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Meet this year’s Alumni Award winners | Spreading the word about civil rights history A M A GA ZIN E FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY

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The Class of 2021 takes off toward the future


Taking Motherhood Seriously

On the Cover The Class of 2021 is off to a great start, with impressive graduate schools and challenging careers in their fields. Read more on Page 8.

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COVER STORY

… And They’re Off Armed with their degrees, the Class of 2021 races toward the future

President’s Message

Students’ research receives national recognition

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Standouts This year’s Alumni Award winners would never get lost in the crowd

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Spreading the Word More people are listening to the Moton Museum’s powerful message


State of Wonder

A Legendary Life

Examining the experiences of returning Black military veterans

Alaska is the setting for a revamped Brock Experiences course

New book tells the story of Longwood basketball great Jerome Kersey

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The Home Front

On Point 3 Lancer Update 6 Class Notes 23

In Memoriam 29

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South Carolina honors alum whose ‘superpower’ is discerning young artists’ talent

Event guides students in selecting professional attire

He’s Got ESP

Dressing to Impress

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It’s A Small World Former roommates reunite ‘on the other side of the world’

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longwood A MAGAZINE FOR ALUMNI AND FRIENDS OF LONGWOOD UNIVERSITY

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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 Architecture Richmond, Greg Deal/Greenwood (South Carolina) Index-Journal, Harron Fells ’90, Jennifer Hill/Déjà vu Photography, Laura Hoyle, Mike Kropf ’14, Justin Pope, Dr. Phillip Poplin, Portland Trail Blazers, Jason Snyder, Dorian Vallejo Advisory Board Wade Edwards, Larissa Smith, Courtney Hodges, Victoria Kindon, David Locascio, Justin Pope Board of Visitors Lucia Anna “Pia” Trigiani, Rector, Alexandria Eileen Mathes Anderson ’83, Glen Allen Katharine McKeown Bond ’98, Mechanicsville Fabiola Aguilar Carter, Richmond Michael A. Evans, Richmond Steven P. Gould, Danville David H. Hallock Jr., Richmond Nadine Marsh-Carter, Richmond Larry I. Palmer, Richmond Polly H. Raible ’91, Midlothian Ricshawn Adkins Roane, Great Falls N.H. “Cookie” Scott ’72, Midlothian Shawn L. Smith ’92, Richmond Editorial offices for Longwood magazine are maintained at the Office of University Marketing, Communications and Engagement, 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.

FROM TH E   PR E SID E N T IT IS ALWAYS A JOY WITH THE SUMMER ISSUE OF LONGWOOD MAGAZINE to read some of the compelling stories about where our new graduates are heading, and the lives and careers of citizen leadership they are beginning. The stories of these members of the Class of 2021 remind me always of the great breadth of ways Longwood students contribute to the world, and the reason all of us here have made higher education our life’s work. By noting faculty and other mentors they “couldn’t have done it without,” the stories of these graduates remind us that nothing about their success is inevitable. They came to Longwood with promise and commitment. But they got where they are—and where they are heading—with the essential help of many hands. That includes donors who made it possible through financial aid for them to attend Longwood. It includes coaches, advisors, counselors and staff who helped them navigate through the challenges of their time here. And, as many of them note, it prominently includes faculty who inspired and engaged them, took extra time to help them along, encouraged them and believed in them. I’m sure all of you, as I do, think often of people whose selflessness and commitment helped us consequentially along in our own lives. Longwood is a remarkable place that, at its heart, matches young people capable of doing great good in the world with devoted teachers who can transform the course of their lives. During the challenges of the past year, so many people at Longwood stepped up to ensure this urgent work continued. The not-so-hidden blessing of the year was that it reminded all of us how much of that connection is rooted in personal togetherness—and solidified for all time our appreciation for the importance of that interconnected, on-campus experience. When you support Longwood, you are helping make possible the experiences that these wonderful graduates consider transformative and that they credit with providing the foundation for their first powerful steps as citizen leaders. They and their classmates are already doing great things in the world, with much more to come. Thank you for supporting us in that work—never more urgent in the world than now. My best wishes,

To request this magazine in alternate format (large print, braille, audio, etc.), please contact Longwood Disability Resources, 434-395-2391; TRS: 711. Published August 2021

W. Taylor Reveley IV President

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ONPOINT

Taking Motherhood Seriously Students’ research on the impact of mothering styles receives national recognition

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pair of senior Longwood biology majors were chosen to participate in one of the most prestigious research showcases in the country during the spring semester. Kathryn Bates’ and Dori Tignor’s multigenerational study of environmental and hereditary effects of motherhood within a rodent population was exhibited at the exclusive Posters on the Hill event in April, “We were which showlooking for spatial Dori and Kathryn’s cased work by awareness, memjust 60 undergrad- work this year ory, anxiety and uate researchers resiliency in rats was nothing short from across the who have different of amazing.’ country. experiences— —DR. ADAM FRANSSEN Bates ’21 and good moms and Tignor ’21, both bad moms; enmembers of the Cormier Honors College, riched and nonenriched environments,” worked in Dr. Adam Franssen’s neurobiol- said Bates. ogy lab—Tignor starting in her freshman “The idea was to study four or five year and Bates as a sophomore. Their regenerations to reveal some observations search looks at the effects of how mother about how mothers pass on genes, and rats care for their pups and how environhow learning and memory are linked,” mental factors can contribute to enhanced said Tignor. behavior over several generations. Posters on the Hill is put on annually Put simply, what are the long-term by the federal Council on Undergraduate effects of motherhood and environmenResearch, which supports and promotes tal enrichment on developing rat pups? high-level mentored undergraduate And do those effects get passed on to the research, scholarship and creative inquiry. “Dori and Kathryn’s work this year was next generation?

Tuition remains the same for 2021-22 academic year MAKING GOOD ON LONGWOOD’S COMMITMENT to affordability, the Board of Visitors (the university’s governing body) decided at their most recent meeting that there would be no increase in tuition for 2021-22, making this the second time in three years that Longwood’s budget has not included a tuition increase.

Dori Tignor ’21 (left) and Kathryn Bates ’21 studied how differences in mothering affected memory, anxiety and resiliency in offspring.

Longwood’s average percentage increase in tuition over recent years is one of the very lowest among Virginia public universities—an average of 3 percent per year since 2014. There will be a small increase of 3.14 percent in the comprehensive fee, which funds auxiliary operations including health services, student ac-

nothing short of amazing,” said Franssen, associate professor of biology. “They dealt with an incredible amount of adversity stemming from the pandemic, but approached it all with grace and a can-do attitude. They plowed through almost two semesters worth of work in just one, which is crazy. I’m proud they have been recognized by the Council on Undergraduate Research and know they are going on to great careers in research.” Their favorite test: an X-shaped structure with two “safe” sides with high walls and a dark corner, and two “danger” sides where the bravest rats can venture into the open. By measuring how much time each rodent spends in the “danger” areas vs. the “safe” spots, Bates and Tignor measured how much anxiety they were able to deal with. That data was then compared with the environment and type of mother that the pup experienced.

tivities, career services and recreation opportunities. The 2021-22 academic year includes substantial support for the financial needs of students, addressing a need for families impacted by Covid-19. More than $17.5 million will be given to students in financial support this academic year.

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ONPOINT

The Home Front

Research examines the experiences of returning Black military veterans

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r. Eric Hodges has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for his research project focusing on the combat and homecoming experiences of Black military veterans in the United States. Hodges’ research project, titled “Civil War, Civil Rights, and Civic Duty: The African American Experience of War,” will utilize various humanities sources such as historical documents, works of literature and public history to facil-

Dr. Erica BrownMeredith ’95 (above); Ian Danielsen (below).

Jobs Well Done Social work faculty receive state, national awards

T itate a discussion on four themes: patriotism, race in war, homecoming and the role of Black women in combat. The grant was one of 11 projects funded through the NEH’s Dialogues on the Experience of War program and among the 225 humanities projects funded across the country totaling $24 million. Hodges is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. “I hope that sharing the experiences of local Black combat veterans will provide a more complete understanding of our local history and that it will help the veterans contextualize their own experiences,” said Hodges, assistant professor of political philosophy and U.S. government and coordinator of Longwood’s homeland security program. Given Prince Edward County’s history and proximity to Civil War battles and the struggle for civil rights, including the recent Black Lives Matter movement, he believes this is the perfect place to study the experiences of Black combat veterans. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the NEH.

