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ISSUE TWO | 2012





President’s Pen Board of Trustees

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College News

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Dynamic Doer Nancy Baird Mulheren ’72 finds tremendous reward in helping shape Roanoke for future students.

Scientific Mind, Kind Heart Brooks Whitehurst: Beloved friend of Roanoke

Driven by Passion Doug Rohrbeck ’97 produces Fox News Channel’s “Special Report.”

Building Fine Living College readies for opening of new state-of-the-art residence hall.

We heard from you...

• From gas to electric power: RC’s Classic Car • College kudos from Roanoker magazine and City of Salem • 43-year-old Life Science greenhouse undergoes renovation • 2012 Commencement


Sports News • A stupendous softball season • Maroon Club eyes future after successful launch


Alumni News


• The distinguished career of John Brooks ’70 • Gretchen S. Winterer ’05 preserves Marine Corps history • Photos from Alumni Weekend


Maroon Musings Wise words from the Class of 2012 co-valedictorians


From the Archives Commencement in the 19th Century


RoaNotes Roanoke College, by the numbers

CONTACT US: Questions, comments and corrections may be sent to: Magazine Editor, Roanoke College Public Relations Office, 221 College Lane, Salem, VA 24153, or email

Roanoke College Magazine

26 ON THE COVER: Nancy Baird Mulheren stands in the Olin Hall courtyard at the height of renovation work in February. Mulheren has been one of the College’s strongest advocates of campus beautification efforts. INSIDE FRONT COVER: The culmination: A diploma and congratulatory handshake at Commencement 2012. Photo by Brendan Bush. 1

president’spen Roanoke College Magazine

Our attention is fixed on steps toward continuing and improving the premier educational experiences we provide for students.

“So you finished another year?” someone invariably asks me once Commencement has passed. “Yes and no,” is my standard answer. We have completed another successful academic year in the 170-year Roanoke College history. Our year and work, however, are by no means finished. At Roanoke, life is at an exciting full-throttle. The momentum started with Commencement, continued through the Softball Team’s tremendous run in the NCAA Division III National Championship, rose with national media attention on a College student organization’s ambitious plans to convert a 1939 Pontiac from gas to electric power, and peaked with news of an alumna who competed in the 2012 Olympic Games. This issue of Roanoke magazine highlights a good portion of this recent avalanche of good news. But there is much more news, the type that doesn’t always draw banner headlines or bask in the glare of television cameras. It is news of a College that provides opportunities for students to learn to think for themselves, that gives students experiential learning opportunities, that places emphasis on community life, leadership development and mentoring relationships, and that serves our free society throughout graduates’ lives. Certainly, national recognition has come Roanoke’s way. And we celebrate the laudatory praise that comes with it. But our attention is fixed on steps toward continuing and improving the premier educational experiences we provide for students. National recognition, while wonderful, is second fiddle to knowing we serve well our students and society. Roanoke College is the best it has ever been. We are strong enough to imagine an even better Roanoke. Go Maroons!

Editor Contributing Editors

Alumni News Archives Contributing Writers


Design & Production Printing

Leslie Taylor Teresa Gereaux ’87 Jenny Kincaid Boone ’01 Linda Lindsay Linda Miller Jenny Kincaid Boone ’01 Karen Doss Bowman Kristina Breux ’12 Lauren Kennedy ’14 Michael C. Maxey Caitlin Mitchell ’13 Brad Moore Allison Weaver Brendan Bush Matt Brown/NCAA Photos Pete Emerson James France Don Petersen Mikula|Harris Classic Graphics

Roanoke College does not discriminate against students, employees or applicants on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, age, sexual orientation, marital status, national or ethnic origin, disability or veteran status. Roanoke College Magazine is published three times a year by the Office of Public Relations for alumni, students, parents, staff and friends of Roanoke College. Editorial rights are reserved. Please address correspondence to: Editor, Roanoke College Magazine Roanoke College 221 College Lane Salem, VA 24153-3794

