S. ’18, and Josh Jacobs ’14 were married Oct. 10, 2020.

Jackson Clark ’17 is an assistant director for the Seahawks athletics program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Clark, who was on the Longwood wrestling team for two years and then played rugby, said that being part of a group that “has a mission of helping and giving back is a special thing. We are a tight-knit community that really strives to impact the lives of studentathletes, the university and the community.” Tim Bova ’18 is a physical education teacher at Beulah and Bellwood elementary schools in Chesterfield County, Virginia. He’s been teaching in the county for three years.

2020s Darby Lutz ’20 contributed graphic design and illustration to Lillie Mae Found her School, a children’s book by Rita Odom Moseley. Moseley was a student in the Prince Edward County Public Schools when they closed in 1959 and remained closed for five years rather than desegregate. The book, which is equal parts history book, storybook, activity book and coloring book, tells the story of Lillie Mae, who was very unhappy until she found her school. Also contributing illustration and design were current Longwood students Chablise Hammie ’21, Taylor Stoneking ’21 and Angeli Leong ’21. 32 I


Beautiful and Confident. Sommer Jones ’07, an innovation coach at Hopewell High School, is the founder and sponsor of Curls & Character, a student club at the school. The group was created to help teenage girls feel comfortable in their own skin and love themselves. “There was an overwhelming need for female mentorship and connection as these young ladies navigated through the emotional ups and downs of their highschool journey,” said Jones. “We are not just a club or a program; we are family.” The club has been on hiatus this year due to Covid-19, but Jones hopes to be back “full force” next year.

Learn MORE

go.longwood.edu/ alumniweekend

Alumni V I RT UA L

Weekend June 4-6, 2021





Nonprofit Organization U.S. POSTAGE PAID PPCO 201 High Street Farmville, VA 23909


In Gear

Open lockers in the Farmville fire station shave precious seconds off the time it takes firefighters to suit up and get to the scene. Half of the members of the Farmville Fire Department, which is officially celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, are Longwood alums or current students who help respond to more than 1,200 calls per year. Story on Page 16.

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