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wo social work faculty members were recognized this spring for their work to help others. Ian Danielsen, an assistant professor who has spent years advocating for children—as a resource for police investigators, a legislative advocate and a courtroom expert—was recognized by the Virginia Office of the Attorney General with its Unsung Hero award in April. Dr. Erica Brown-Meredith ’95, assistant professor of social work, in June was named the winner of the 2021 Outstanding Advising Program Award by NACADA, a global professional organization for faculty, full-time advisors and administrators whose responsibilities include academic advising. “It’s so important that we shine a brighter light on issues surrounding child abuse and take steps to prevent its occurrence,” said Danielsen, who for many years was the director of the Greater Richmond SCAN Child Advocacy Center. “These are issues that we discuss in my classroom every day.” Unsung Hero awards recognize those who show a deep commitment to victim services. Eleven award recipients were honored this year. Brown-Meredith was recognized for her role as co-creator of CLASP (Collaborating with Lancers for Academic Success Program) and her continuing work with the program. CLASP was designed with a focus on first-generation students, transfer students, racial/ethnic minority students and low-income students.


ONPOINT

Courtesy of Dr. Phillip Poplin

State of Wonder Full of surprises, Alaska is the setting for a Brock Experiences course revamped for maximum impact

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ven today Alaska lives up to its nickname—The Last Frontier—and a frontier is a perfect place for one of Longwood’s Brock Experiences, which take students throughout America to explore unresolved issues in-depth and in person. Registration will open this fall for the summer 2022 offering of the two-week course. “Alaska is full of surprises that students get to explore and reflect on as they go through this course,” said Dr. Phillip Poplin, professor of mathematics, who leads the course with Dr. JoEllen Pederson, associate professor of sociology. During their time in Alaska, students will meet with and learn from native Alaskans, park service employees, wildlife fish and game managers, jewelers and even

chefs—all of whom have unique perspectives on natural resources. “It’s very exciting and rewarding to watch students understand these great complexities,” said Poplin, who first led the Alaska Brock Experience in 2017. “There are questions that are being asked every day: Who has access to valuable salmon fishing grounds? Who is able to hunt game? Who can mine for precious gemstones on public lands? What rights do oil companies have vs. indigenous Alaskans? We are going to explore all of these issues.” The Alaska Brock Experience has been an integral part of the lineup of courses for the past six years. Poplin and Pederson redesigned it last year to be even more impactful in 2022. Visit go.longwood.edu/ brockexperiences for more information.

Inquiring Minds. Longwood devotes two days each academic year to featuring student research and creative projects. This spring’s Student Showcase for Research and Creative Inquiry, which was held virtually, was one of the biggest ever. Topics ranged from the benefits of a “greener” alternative lawn to the pitfalls for young athletes specializing in a single sport.

students presented projects FRESHMEN

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New programs designed to meet student needs ENSURING ITS ACADEMIC programs are relevant to the needs of students is a priority for Longwood, and several new programs, most of them set to launch this fall, are proof of that. The new programs include a major plus several minors and concentrations for undergraduates and, for graduate students, two tracks in the MBA program. New programs getting started this fall include the following: • A major in early childhood education that is being offered through New College Institute in Martinsville.

• Minors in race and ethnic studies and in geographic information science (mapping and analyzing spatial data). • Concentrations in pre-med (biology), biochemistry (chemistry) and water resources (integrated environmental science). The new tracks in the MBA program rolled out in June: marketing and data analytics. The MBA program recently was revamped to an online, modular format, a strategy that has boosted enrollment. For more information, go to online.longwood.edu/programs/.

unique individual presentation views on the Showcase website

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LANCERUPDATE

The Life of a Legend Upcoming biography details the inspiring story of Longwood basketball great Jerome Kersey

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Courtesy of Portland Trail Blazers

ow many teenagers living in small towns across America dream of having a professional basketball career? Too many to count. How many actually make it? Heartbreakingly few. But there was no heartbreak for young Jerome Kersey. He was one of the few, and his path to the NBA ran straight down the court in Longwood’s Willett Hall. Kersey’s inspiring story—from humble upbringing in Clarksville to All-American from a Division II college to decorated 17-year NBA veteran—will soon be told in a new book that has been decades in the making. It is fitting that, much like the victories Kersey helped put up on the Willett scoreboard, his biography, titled Jerome Kersey: Overcoming the Odds, is the result of teamwork. It all began in the late 1990s as a passion project for Hoke Currie, who, as Longwood’s sports information director from 1979-97, told the world about Kersey’s stellar college career. Currie interviewed dozens of people about Kersey’s life, then turned the materials over to one of Kersey’s classmates, Rohn Brown ’84, in 2016. Brown, the current president of the Lancer Club Advisory Board, rounded out the book team with prominent Portland sportswriter Kerry Eggers, who covered Kersey during his playing days with the Portland Trail Blazers, and Wayne Dementi, president of Dementi Milestone Publishing in Manakin Sabot. What the four had in common was an admiration not only for what Kersey accomplished on the court but also who he was as a person. Readers of the book will find that the 80-plus people Currie and Eggers interviewed felt the same way. “When you start talking to his friends and family, you start hearing some of the same things over and over—things

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(bottom left) Kersey played for 6 different NBA teams during his 17-year pro career, including 11 for the Portland Trail Blazers. (above) The release date for Jerome Kersey: Overcoming the Odds is set for October. (right) A two-time All-American at Longwood, Kersey also was the 1984 Division II Virginia Player of the Year as a senior. (below) ‘When you stop working on your game, you stop succeeding.’ That was just one piece of advice Kersey offered graduates in his 2009 Commencement address.

that get you excited about telling Jerome’s story,” said Brown. “It didn’t make a difference whether it was somebody who knew him when he was a kid or played with him in the NBA. They described the same person, the same traits. His fame and fortune did not change him.” Among those providing personal recollections about Kersey, who died in 2015 of a blood clot that led to a pulmonary embolism, is a large Longwood contingent, including former teammates Kenny Ford ’82, Lonnie Lewis ’86 and Mitch Walker ’84; longtime friend Kevin Brandon ’82; and university administrators, including the late Franklin Grant ’80. Now, with Currie and his wife, Nancy, providing the financing, and Brown keeping everything on track, the biography is on the cusp of crossing the finish line, with the release date projected for October. Proceeds from the sale of Jerome Kersey: Overcoming the Odds will go to two charitable causes: The Jerome Kersey Foundation and Longwood’s Jerome Kersey ’84 Men’s Basketball Scholarship Fund. The book is currently available for preorder directly from Dementi Milestone Publishing at www.dementibooks.com. An e-book format will also be available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble at the time of release. 


Best in Class—and on the Field, Too. There may be an area where Carrie Reaver ’21 doesn’t excel, but it certainly isn’t athletics or academics. The 2021 co-valedictorian, who graduated with a perfect 4.0 grade-point average in Spanish and biology, was a four-year starter on the women’s soccer team and a threetime All-Big South selection. Among her senior year honors were Big South Women’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Higher and Higher Student-athletes score with record-setting Year and a Big South academics this spring Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence. ven in a year full of challenges, Longwood’s 200-plus student-athletes continued to raise For more about the bar in the classroom. Bolstered by record-setting grade-point Reaver and averages from five teams, Longwood athlether life after ics achieved a school-record cumulative GPA of 3.26 for the spring 2021 semester, solidifying the department’s best Longwood, academic performance in its 15-year Division I era. The 3.26 GPA breaks the previous semester record of see her profile 3.14, set in the fall of 2018 and matched in the fall of 2019. As part of the remarkable spring 2021 performance, men’s in the Class of basketball, men’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s lacrosse 2021 feature on and softball all set program highs for team GPAs. In total, a record 11 of Longwood’s 14 teams surpassed a 3.00 GPA. Page 12. Leading the way were men’s and women’s tennis, which

Mike Kropf ’14

Members of the Class of 2021 earning diplomas in May included former Longwood Director of Tennis Jhonnatan Medina Alvarez (left) and his players Crystal Nzewi and Rosen Naydenov. 

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recorded the highest GPAs of all Longwood teams for a second straight semester. Also notable: Men’s soccer earned its highest GPA of the Division I era, with nearly half of its roster named to the Dean’s List or President’s List. And women’s lacrosse also earned its highest team GPA of the D-I era. “The academic outcomes from this spring and this year as a whole are staggering, but I’m most impressed by the ability of our teams to overcome significant adversity to achieve that,” said Longwood athletics director Michelle Meadows, referring to the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Armed with their Longwood degrees, the Class of 2021 races toward the possibilities that lie ahead

The world is a big, beautiful and sometimes scary place. But Longwood’s latest graduates don’t seem a bit scared—just excited, energized and exuding the confidence they’ve gained from their time at Longwood. Spend a few minutes with these members of the Class of 2021 for a boost of optimism and a dose of hope for the future.

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TAIYA JARRETT HOMETOWN: Wilmington, North Carolina MAJOR: Communication studies

I LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Master’s degree in journalism, Georgetown University BYLINES AND DEADLINES: Jarrett did two internships, both for magazines based in Richmond: RVA Magazine and Virginia Living. Her duties included writing articles, conducting interviews for podcasts, contributing to social media and working on special sections. WHO NEEDS DOWN TIME?: With her work as an RA (resident assistant), chapter president of the Public Relations Student Society of America, opinions editor for The Rotunda and writing consultant for the Writing Center, plus classes and internships, Jarrett powered through her senior year. COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Isabel Fay, communication studies faculty. “Dr. Fay has been a huge champion of mine throughout my college career. She allowed me to tap into my potential as a student and a citizen leader.”