Michael Creed Maxey

Board of Trustees 2012 – 2013 Mr. Morris M. Cregger, Jr. ’64, chairman Ms. Kathryn Snell Harkness ’73, vice chair The Reverend James F. Mauney, D.D., secretary Mr. Mark P. Noftsinger, treasurer Mr. Michael C. Maxey, president of the College Mr. Kenneth J. Belton, Sr. ’81 Dr. Paris D. Butler ’00 Ms. Pamela L. Cabalka ’76 Dr. M. Paul Capp ’52 Ms. Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo ’78 2

Mr. W. Morgan Churchman ’65 Mr. Malon W. Courts ’92 Mr. David L. Guy ’75 Ms. Judith B. Hall ’69 Mr. Richard S. Hathaway ’73 Ms. Peggy Fintel Horn ’78 Mr. Donald J. Kerr ’60 Mr. John E. Lang ’72 Mr. Patrick R. Leardo Mr. Shaun M. McConnon ’66 Mr. Olin R. Melchionna, Jr., Esq.

Mr. Bruce E. Melchor, III ’72 Ms. Nancy B. Mulheren ’72 Mr. Timothy O’Donnell Mr. Diedrich D. Oglesbee, Jr. ’95 Mr. Roger A. Petersen ’81 The Reverend J. Christopher Price ’75 Mr. J. Tyler Pugh ’70 Mr. Dale C. Sarjeant ’75 The Reverend Dr. Theodore F. Schneider ’56

221 College Lane | Salem, VA 24153-3794 |

College Switchboard..................................................(540) 375-2500 Admissions Local........................................................(540) 375-2270 Admissions Toll-free .................................................(800) 388-2276 Alumni/Parent Relations ..........................................(540) 375-2238 Alumni Church Relations.........................................................(540) 375-2547 Colket Center................................................................(540) 378-5125 Intercollegiate Athletics.............................................(540) 375-2338 Olin Box Office .............................................................(540) 375-2333 ©2012 Roanoke College. All rights reserved. Roanoke College, Classic for Tomorrow and associated logos are trademarks of Roanoke College.


RC Sous Chef Matt Phillips sets a tasty dish aflame at the Senior Class Cooking Demonstration and Leave Your Mark on May 3 at the President’s House (top left, continuing clockwise). • Taylor Mali, a nationally known poet and advocate for teachers, speaks at the 2012 Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institute for Teaching and Learning, a training program for teachers held annually at Roanoke. About 160 educators from schools and colleges in Virginia and other states attended this year’s institute. • Students and faculty who spent May term in Paris, strike a pensive pose near Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker” at the Musée Rodin. • Courtney Dittman Brown ’92 is interviewed by a TV crew at the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony & Reception on April 13, during Alumni Weekend. Brown was captain of the 1992 women’s lacrosse team. • New Phi Beta Kappa initiate Kayla Klingensmith ’12 is all smiles with President Michael Maxey at the Phi Beta Kappa Nu of Virginia Chapter Initiation on May 4. • A grad proudly displays his kilt during the Recessional at the 2012 Commencement on May 5.

that he encouraged, they will be great successes. Thank you for your choice. Totch Hartge, CIC, President Hartge Insurance Associates Galesville, Md.

Judy Hall ’69 “Very proud to be an RC alum and trustee!!!”



YOU POSTED… Meghan Brinkley ’11 I am 100% certain that I would not have the job or skills I have today had it not been for a school and faculty that encouraged their students to get involved and become passionate about something. Donna Gnegy Spradlin ’85

“When I walk on that campus 30 years after I started, it STILL feels like HOME. You can’t manufacture that. But it is very real.”

CONGRATS AND THANKS Just wanted to drop a note to congratulate you on another stellar Roanoke College magazine — and to thank you for including our wedding announcement, of course! I was excited — and proud, as always — to read this issue. I especially enjoyed the stories about Dethie Fall and Dr. Bittle’s rock collection. Traci J. Crockett ’01 Associate Director of Alumni Relations, Communications American University Washington, D.C.