This fall I will be moving to the hub of the political world: Washington, D.C.!’

—TAIYA JARRETT

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RYAN CROW HOMETOWN: Woodbridge MAJOR: Computer Science

I LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Software developer, MetroStar Systems, Reston JUMPSTARTING A CAREER: “Over the course of three years working in User Support Services and as a student support technician, I have spent countless hours learning how to succeed in the IT world while being mentored by an awesome staff.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Robert Marmorstein, computer science faculty. “He has gone above and beyond, spending hours of his own time to assist me and other students with projects or understanding difficult concepts.”

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My Longwood experience has been full of adventure, especially my study abroad experience in Thailand.”

—CASEY WILLIAMS

CASEY WILLIAMS HOMETOWN: Suffolk MAJOR: Business administration

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Operations manager, Target Upstream Distribution Center, Suffolk; MBA program, Longwood SHE’S THE BOSS: Her responsibilities with Target include managing a team of up to 50 employees and the timely handling of 30,000-40,000 cartons of freight every day. YOU GO, GIRL: Williams broke the decade-old women’s 5K school record and was the first Longwood women’s cross country runner to finish All-Conference in the Big South Conference era. COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Brooke Craig, cross country coach. “She was always just a text or phone call away, and always encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.”

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SHERAE McRAE *

JAKE JANSEN

HOMETOWN: Portsmouth PROGRAM: Master of Science in special education LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Special education teacher, Knox County (Tennessee) Schools BIG PLANS: “After a few years of teaching, I’d like to move into working with school boards and then at the state and national levels to make sure special education laws are being improved and providing families with the services they need.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: The entire special education faculty. “They have always been motivating me and providing me with the resources I need.” *McRae received her bachelor’s degree from Longwood in 2020.

HOMETOWN: Gainesville MAJOR: Criminology and criminal justice

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Critical care registered nurse, Duke University Health System THE CALL OF THE WILD: Rosenbaum was an officer in the Outdoor Club all four years at Longwood, culminating with three semesters as president. “My most amazing experience was a rafting trip. We did a 24-mile route on the Gauley River in West Virginia.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: JoAnn Davis, nursing faculty. “I met her my sophomore year and continued to go to her for advice or just to chat about life.”

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Postgraduate internship, Northwestern Mutual (investments, insurance, financial advising), Reston SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS (BAT INCLUDED): “Baseball taught me how to be part of something bigger than your individual self … and to rise against the odds.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Bennie Waller, business faculty. “He inspired me to invest on my own and dive into the function of the markets. I wouldn’t have decided to pursue this career opportunity [in finance] without his guidance.”

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HOMETOWN: Chesterfield MAJOR: Nursing

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LAUREN TILLMAN (left) HOMETOWN: Vienna MAJOR: History

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Full-time internship, Eisenhower National Historic Site, Gettsyburg, Pennsylvania COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. David Coles, history faculty. “He made sure I’m prepared for life after graduation. In fact, he was the one who told me about the Eisenhower internship. All the professors here really wanted me to succeed.”

KRISTEN TILLMAN (right) HOMETOWN: Vienna MAJOR: History

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Full-time internship, AmeriCorps Interpretive Trail Project, Sailor’s Creek Battlefield State Park, Rice COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. David Coles, history faculty. “He not only was one of my favorite professors, but he went out of his way to provide me with opportunities for work outside of school.”

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EMMANUEL DIALA HOMETOWN: Baltimore, Maryland MAJOR: Business administration

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: A job or internship in marketing CHECKING ALL THE BOXES: Director of communications, webmaster, marketing intern and on-air personality are just a few of the experiences that Diala’s extensive campus involvement added to his resume. TRUE-BLUE FAMILY: “Regardless of what you look like or what you believe, we are all part of the Longwood family.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Jonathan Page, director of multicultural affairs. “He’s taught me it is OK to fail, as long as I get back up and keep trying.”

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CARRIE REAVER HOMETOWN: Thurmont MAJORS: Biology and Spanish

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Research associate, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City; applying to medical school BLAME IT ON BUENOS AIRES: In summer 2019, Reaver spent five weeks working as a pre-medical intern and taking an intensive medical Spanish class at a hospital in Argentina. “The experience truly changed my life. It affirmed my passion for medicine and opened my eyes to health disparities and inequalities both abroad and in the U.S.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Bjoern Ludwar, biology faculty. “My development as a student and scientist is largely due to his mentorship as well as his contagious curiosity and passion for research.”


The sky is the limit when it comes to Longwood. Anything is attainable— you just have to prove how much you want it.”

—JACE FRANK

JACE FRANK HOMETOWN: Virginia Beach MAJOR: Theatre

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Owner and audiovisual technician, Equity Audio Visual ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT: “I started my business when I was a senior. It provides audiovisual assistance to clients, including schools, churches and event planners—everything from setting up and running events to equipment repairs.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Theatre department faculty, and events and ceremonies staff. “The theatre faculty gave me great advice and leadership opportunities. And my bosses in events and ceremonies trusted me with assignments that allowed me to grow tremendously as well as start my business.”

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CARRIE BAILEY HOMETOWN: Brunswick County MAJOR: Therapeutic recreation

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Recreational therapist, Central State (psychiatric) Hospital, Petersburg FROM QUIET TO CONFIDENT: “When I arrived on campus as a freshman, I was super quiet and reserved. By joining organizations such as The Rotunda and Alpha Lambda Delta [academic honor society], I was able to hold multiple leadership positions that helped me grow—and I have been able to carry these skills over to my internship and my job.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Ann Bailey, HARK faculty. “Dr. Bailey was my lifeline. I honestly don’t know how I would have made it without her guidance.”

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ARLEIGH WOOD HOMETOWN: Tappahannock MAJOR: Biology

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Pharm.D./ Ph.D. program, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER: Wood says playing softball for four years was “the most defining experience of my life. I learned more about accountability, discipline and commitment than I could ever have imagined, and I will carry these lessons with me throughout my life.” COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Dr. Amorette Barber, biology faculty. “I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Barber soon after she received a patent for a chimeric T cell receptor, which has potential as a cancer treatment. This was a dream for someone aspiring to a career in immunology/ infectious disease research.”

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MANDI ANDERSEN HOMETOWN: Chesterfield MAJOR: Elementary and middle school education

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Sixthgrade math teacher at Bailey Bridge Middle School in Chesterfield County; special education master’s degree program, Longwood. THIRD TIME’S A CHARM: Both of Andersen’s parents are Longwood alums: Her dad, Chris, graduated in 1991, and her mom, Karyn, in 1992. WORLD TRAVELER: From an Alternative Break in Puerto Rico to study abroad in Spain and South Africa, Andersen seriously expanded her horizons. COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Jessi Znosko, senior director, Cormier Honors College. “She really pays attention to each individual student.”


Getting involved is, hands down, the best thing I ever decided to do.” —JAMAL ALLEN

JAMAL ALLEN HOMETOWN: Amherst County MAJOR: Criminology and criminal justice

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LIFE AFTER LONGWOOD: Assistant to the general manager, Lynchburg Hillcats; Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School A STRIKE-ING COMPARISON: Growing up, Allen watched his dad make the calls for amateur baseball games. He hopes he can do as good a job as a professional umpire. COULDN’T HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT: Larry Robertson, assistant vice president for student development. “Larry was there with me every step of the way. He will go out of his way for any and every student to make sure they’re OK.”

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This year’s Alumni Award winners would never get lost in the crowd

BY MATTHEW McWILLIAMS | PORTRAITS BY DORIAN VALLEJO

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IN A YEAR of upheaval across the nation, people turned to the things that matter most: family, education, their passions. That’s especially true for Longwood’s seven 2021 Alumni Award winners. Whether it’s outstanding professional achievement, exemplary examples of citizen leadership or an investment in the Alma Mater, these seven have doubled down on what they do best. The Longwood Alumni Awards annually honor graduates and friends for their outstanding achievements and service to others. The recipients are selected by the Alumni Board.


Wilma Register Sharp ’66 PAGE COOK AXSON McGAUGHY LIFETIME LOYALTY AWARD

A quiet but impactful presence

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ithout the educations we received, we wouldn’t be the people we are today.” That one, central idea has driven Wilma Register Sharp and her husband, Marc, throughout their lives to be relentlessly dedicated to education, supporting students at every turn. Naturally quiet and reserved, Sharp prefers to work outside the spotlight, where she feels she can do the most good. That may be writing a recommendation for Williamsburg-area students hoping to go to Longwood. Or it could take the form of establishing scholarships. Or endowing the chair of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars. Or helping

pave the way for beautiful new residence halls on campus so students can enjoy the same type of in-person Longwood experience that was so transformative for her. She does it because she and her husband have seen it work, not only in their lives but also in those closest to them. “Our daughter really became who she could be at Longwood,” she said. “She entered with some challenges, but Longwood was wonderful for her. She got a fantastic education, and the professors recognized what an amazing young woman she was. That same story can be told by a lot of Longwood students. When I attended, Longwood certainly helped me, and, without scholarships, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.” The Lifetime Loyalty Award is awarded periodically to honor alumni who actively volunteer in alumni or university affairs; who provide continued support in expanding the influence and prestige of the university; and who consecutively include Longwood in their philanthropic giving. “I was absolutely stunned to find out I was receiving the award,” said Sharp. “It means a great deal that your alma mater would think enough of the work you do, even if it’s quiet and in the background, to recognize you.”

Dr. Jeff Abernathy ’85 DISTINGUISHED PROFESSIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Facing a challenge head-on

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ne thought rises to the top of Dr. Jeff Abernathy’s mind each morning when he arrives at his Alma College office: How can he build his vision of the school during these turbulent times for higher education? “Our top priority has been the health and safety of our students,” said Abernathy, who is Alma’s president, referencing the pandemic. “Within that, the big question was, how will we thrive beyond this enormous challenge? The pressure is on for all small liberal arts colleges like Alma. We are constantly working to find new ways to keep folks engaged and communicate about our values.” The challenges of Covid notwithstanding, higher education has undergone significant upheaval in the 11 years since Abernathy was hired to lead the small college of 1,400 students. Despite that changing landscape, Alma has continued to grow, making it clear why Abernathy was chosen for an award that

recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves as role models and as significant contributors to their professions. A $125 million fundraising campaign for Alma is nearly complete. More than 20 new majors have been added to the academic offerings. New buildings dot the campus, and other facilities have been modernized. At the same time, Abernathy has established himself as a tireless advocate for the value of a liberal arts education—something that he came to appreciate when he was an English major at Longwood. “There’s a lot of connective tissue between Longwood and Alma,” he said. “I had amazing professors like Dr. Martha Cook and Dr. Mike Lund who showed me what it might be like to have a life in education. Alma feels like home, like Longwood felt like home to me. That feeling is rooted in the kind of education both places offer—the liberal arts matter because it is transformational at its heart.” SUMMER 2021

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Lynne Rabil ’75

DISTINGUISHED CITIZEN LEADER ALUMNI AWARD

Family ties it all together

I’m glad to get to know [the students] and to see the effect that I’ve had on their lives.’ —DR. RAY GASKINS

Dr. Ray Gaskins

HONORARY ALUMNI AWARD

Rooting for students

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he common thread in Lynne Rabil’s life: family. It’s intertwined with every aspect of her life, including running the family business, Hub’s Virginia Peanuts. She learned the operation from her father and mother, then took the helm and is now working alongside her family as the company completes a major expansion. Family also is the foundation of her relationship with her alma mater. Rabil’s grandmother lived in Farmville, and her mother attended Longwood. Hub’s Virginia Peanuts—better known across the state and nation as Hub’s Nuts—has its longtime home and roots in Rabil’s hometown of Sedley. Recently, though, she and her family expanded the business to a larger space in nearby Franklin to increase storage capacities, add a new peanut production line and, fulfilling a longtime dream of Rabil’s, open a market. The Hub’s Vine, a market and restaurant right on busy Route 58, opened in 2020. It offers everything from handcrafted gifts to deli meats and cheeses, and—of course—Hub’s Nuts. “We can’t believe the community reaction to The Hub’s Vine,” said Rabil. “We’re seeing people that we haven’t seen since before the pandemic, laughing and smiling over good food and great products. It’s been a labor of love, and I couldn’t have done it without my family and key employees.” “It was truly a surprise and an honor,” Rabil said after learning she’d received the most prestigious award bestowed by the Alumni Association. “Longwood has played such a consistent part in my life, from my earliest memories to my own college years to my involvement on the Alumni Board, and I hope it will for many years to come.”

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istorian. Philanthropist. Fan. In 2015, Dr. Ray Gaskins, a retired Hampden-Sydney mathematics professor, gave a gift that has changed the lives of several Longwood students: more than $1 million in scholarship funding that covers full tuition costs for two students—one a student-athlete on the men’s basketball team, which he roots for at nearly every home game, and another for a future teacher. “It’s a real honor to receive this award. Longwood treats me really well,” he said. “I get to meet the students who get the scholarships that I’ve established over here and sometimes even share a meal with them. I’m glad to get to know them and to see the effect that I’ve had on their lives.” The Honorary Alumni Award is presented to nonalumni who have given extraordinary service to Longwood and

I hope my receiving this award helps amplify the voices of children impacted by the foster care system.’ — CAROLINE NEAL ’05

who reflect the values of a true citizen leader. Since that initial major donation— which was the largest philanthropic gift by a Prince Edward County resident in Longwood’s history—Gaskins has continued to find ways to be involved in Longwood. A regular at Greenwood Library, athletics competitions and around Farmville, he is often seen wearing a Longwood hat and shirt. Gaskins graduated from Virginia Tech in 1972 and taught for nearly 30 years at Hampden-Sydney. His family connections with Longwood run deep, however. His mother, Bessie M. Land, briefly attended Longwood—then State Teachers College—in the mid-1920s but was forced to withdraw to care for her family. Through his philanthropy, his mother’s legacy has never been far from Gaskins’ mind, and he feels now an even deeper connection as an honorary alumnus of Longwood.


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Caroline Neal ’05

HUMANITARIAN ALUMNI AWARD

A voice for children

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child alone on his birthday. A teenager desperate for a laptop to study. Four little girls who needed beds so they could move back with their mother. These are the problems that Caroline Neal solves every day through her nonprofit Worthdays, which helps meet the needs of kids who have been impacted by foster care—a system she came to know as a social worker after she left Longwood. “The foster care system is broken across the nation, and we know how to make it better,” she said. “I would get so frustrated because we know the issues but are not moving to fix them.” So she did something about it. She started Worthdays in 2016 on a simple premise: that every child deserves to be celebrated on their birthday. Drawing on a team of volunteers and some community donations, she started packing personalized birthday boxes for children in the foster care system. More than a thousand boxes later, birthdays are still an important piece of the work that Neal leads, but she has expanded to fill other needs—and has built a community anxious to help. For example, the young man who had aged out of foster care but needed a laptop to complete his college work. With community support, she purchased the laptop and sent it off with a note saying she hoped he would do big things in the world. The Humanitarian Award goes to alums who demonstrate a selfless dedication to service for the good of others. It’s hard to think of anyone more deserving than Neal. “I hope my receiving this award helps amplify the voices of children impacted by the foster care system. They deserve so much.”

Todd Dyer ’93 NANCY B. SHELTON SPIRITED CONTRIBUTOR AWARD

The true meaning of winning

f there’s a familiar face on campus, it’s Todd Dyer’s. With his easy smile and natural enthusiasm, he’s hard to miss—and has been for more than 30 years. He’s the 28-year women’s soccer head coach (a program he established in 1994), the longest-tenured coach at the university and, in many ways, the cornerstone of the athletics department. On the field, his women’s soccer teams have had incredible success: 20 winning seasons and individual player accolades too numerous to list. Off the field, Dyer is a tireless advocate for Longwood students, a friend to colleagues and a salesman for the kind of life he has found in Farmville. “Longwood means everything to me,” he said. “I’m a Longwood lifer. This campus is as much a part of my life as my family, and we have all grown deep roots here. I think about the soccer players that I’ve been lucky enough to coach. Just to be connected to all of those lives is very special.” In 2018, to celebrate the 25th year of the women’s soccer program, many of Dyer’s players returned to campus to recognize his impact on their lives. “For them to come back and to know that you made their time on campus meaningful is more precious than all the wins,” Dyer said. The Spirited Contributor Award honors an alum who is a current or retired Longwood faculty or staff member for going above and beyond their job duties to selflessly serve the university. “It’s an honor to receive this award, especially because it bears Nancy Shelton’s name,” said Dyer. “To be mentioned next to her is very special, because her legacy on this campus is one of such devotion and service.”