COMMENCEMENT KUDOS Thank you for the great graduation ceremony. I really enjoyed the choice of Philip Conserva. No bombast, no great drama, just the picture of quiet success and sharing it with us. His appreciation for what he enjoyed and received at Roanoke were not lost on my daughter Elizabeth, ’12, Meredith, ’13, and Henry, ’15. If they do just one thing in the coming years

Amanda Corson ’06 “I love that Roanoke College has such a comfortable atmosphere. The professors know you by name and help you along your road to success. The class sizes are small, which made it easy to ask questions and get help when needed. I loved being able to look at the mountains every morning as well. The educational experience you gain at Roanoke is unparalleled to most other colleges in VA.” Jen Divers ’06 “Beautiful campus, the close-knit community with professors who actually cared about you and remain friends many years later.” Larry Arrington ’63 “Terrific video. Brings back lots of memories. Even us old guys, who graduated from Roanoke 50 years ago, still love the College. Those were some of the greatest days of our lives.” (Editor’s note: View video at

Zach Birtsch@fearlessboi My new @RoanokeCollege crewneck sweatshirt is my second skin…Get used to seeing me in it.. #sospirited Hannah Baker@han_bake Officially decided on Roanoke College! #gomaroons Mary Cunney@mmcunney Big kudos to @RoanokeCollege for the energy-efficient renovations on campus!! #green #environment Sarah Smith@Sarebear121189 Thank you @RoanokeCollege for the most amazing four years. #Commencement #rcgrad12 Tamara D. Johnson@tamduricka

So great to be back on campus at @RoanokeCollege! Somehow it managed to grow even more beautiful than before! #bliss crownme_nry @RoanokeCollege it’s always a good day when I get a wave from President Maxey Diego Anleu@Diego_Panchito The Scholar competition at @RoanokeCollege was a great experience, it was worth the drive in the snow Adwoa Asante@AAAsante Only at Roanoke College can you serenade your president and his wife with Christmas carols and eat brownies next to their Christmas tree. =]

Don Sandridge “As a returning Vietnam Vet, Roanoke College welcomed me and I received about the best education one could get anywhere.”

We want to hear from you! Roanoke magazine welcomes letters and emails about what you read in this publication. Please mail letters to: Magazine Editor, Department of Public Relations, Roanoke College, 221 College Lane, Salem, VA 24153, or send an email to: Letters should be no longer than 250 words and may be edited for style, clarity or content. Questions, comments and corrections may be mailed or emailed to the same mailing address and email address. Be sure to “like” us on Facebook.


Roanoke College Magazine

collegenews Environmental Studies students pose with 1939 Pontiac. From left to right, Preston Moore, Mike Bankert, Steven Belknap, Eric Lefevers, Justin Morgan, Nomin Baasandavaa, Madison Ericson, Ryan Montoni, Jackie McCann (mechanic), Tucker Prisley and Stephen Floyd.

Classic car conversion News of RC Electric’s project was carried on the Discovery Channel, USA Today and Autoweek magazine websites.

A ROANOKE COLLEGE student organization that explores alternative energy sources is restoring a classic car by converting it from gas to electric power. Roanoke students who were part of an environmental class in 2010 came up with the idea to convert a 1939 Pontiac Silver Streak into a fully electric vehicle. They had in mind Roanoke’s slogan, “Classic for Tomorrow.” The class created the RC Electric club — the College’s first student-run organization devoted to making the campus more energy efficient — to ensure that the project would be carried out and completed. So far, more than 50 Roanoke students have participated in the Pontiac project. Club advisor is Dr. Jon Cawley, associate professor of Environmental Science. The College purchased the car for $1,500 from a garage in Blacksburg, Va. The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia, used the car prior to World War II to transport the rich and famous to the resort from a nearby train station. To get started on the electric conversion, Roanoke students stripped the Pontiac and had it professionally sandblasted to remove rust inside and out. They painted the car a burgundy red wine pearl color to match the College’s color scheme. This project “shows that we can move forward and be

green,” said Eric Lefevers ’13, president of RC Electric. Lefevers has been responsible for scheduling project meetings, ordering parts for the car, contacting mechanics and recruiting sponsors to help purchase additional parts. One of the sponsors is Mac and Bob’s Restaurant in Salem, which is donating LED headlights for the vehicle. Though the Pontiac can’t run on its own yet, its transformation has drawn quite a bit of national media attention. Once word got out about RC Electric’s ambitious plans, the news was picked up on the Discovery Channel, USA Today and Autoweek magazine websites, on the Autoevolution and Revmodo websites, and on the autobloggreen blog. Nissan LEAF gave the project a shout-out on its Facebook page. (LEAF is Nissan’s electric car.) The car was on display the weekend of the 2012 Commencement. The Virginia Museum of Transportation in downtown Roanoke wants to display the car during the winter months. RC Electric will continue to work on the vehicle’s electric conversion and restoring its upholstery and interior. The club’s ultimate goal is to have the car completed and running with a direct current electric motor, which operates with rechargeable batteries, by Roanoke’s Alumni Weekend in the spring of 2014. — Kristina Breux ’12 5