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Kelly McAnally ’10

ROTUNDA OUTSTANDING YOUNG ALUMNI AWARD

Passion is par for the course

elly McAnally first picked up a golf club when she was 8 years old. Since then, her love affair with the game of golf has led from playing on the Longwood women’s golf team to now being the chief operations officer at First Tee, a nonprofit that works with children to get them involved in the sport. In between, there have been several stops: tournament director on the Web.com tour, sponsorship manager at an LPGA event and tournament director for one of the highest attended LPGA events in history that eventually became the first professional golf tournament to be hosted by a Native American tribe on the PGA or LPGA Tour. “My experience on the golf team, especially learning from Coach Barbara Smith and as a student in the College of Business and Economics really sent me down this career path that has been so rewarding. My internship as a student was with the PGA Tour during the Championship at Hazeltine in 2009, and that was very inspiring,” McAnally said. At First Tee, McAnally oversees three golf courses, managing the operations and turf-management teams and working closely with the youth-management team. “I couldn’t think of a better way to start each day than being a part of this community that I’m so passionate about,” she said. “I think a lot about being a mentor and role model, and I try every day to inspire that passion in other people.” The Young Alumni Award is presented annually to an alum under 40 years old who has demonstrated excellence in their career or in citizen leadership. SUMMER 2021

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Spreading More and more people are listening to the Moton Museum’s message about Virginia’s civil rights history and pioneer Barbara Johns BY LAUREN WHITTINGTON

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ameron Patterson ’10, M.S. ’17, the executive director of the Robert Russa Moton Museum, was elated when he got the news in mid-December that Barbara Johns, the 16-year-old student who led a 1951 student strike to protest the substandard conditions at all-Black R.R. Moton High School, had been chosen to be immortalized with a bronze statue in the U.S. Capitol. For the past four years, Patterson has worked to advance Moton’s mission of preserving and interpreting the history of civil rights in education in Prince Edward County and to promote a dialogue that empowers citizens within a constitutional democracy. With the museum marking its 20th anniversary this year, we sat down with him to talk about Barbara Johns as a civil rights hero who has ascended into the national spotlight and Moton’s role as Virginia’s only civil rights museum.

A new historical marker on the grounds of the Moton Museum is one of 20 in the state highlighting Black history. Find out more about how it came to Farmville in the timeline on Page 22.

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TELLIN G THE P RIN CE EDWA RD CO U N TY CIV I L R IG H TS STORY APRIL 2001 Moton Museum opens on the 50th anniversary of the student strike.

JULY 2008 The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, which prominently features Barbara Johns, is installed on the grounds of the state capitol in Richmond.


the Word Barbara Rose Johns

First give us a little history about your path to Farmville. How did you come to work at the Moton Museum? I came to Farmville in the fall of 2005 to attend Longwood. I quickly learned that on a small campus it was easy to get connected. I was fortunate to get involved in student government and served as student body president my senior year. Through my experience in student government, I connected with individuals in the local community, such as Lacy Ward Jr., founding executive director of the museum, and Patti Cooper-Jones, who represents Farmville on the [Prince Edward County] Board of Supervisors. That community involvement experience led me to take the course

Civil Rights in Prince Edward taught by Dr. Larissa Smith. It was through that class that I had my first introduction to the Moton Museum. Growing up an hour away in Lynchburg, I had no idea of the history of this county and the connection it had to the Brown v. Board of Education case. I had no idea the county closed the public schools for five years. But I came to realize I had a lot of connections to this history. There were people I went to church with and worked summer jobs with who were impacted by the schools’ closing. After I graduated in 2010, I worked in a number of roles at Longwood. Then, in 2017, I was hired as managing director of the museum. This

2013 The Moton Museum’s permanent exhibition, The Moton School Story: Children of Courage, is completed. The exhibition includes the renovated high-school auditorium, a film experience and six galleries covering Prince Edward County’s struggle over school desegregation from 1951 to 1964.

JULY 2015 A formal partnership is finalized by the Moton Museum’s Board of Trustees and Longwood University.

FEBRUARY 2017 The Virginia General Assembly passes legislation designating April 23 as Barbara Rose Johns Day.

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was a few years after Moton and Longwood finalized their affiliation. I saw it as a great opportunity to build the relationship between the two institutions and to find ways to make that affiliation matter. I’ve been here ever since, and, in August 2020, I was promoted to executive director.

450 students who went on strike with her and those impacted by the school closings. We are telling a story that is predominantly about young citizens and how they used the tools of democracy to help bring about change.

Architecture Richmond

What is the catalyst that has elevated the Moton story and Barbara Johns to a nationally known hero of the civil What is the most fulfilling aspect of rights movement over the past decade? your job at the museum? There have been a series of events that have driven this Some of the most meaningful work momentum, with her selection for a statue in the U.S. that happens here is when K-12 stuCapitol being the apex. I think the development of the dents tour the museum and we are museum helped to put this story into the hearts and able to use this history to get stuminds of more folks locally and expanded awareness for dents to think about things they want more Virginians. to change in their own communities. We have an award-winning permanent exhibition that We do what we call the strike actells this story. That’s important. We have seen a notable tivity as a way to get students to put increase in recognition at the themselves into Barbara’s shoes and state level, from the Civil Rights those of the stuMemorial in Richmond to the fordent committee When we tell Barbara mal designation of Barbara Rose planning their Johns’ story, … we are Johns Day by the General Assembly. strike. We ask telling a story that is The state office building that was them to identify once the headquarters of Harry F. an issue in their predominantly about Byrd Sr., who led the massive recommunities and young citizens and how sistance effort, is now named for Barto think about they used the tools of bara Johns and houses the Virginia the ways they attorney general’s office. To have that might solve it. democracy to help building carry the name of someone We work with bring about change.’ who was fighting for all the good students from —CAMERON PATTERSON ’10, M.S. ’17 that the Byrd Machine was fighting Cumberland against—that is a hopeful signal of County a lot, progress and how we move forward. and they talk often about the issue of food insecurity as something they Why is it significant that Barbara Johns is being honored want to change. After this experience in the U.S. Capitol? at Moton, students begin to recognize As a commonwealth, we are sending a powerful message the differences that exist within their with this statue as one of only two representing Virginia. I own schools. It really does open up just love the thought of schoolchildren and young visitors students’ eyes in a meaningful way. walking through the U.S. Capitol and being able to look up at a 16-year-old Barbara Johns. Hopefully they will want to It’s been more than a year since learn more about what happened in Prince Edward CounPresident Reveley’s message to ty, and they will be inspired to go back to their communicampus announcing the creation of ties and help create change. the Equity Action Task Force. As a When we tell Barbara Johns’ story, we talk about the co-chair of that effort, can you give importance of collective action as we tell the story of the us an update?

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FEBRUARY 2017 A newly renovated state office building on the grounds of the state capitol is dedicated and named in honor of Barbara Johns.

DECEMBER 2020 The Commission for Historical Statues in the United States Capitol votes to replace Virginia’s Robert E. Lee statue at the U.S. Capitol with a statue of Barbara Johns.

We were charged with making recommendations to advance three goals: developing a process for addressing incidents of bias and racial discrimination, developing opportunities for every student to engage with Moton and Farmville’s civil rights history, and, lastly, proposing a series of conversations on campus. I think we can say Longwood has taken action and is moving in the right direction on all three. In August 2020, the task force released our recommendations, including the appointment of a dedicated Title VI coordinator and integrating a visit to Moton into the first-year coaching group experience for students. We now have a Title VI coordinator in place, and we have adopted a Title VI policy. There is a committee working alongside the coordinator on the development of a process for addressing incidents of racial discrimination. We are still working on other things, such as increasing faculty knowledge about our local history and helping them find ways to incorporate Moton into the classroom. The good thing is that this equity action work wasn’t done in a silo. This fall we are going to have a strategic plan from the University Diversity Council focused on advancing diversity that will address what Longwood can do in the longer term. I’ve been around Longwood now for more than 15 years. What gives me hope as it relates to this equity action work is that there’s engagement, from the board down. That demonstrates there is institutional commitment, and we have to show each day through our actions that we are committed to this work.

FEBRUARY 2021 A Barbara Johns historical marker is placed along Griffin Boulevard beside the Moton Museum. More than 50 fourth-graders from Fairfax County nominated Johns for the honor as part of the state’s first Black History Month Historical Marker Contest.


A lot of young people don’t feel the need to dress up. They’re more comfortable in jeans.’ —JEFFERY D. JACKSON ’90

Harron Fells ’90

Longwood Black Alumni Association Vice President Jeffery D. Jackson ’90 helps Bryce Fountain ’22, a business administration major, select clothing appropriate for an internship or job interview during the recent Suit It Up event at JCPenney in Richmond. Page 27

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CLASSNOTES

1950s Patricia Lynn Paddison Evans ’50 of Sandy Springs, Georgia, died Feb. 13, 2021. She was 92. Her obituary paints a vivid picture of her long life. Patricia met her future husband thanks to a little matchmaking by her mother. World War II veteran Carroll Evans was working his way through college at the Ashland Buick dealership and Esso station owned by Patricia’s father when her mother arranged for the young man to drive Patricia back to school at Longwood. The rest is history. They married a year after Patricia earned her degree in English, and she taught until the birth of their first child. She was no longer in a traditional classroom, but remained a teacher and learner the rest of her life. For example, to discourage her three children from cursing, she would tell them: “Stop and think about it. When you say a curse word, you are just proving that you cannot pick out the intelligent word that works.” She also loved to examine words she found particularly interesting, repeating them aloud a few times as she pondered their meanings. Patricia and Carroll celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in 2016, just a month before his death.

1960s Ann Ruckman Smith ’60, a retired elementary school teacher who continues to encourage others to read, was honored in October 2020 when Lakewood Manor, the retirement community where she lives in Richmond, dedicated the Ann R. Smith Library Center. Smith organized the large-print library at Lakewood, donating easierto-read large-print books to replace many of the library’s old books that were in very small print. She spends time in the library every day, ordering, processing and shelving books for the enjoyment of her fellow residents.

1980s

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Katherine Beale ’81 is one of three specialized consultants at Longwood’s Small Business Development Center who were added to the staff (continued on Page 26)

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CLARA KIDD MILLS ’61 (left) and her granddaughter MACEY MILLS ’19 enjoy sharing stories about their days at Longwood, even though nearly five decades separate their experiences. They actually have a lot of memories in common—among them CHI, Princeps and what it was like to live on campus (Clara was in “library hall,” across from the Rotunda, while Macey lived in ARC). “I’d always wanted to go to Longwood,” said Macey, who fell in love with campus at age 6 on a tour with her kindergarten class. She also fell in love with golf at an early age—she first picked up a club when she was 2—and, after a successful high-school career, was set on playing at

the college level. So it was “awesome” when Longwood recruited her—and all the more special because she’d made her grandmother “very proud.” These days Macey is working as an exercise physiologist in the cardiac rehabilitation unit at VCU Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill. She also completed her MBA in health care administration at Liberty University in October 2020. Clara, who was an education major and taught elementary school for many years in South Hill, stays busy as a committee member at Prospect United Methodist Church in Ebony and keeping tabs on her four grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.


CLASSNOTES

Extra Sharp Perception

South Carolina honors alumnus whose ‘superpower’ is discerning young artists’ talent—and helping them make the most of it

Jennifer Hill_DejaVu Photography

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may not have X-ray vision, but he is known for his “uncanny ability to see in other folks the things that they may not see themselves.” That’s what Mike Beckom wrote in nominating his colleague and former teacher for South Carolina’s Order of the Silver Crescent, the state’s highest civilian award, given for significant contributions, leadership, volunteerism and lifelong influence within a region or community. Adams received the award in April 2021. “He saw something in me, and I’m really glad he did,” added Beckom, speaking of his experience as Adams’ student in the commercial art program at Piedmont Technical College’s Greenwood campus. Beckom now teaches alongside Adams, director of the commercial art program since 2009. The two have worked together to build the program, their efforts rewarded in June 2019 with a chapter of Kappa Pi International Art Society, making PTC the first two-year school in the nation to belong to the organization. Adams is proud of that accomplishment, but it’s clear that helping his students overcome obstacles and realize their potential is what really makes him tick. “It’s just great to be able to have that kind of impact on their lives and see them go from what sometimes is an extremely shy and unassuming person to somebody who believes in themselves and is able to present and produce professional-quality work,” Adams told the HE HASN’T JUST TAUGHT Greenwood ME ABOUT EXPOSURES, Index-Journal. COMPOSITION AND “That never ceases to be PHOTOGRAPHY. HE’S rewarding. It’s TAUGHT ME TO CHASE always fun and MY DREAMS AND TO challenging NEVER GIVE UP.’ when you’ve got —LEXI KELLY somebody who comes in and you can see a raw talent, but they haven’t realized yet what they have. That happens a lot of times in the drawing classes.” Adams gathered a variety of experience along his path to PTC that undoubtedly helped make him such a good teacher. Shortly after receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography, printmaking and graphic design from Longwood, he went to work for a small advertising agency. From there, he worked ENDALL ADAMS ’81

for companies related to photography, created catalogs for a rug retailer and then put his management and art-related skills to work for a printing company. Lexi Kelly, one of Adams’ former students, described the impact of his influence in a letter supporting his nomination for the award. “Without photography, I would not be here right now and my life would not have meaning,” she said. “I have Kendall Adams to thank for that.” “He hasn’t just taught me about exposures, composition and photography. He’s taught me to chase my dreams and to never give up. He’s taught me that it is OK if I am afraid to do new things, but do them anyway with courage, strength and dignity.” —Sabrina Brown, with Greg Deal, Greenwood Index-Journal

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Banker’s Hours

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to help small business owners meet the challenges of Covid-19. Her work with Gavin’s House of Flowers in South Hill is just one example of the contributions she has made in that role. With events like weddings and proms being postponed or cancelled, 2020 was a challenging year for House of Flowers owner Gavin Honeycutt. But he credits Beale and the SBDC with helping him net a 10 percent increase in business in the face of that challenge. “After I started working with Katherine and the resources she provided, my phone started to ring again,” Honeycutt told the South Hill News-Progress. “Because of SBDC, I have a new vision for the future.” Beale signed on with the SBDC in May 2020. SBDC’s consulting services are provided free of charge.

Alum logs a 37-year career at Virginia’s fourth-oldest bank, then signs on for more after retirement

career in banking isn’t always perceived as the most exciting, but for JOHN HUDSON ’80 it has been filled with twists, turns and opportunities to stretch his creative wings. Starting out as a security guard, he worked 37 years at the Bank of Clarke County, rising through the ranks to teller, collections, lender and finally chief marketing officer—the bank’s first. Rather than working with an agency, as most banks do, Bank of Clarke County put all of its creative advertising work in Hudson’s hands, which actually had been trained to play the piano when he was a music major at Longwood. (Hudson also studied voice and was the first president of Longwood’s Mu Delta chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.) In his early marketing work, Hudson remembers creating advertisements on graph paper with Sharpies, then taking the plunge into computer-based graphic design when it came along. He also worked on the bank’s radio and television ads, where his music background came in handy in composing a jingle for the bank. Even after retiring at the end of 2020, Hudson continues to help carry out the bank’s mission as executive director of the institution’s newly formed charitable foundation. He has always been heavily involved in the bank’s charitable giving, and the foundation will provide more flexibility and growth in that area, he said. “Forming the foundation will allow us to grow the foundation’s assets and increase the pool of available funds each year. We truly believe in the philosophy that the better the communities, the better the bank,” Hudson said. He agreed to take on the foundation job as long as it wasn’t a full-time responsibility. “Been there—done that,” said Hudson. “I’m ready to pursue other interests that have been on the back burner.” One of those interests has been lingering back there for 45 years. “I walked into Farmville United Methodist Church the first Sunday I was in Farmville during my freshman year, which was 1976,” said Hudson. “My pastor, Rev. Marvin C. ‘Windy’ Cook from Duncan Memorial in Berryville had been transferred there. The first thing I see when I enter the sanctuary is the most beautiful stained-glass window I had ever seen. I took a picture of it and vowed I would paint it one day. “After many years of starting and Hudson’s painting of the stained glass window at stopping, I promised myself I would finish it. Farmville United Methodist Church And I did.”—Sabrina Brown

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WHERE IN THE WOOD? The Longwood community extends to the birds who feather their nests in custom houses on Brock Commons.

Tamara L. Brown ’89 is the executive dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of North Texas and a professor of psychology. Among her areas of scholarship is the history of Black sororities and fraternities, including “their dedication to combat discrimination and the lifelong family-like bonds they create.” In an article published on the University of North Texas website, Brown reflected on a speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention by Kamala Harris, who would go on to be elected vice president: “… Harris saluted seven women who ‘inspired us to pick up the torch and fight on.’ All but two of them, one of whom was her mother, belonged to Black sororities. Harris also mentioned her own Black sorority, saying: ‘Family is my beloved Alpha Kappa Alpha.’ Many Americans may have wondered why Harris would invoke sororities on such an occasion. But not me. Like her, I am a proud member of a Black sorority: Delta Sigma Theta, which I joined as a student at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. If I were in Harris’ shoes, accepting such an unprecedented leadership role, I, too, would have paid homage to my sorority as a way to thank those on whose shoulders I stand.”


CLASSNOTES

Dressing to Impress

1990s Kim Melnyk ’90 won the Democratic primary for the 84th House of Delegates District in June. A former elementary school teacher, Melnyk is currently vice chair of the Virginia Beach School Board. She and her husband own and operate Premier Millwork, a small manufacturing company.