Center named in honor of Benne

ACCOLADES College deemed tops by magazine readers

Roanoke President Mike Maxey with Dr. Robert Benne and his wife, Joanna, at the 14th Annual Crumley Lecture in March.

ROANOKE COLLEGE’S Center for Religion and Society has been renamed the Robert D. Benne Center for Religion and Society in honor of the leading theologian, scholar and professor who directed the center since its founding in 1982. Benne, a prominent figure in Lutheran ethics and social thought, has authored more than 200 articles and 10 books, most dealing with Christianity and society. At Roanoke, Benne was the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion and chairman of the department of religion and philosophy for 18 years. The Benne Center for Religion and Society sponsors speakers and programs to bring Christian religious and moral perspectives to contemporary challenges. It carries out the conviction that the most important human decisions, both public and private, benefit from informative dialogue across the disciplines. Dr. James Peterson, the Charles and Helen Schumann Professor of Christian Ethics, is the new director of the Robert D. Benne Center for Religion and Society. Peterson, an ordained minister who has been a research fellow in molecular and clinical genetics, joined Roanoke College in 2011. CEO OF BITSIGHT

McConnon joins Board of Trustees SHAUN M. MCCONNON ’66, chief executive officer of BitSight Technologies, has joined the Roanoke College Board of Trustees. McConnon is former chairman and CEO of Q1 Labs, a security intelligence products company in Waltham, Mass. Q1 was acquired by IBM in 2011. Prior to joining Q1 Labs in 2003, McConnon served as CEO of Okena, a next-generation security company, which he led from its inception to its acquisition by Cisco Systems. Previously, McConnon was CEO of Raptor Systems, where he steered the firewall security company through a successful IPO and then its subsequent sale to Axent Technologies (later acquired by Symantec). Earlier, McConnon held various executive positions with Sun Microsystems. McConnon also is president of Home Away Boston, a charity that provides housing for pediatric oncology patients at Massachusetts General Hospital. McConnon graduated from Roanoke with a bachelor’s degree in biology. At the College, he was a member of Beta Beta Beta, the track and field team and the Kappa Alpha Order. McConnon, who lives in Wayland, Mass., is married to Bonnie McConnon. The couple has two children, Ian and Matthew. 6

ROANOKE COLLEGE was named the 2012 top college/university within a one-hour drive of the Roanoke Valley by readers of The Roanoker magazine. The College’s award was featured in the magazine’s May/ June edition. Readers vote on the top people, businesses, institutions and activities in the Roanoke Valley, from best museums to local singers, for The Roanoker’s annual “Best of Roanoke” competition. This year, more than 30,000 individual votes were cast by readers in 153 categories, resulting in 465 platinum, gold and silver awards. Roanoke was the platinum winner in its category, followed by Hollins University with gold and Virginia Tech with silver. Roanoke offers a wide array of educational and entertaining events to engage the local community and the region. Among many activities, the College sponsors the distinguished Fowler lecture series, hosts Theatre Roanoke College, the Roanoke College Choir and numerous art exhibitions and offers lifelong learning programs, such as Elderscholar.