Black Alumni Association and JCPenney steer students toward professional attire

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Harron Fells ’90

Harron Fells ’90

t’s said that you only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s why Longwood’s Black Alumni Association organized the Suit It Up event to help members of CLASP, a program for first-generation college students, get the attire they need to project the right image with prospecof shopping, students relaxed with bowltive employers and internship placeing and dinner at Uptown Alley courtesy ments. of the Longwood “A lot of Parents Council. It wasn’t necessarily young people The event was don’t feel the need organized by Dr. what you should wear, to dress up. They’re Erica Brown-Merbut how you can more comfortedith ’95, assistant expand your work able in jeans,” professor of said Jeffery D. social work, whose wardrobe.’ Jackson ’90, LBAA efforts to initiate — HARRON FELLS ’90 vice president it last year were and dean of student life at Cristo Rey derailed by Covid-19. LBAA members Richmond High School. “It’s a maturing also serve as mentors for the CLASP thing when you start to understand the program and raise money for a student importance of how you carry yourself emergency fund. and how you look.” JCPenney at Chesterfield Towne Center in Richmond partnered in the event, providing deep discounts and oneon-one guidance from experts in several departments. Harron Fells ’90, a photographer, musician and media designer, captured the students’ transformations. “It wasn’t necessarily what you should wear, but how you can expand your work wardrobe,” she said. Leading up to the event, LBAA members led career and professional readiness workshops for participants. After the day

Above: Abhi Thakar (left), general manager of the JCPenney at Chesterfield Towne Center in Richmond, and Jeffery D. Jackson ’90, Longwood Black Alumni Association vice president, worked together at the first Suit It Up event designed to help students find affordable professional clothing.

Maureen Stewart ’90 was promoted to assistant principal at Sunderland Elementary in the Calvert County (Maryland) Public Schools. She previously was dean and IEP facilitator at St. Leonard Elementary. In her career in Calvert County, she also has served in a variety of positions at several other elementary schools, including instructional assistant, teacher and dean. She earned her M.S. in elementary education from Old Dominion University.

Left: Dr. Erica Brown-Meredith ’95 and Samantha Nicholson ’23, a social work major.

Joseph E. Yaroszewski ’91 is the new senior credit officer for First Farmers and Merchants Bank based in Columbia, Tennessee. He brings to the position more than 20 years of banking experience managing the credit risk for the bank’s loan portfolio. Yaroszewski will also be responsible for working closely with the bank’s lending team, credit analysts and special asset areas. He  (continued on Page 28)

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CLASSNOTES

(continued from Page 27)

previously worked for BB&T/Trust Bank, Lexington State Bank, RBC and First Citizens Bank. He holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Dr. Erica Brown-Meredith ’95, assistant professor of social work at Longwood, was awarded the university’s Student-Faculty Recognition Award, annually given to one faculty member for professional excellence and service to students.

2000s Stacie Taylor ’01 was selected as the 2020-21 Hanover County Public Schools Teacher of the Year. She is the instructional technology resource teacher at Bell Creek Middle School in Mechanicsville and the Hanover County Online School. She has served students in the county for 18 years, first as a history teacher and, since 2012, in her current position. She had an especially impactful year, helping students in the new Online School and assisting with the implementation of the school division’s one-to-one Chromebook initiative. Dr. Quentin Ballard, Bell Creek’s principal, called Taylor “an amazing educator who has a heart for kids and is a cheerleader for high-quality blended instruction.”

Dr. Sarah Tanner-Anderson ’02, director of the educational leadership program at Longwood, received the university’s 2021 Graduate Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award. Tanner-Anderson will be on the ballot in Amelia County this November, vying for a seat on the school board, representing District 5. She is a 1999 graduate of Amelia County High School, where she also taught English for two years. She has a special interest in the Amelia County schools these days: Her son, William, is a second-grader at the elementary school. Kathryn Starke ’02, M.S. ’09, is the force behind Creative Minds Publications, an educational publishing company. “Now more than ever, our students need motivation and support in reading education,” she says, adding that the books published by her company “help to address the illiteracy (continued on Page 30)

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A Family Foundation. By just about any measure, the past year or so has been far from ordinary. But for the Dunn family, it’s been pretty much business as usual. They run the Dunn Foundation, created in 2006 by Dr. William Dunn ’91 (seated, right), a therapeutic recreation major who was captain of the men’s basketball team at Longwood. The foundation successfully completed its two signature events in 2020, giving away 535 bookbags filled with school supplies and 600 Thanksgiving turkeys plus sides to residents in the Washington, D.C., region, said Dunn. Those initiatives and others supported by donors including Booz Allen Also part of the Dunn Hamilton and Chick-fil-A have reached Foundation are Dunn’s wife, Dr. Valarie Dunn more than 2,000 people during the pan(third from left) and their children: Tahj demic, Dunn added. “Our mission is Dunn (left), Tay Jacobs, Tamir Jacobs, Taylor to change the world through giving. Dunn and Taevon Dunn (standing). If we all do a little bit, we can do a lot,” he said.


CLASSNOTES

It’s a Small World In Memoriam

TONY TASSA ’92 (right) and JAMES GROSS ’90, who were briefly roommates at Longwood and very active in the theatre program, are now both members of the faculty at American University of Sharjah (AUS), United Arab Emirates. Tassa and Gross crossed paths a couple of times after graduating from Longwood, most recently at AUS, “on the other side of the world,” said Tassa, who earned his MFA in acting at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and started the theatre program at AUS in 2008. He is a professor and performing arts coordinator, teaching acting, directing, playwriting and stage combat. Gross, an assistant professor, came to AUS in 2018, focusing on technical direction and design. He earned his MFA in design at Wayne State University.

1940s

Caralie Nelson Brown ’41 Feb. 27, 2021 Helen Wilson Cover ’45 April 18, 2021 Olive Bradshaw Crummett ’45 May 5, 2021 Lena Claiborne Smith ’45 May 2, 2021 Cornelia Hamilton Lahey ’49 Feb. 22, 2021

1950s

Patricia Lynn Paddison Evans ’50 Feb. 13, 2021 Harriet Ratchford Schach ’50 Feb. 23, 2021 Carolyn Calhoun Jones ’51 April 27, 2021 Charline Saunders Watkins ’51 April 9, 2021 Sally Brickman Gregory ’52 April 15, 2021 Josephine Lydia Zitta ’52 May 7, 2021 Marian Parrish Cooper ’54 April 30, 2021 Lura Beavers Robertson ’54 March 7, 2021 Elleanor Koch Wilson ’54 Feb. 21, 2021 Patricia Ashby Robinson ’57 April 17, 2021

1960s

Judith Stokes Barnes ’60 April 2, 2021 Carol Miller Graybeal ’60 April 16, 2021 Annis Norfleet Murphy ’60 Feb. 28, 2021 Patricia Hampton Bolt ’61 March 19, 2021 Betty Chappell McKinney ’61 March 15, 2021 Linda Payne Scarce ’61 May 24, 2021 Lou Culler Talbutt ’61 March 13, 2021 Morag D. Nocher ’62 March 10, 2021 Lizbeth Shelhorse Casey ’66 May 10, 2021 Sandra Lee Atkinson ’67 March 28, 2021 Phyllis Utt Lester ’67 April 4, 2021 Nancy Clements Haislip ’69 April 15, 2021

1970s

Pamela Weeks Fowler ’70 April 4, 2021 Barbara Barnes Sherman ’70 March 22, 2021 Patricia Lunceford Renner ’71 Feb. 25, 2021 Carolyn Grace Gates ’73 March 17, 2021 Arvin Bonaparte Bell Jr. ’75 March 8, 2021 Nancy Lockwood ’78 May 24, 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.

1980s

Susie Allen Witcher ’82 March 19, 2021 Cynthia Sue Hornstra ’84 March 12, 2021 Geri Lynn Flanary ’84 April 30, 2021 Nancy Lynn Ruff ’88 Feb. 28, 2021

1990s

M. Todd Bowman ’93 March 29, 2021

2000s

Kelly Ann Fitzsimmons ’00 May 15, 2021

2010s

Elizabeth Sole Burr ’14 May 16, 2021

Faculty, Staff and Friends Dr. Louis Raymond Fawcett Jr. April 22, 2021 Cordelia Higgins March 16, 2021 James A. Huskey March 17, 2021 Cal C. Luther May 1, 2021 Margaret M. Meldrum May 5, 2021 Colleen Pelletier March 20, 2021 Dr. John F. Reynolds May 10, 2021 Dr. Maurice P. Sneller Jr. March 6, 2021

SUMMER 2021

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CLASSNOTES

Résumé Builder. Meagan Abbey ’07 was elected as the first female mayor of McKenney, Virginia, population 469, on Nov. 3, 2020. After graduating from Longwood, Abbey taught school in Dinwiddie for several years before opening Stepping Stone Academy in McKenney. The academy offers a before-and-afterschool program, as well as preschool. Prior to running for mayor, she had served on the board of the Dinwiddie Chamber of Commerce, including as vice president and then president. She also was involved in the Crater Planning District Commission, whose focus is economic, industrial and small-business development in 11 small cities in south central Virginia. “I felt I had learned just enough to jump in,” Abbey told the Dinwiddie Monitor. “I felt like I could make a difference while also learning the role, because being a mayor is definitely not something I expected to have on my résumé.”

Laura Hoyle

The Abbey family: Jace, 11 (left); Cade, 5; Meagan and husband, Keith Abbey; and Daire, 9.

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(continued from Page 28)

facing America’s youth today by helping parents and teachers implement quality reading instruction for children at home and in school.” Dr. Laura Hebert ’06 (administration and supervision PreK-12 endorsement) was named superintendent of the Ravenna (Ohio) School District and stepped into her new role at the beginning of the 2021-22 school year. Prior to her appointment, she was principal of Twinsburg (Ohio) High School. Before becoming principal at Twinsburg, she had been principal since 2011 at the 1,800-student Lloyd C. Bird High School in Chesterfield. Amanda Jaeger ’06 reports that, “when 2020 gave me the gift of time,” she finally got started on and finished the novel she’s always wanted to write. “It’s a mystery/suspense that’s a little truecrime inspired,” said the Richmond resident. “There’s something about a good crime story that has reeled me in for years.” The Fallen in Soura Heights (self-published) is about a young widow trying to unravel the mystery of how her husband died in the idyllic small town where they’d recently moved, a place full of secrets and slightly oddball characters. Jaeger is a freelance copywriter, which she said means “my world is full of words no matter where I turn.” Stay tuned for her next book, which is already in the works.


CLASSNOTES

Sister Act

Trakecha South ’06 has worked for six years as a home health and hospice social worker at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill. She previously worked for Hospice of Virginia in Farmville and at Community Home Care & Hospice in Henderson, North Carolina. “I call it heart work. There is a lot of loss involved, and you have to be able to process and deal with that on an ongoing basis,” she said. “Either you can do it and you’re OK with it, or you can’t.” South is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and National Hospital and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO). She is currently working on a doctoral degree with the goal of teaching at the college level.

2010s Jason Adam Mawyer ’11 was selected as 202021 Teacher of the Year for Cumberland Middle School. Mawyer earned a business degree at Longwood and worked in finance before deciding to become a teacher. To realize that goal, he earned a master’s degree in education from Liberty University. He has taught fifth-grade math at CMS for the last three years.

Irene Girgente ’12 earned her Master of Library and Information Science degree in May 2020 from Syracuse University. After working at Longwood’s Greenwood Library for five years, she started a new position as director of the library at Arkansas State University Three Rivers in March 2021. She is in the process of bringing together the six libraries of the ASU consortium and is teaching an honors course in design this fall. Girgente’s golden retriever, Zelda, a participant in Study Paws at Longwood, will continue her work to help students de-stress during finals at Three Rivers. Rachel Ognibene Parr ’12, a fourth-grade teacher at T. C. Miller Elementary School for Innovation, was selected as the 2021 Teacher of the Year for the Lynchburg City Schools. “She is an innovator in the classroom, and she constantly seeks to (continued on Page 32)

Tag-team baking project raises $56,000 for Oregon Food Bank during pandemic

W Natalie Massey Pernites ’13 was named Teacher of the Year at Salem Middle School. She is working on her master’s degree in library science at Old Dominion University, which she plans to complete this summer.

e think of sibling rivalry as a common aspect of family life, but there’s not a whiff of it between sisters CARRINGTON LIGHT ’98, M.S. ’04, (left) and WHITNEY LIGHT RUTZ ’98. There is, however, a big whiff of cinnamon. The women, who are identical twins and residents of Portland, Oregon, joined forces during the pandemic in baking giant cinnamon rolls—each about a foot in diameter and weighing nearly 5 pounds when fully iced—with proceeds going to the Oregon Food Bank. (Initially the rolls were auctioned off. Then the sisters baked one cinnamon roll for each $500 donation to the food bank’s website, with the rolls delivered to frontline healthcare workers.) “I needed a way to feel better at the beginning of this whole lockdown/ shutdown,” said Whitney. “It started as a giant cinnamon roll for our family. After the feedback on social media, I wondered how much people would be willing to pay for such a thing. To my surprise, the first roll sold for $300. “Within the first couple of weeks, it was clear I wasn’t going to be able to bake the rolls fast enough with the amount of donations we were receiving each day,” she said, adding that celebrities including kd lang and Portland Trail Blazers Coach Terry Stotts helped promote the project. “The weekend Carrington got involved, we had to bake 27 rolls, and they each take about four hours to make. I was so thankful for her help.” All that baking was done in their free time: Carrington teaches seventh- and eighthgrade English at Riverdale Grade School, and Whitney is an analyst for Peraton, an IT firm. They’ve hung up their aprons for now, but not before raising $56,000 for the food bank. Donations came from all over the world, including many from Longwood alums. “This project was Whitney’s baby, and I was honored to be a part of it,” said Carrington, adding that the best thing about the project was working so closely with her sister during a difficult time. “I can see Whitney’s gears turning—she’s already thinking about her next campaign and what organization will benefit.” And the impact on Carrington? “I have come to see that one person truly can do a lot of good. I have shared Whitney’s story time and time again over the past year … showing my students that when your heart is in a project, lots of good can happen.”—Sabrina Brown SUMMER 2021

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CLASSNOTES

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find new technology to enhance virtual learning,” said Dr. Jeff Guerin, principal at Miller Elementary. “Ms. Parr brings math alive for her students, consistently works to utilize best practices in her instruction and provides excellent support to those who work around her. Her passion for the subjects she covers in class is only overshadowed by the thoughtfulness she shows to her students.” Maura Madigan ’15 is the author of Learning Centers for School Libraries, published by ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association. The book contains almost everything needed to set up learning centers in a school library: fun and flexible ideas to fit different grade levels that target the AASL National School Library Standards and content-area standards. Madigan is a school librarian in Fairfax County. She has worked in education for more than 25 years in the U.S., South Korea, Japan and the UAE, including two years on a school reform project for the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

wood and Farmville. We are so thankful for this wonderful school—not only for the friends we met, memories we made and setting us up for our future, but also for leading us to each other!” Kiley teaches third grade in Southampton County, and Hunter is a financial advisor for Equitable Advisors. The couple live in Waverly. Kaitlyn Matthews Cooper ’18 was named to the Dixie Softball Hall of Fame. She played Dixie Softball for Lunenburg Girls Softball for her entire period of eligibility and is the first player from Lunenburg to be named to the Hall of Fame. She serves as a coach and as assistant district director for Dixie Softball District 1. Cooper was a member of the club softball team at Longwood, and served as president. Macey Mills ’19 (see Page 24). Sarine Thomas ’19 is a staff accountant at Meadows Urquhart Acree & Cook in Richmond.

Longwood’s 1 Hour a Month program is an ongoing volunteer experience designed for alumni and friends. You’ll be rewarded with Longwood swag depending on your level of participation. Find out more at longwood.edu/ alumni/1-hour-amonth. Call for Nominations 2022 Alumni Awards

Taylor Newton ’16 is the new economic development and planning director for Lunenburg County. She will review applications for zoning and condition use permits, serve as a liaison to the county’s businesses, and pursue development and grant opportunities, among other responsibilities. She holds master’s degrees in human services and in business/public administration from Liberty University. Kiley McGinn ’17, M.S. ’18, and Hunter Haywood ’17 were married Sept. 26, 2020, after meeting during their freshman year at Longwood. “We immediately hit it off and knew we were right for each other,” said Kiley. “We have so many fantastic memories of Long-

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KNOW A LONGWOOD ALUM who goes above and beyond for Longwood, in their profession or for their community? Nominate them for an Alumni Award. There’s even an award for friends of Longwood. Details about the awards and the nomination process are at longwood.edu/alumni/ alumni-awards/. To submit a nomination, send an email with the subject line “Award Nomination” to alumni@ longwood.edu. The deadline for nominations is Oct. 15, 2021.


IT ALL ADDS UP! If every alum contributes $5 per month this year, it would add up to over

$2,224,440 As a community, we are our strongest when we come together to support the Alma Mater. Longwood University is excited to announce the launch of its brand new monthly giving society, the Fountain Society, which recognizes those who have made a recurring and lasting commitment to the university through monthly giving. Membership in the Fountain Society guarantees supporters a highly sought-after 2021 Longwood Scarf, special event invitations, unique, one-on-one engagement with students, personally curated monthly communications, and much more.

Become an inaugural member of the Fountain Society today by visiting

GIVE.LONGWOOD.EDU/FOUNTAIN

Have questions about the Fountain Society? Contact Penny Pairet, director of annual giving, at pairetpw@longwood.edu or (434) 395-2927.


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

Grand Slam

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LONGWOOD MAGAZINE

Mike Kropf ’14

The men’s and women’s tennis teams posted the highest GPAs of all Lancer teams for the spring semester, leading Longwood athletics to a school-record cumulative GPA for a single semester. Read more on Page 7.

Profile for Longwood University

Longwood Magazine | Summer 2021  

A Magazine For Alumni And Friends Of Longwood University

Longwood Magazine | Summer 2021  

A Magazine For Alumni And Friends Of Longwood University

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