Roanoke receives Green Award ROANOKE COLLEGE received a Pride in Salem Green Award for energyefficient renovations on campus. The award, given by the City of Salem, recognizes businesses and organizations that contribute to the beautification of Salem through landscaping, prominent exterior building or site renovation or responsible enLucas Hall vironmental initiatives. Roanoke received the most votes in the Renovations and Energy Efficiency category. The public chose recipients of the Salem green awards through an online poll. Three awards, including Roanoke’s, were presented at a Salem City Council meeting in April. Roanoke was nominated because of its energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly renovation of Lucas Hall, its first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building. The building, which houses classrooms and offices for the College’s Modern Languages Department, closed for 18 months in 2009 for renovations. It reopened in the fall of 2010. “The City of Salem has been a great partner to Roanoke College in our sustainability efforts,” said David Wiseman, who is manager of Library Information Systems at Roanoke and co-coordinator of the College’s Sustainability Advisory Group. “When there are LEED certified buildings, it raises the sustainability profile for the city.”

Roanoke College Magazine

collegenews AT HER PEAK

Olds realizes dream of Olympic competition CASEY GIBSON FOR USA CYCLING


ON JULY 29, the eyes of Maroon Nation were peeled to televisions, computers, tablets and cellphones as Shelley Olds ’03 competed in the 2012 Olympics Women’s Road Race. Olds placed seventh, crossing the finish line in 3 hours, 35 minutes and 56 seconds. She was the top finisher among the four U.S. Women’s Cycling Team members and posted the best result for an American woman in the Olympic road race in 20 years. Olds, 31, of Gilroy, Calif., joined 66 other women on a rain-plagued, 89-mile race through the streets of London. With 22.3 miles left, Olds was in good medal contention. She found herself in a breakaway — a small group of riders leading the pack — when she punctured a tire and fell back in the race. The gold medal went to top-ranked Marianne Vos of Holland who had a time of 3:35:29. Silver went to Britain’s Lizzie Armitstead (3:35:29) and bronze to Olga Zabelinskaya (3:35:31), of Russia. Olds traveled to the Summer Olympic Games from Livigno, in the Italian Alps, in preparation for races and for the Olympics. In July, she competed in a hard nine-day stage race in Italy, the Giro Donne, in which she won stage 6, appropriately on the Fourth of July. After the race, she returned to Girona, Spain which has been her temporary home base, to complete and fine-tune her training for the Olympics. Post-Olympics, Olds will return to Girona to spend time with her parents, who traveled to London to cheer her on. Following that short break, she’ll race in three more World Cup events, then begin preparing for the World Championships. Olds is a relative newcomer to cycling, taking up the sport just five years ago. At Roanoke, she served as captain of the Women’s Soccer Team for two consecutive years. She was named ODAC Player of the Year, All-State, All-Region, and was nominated as an All-American. Her introduction to cycling came

Shelley Olds, center, working in the breakaway during the women’s road race.

in 2005, while riding on the back of a tandem mountain bike. Olds has become one of the highest-ranked women’s cyclists in the world. Initially, she competed in track cycling but this year realized her dream of competing in the Olympic Games in road cycling. She has been training and preparing for this top level of competition in the past year, competing in a full schedule of road races in New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, Holland and China. Her win in May at the Tour of Chongming Island World Cup #5 in China helped secure her selection to the Olympic team. Olds is a three-time national champion in two disciplines of cycling — road and track. In 2010, she won the Pan American Road Championships, the final stage at the Women’s Giro D’Italia, and the Elite Criterium U.S. National Championships.


Senior receives Gilman award A ROANOKE COLLEGE SENIOR has become the first at the College to receive the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship. Ebony Spriggs ’13 was one of 1,200 undergraduate students across the country awarded the Gilman Scholarship, which helps students who don’t have the opportunity to study abroad because of financial limitations. To be eligible, students must be U.S. citizens who are recipients of the Federal Pell Grant. Spriggs, a psychology major and sociology minor from Wilmington, Del., will study at Leiden University in the Netherlands in the fall 2012 semester. To apply, students must present a proposal for a project that they will carry from their experience abroad into their home community. The purpose of the project, called the Follow-on Service Project, is to promote international education either at the student’s home institution or in their home community. Spriggs aims to do both in her project — connecting Boy Scout troops in Salem to troops in Leiden, Netherlands. Roanoke College Magazine

“My plan is to use Skype to connect the two troops so that each [troop member] has a chance to talk with boys of their own age…who are from a different culture,” Spriggs wrote in a recent email. “My hope is that by having the two groups talk with each other, it will inspire them to one day go abroad themselves.” Since its inception in 2001, the Gilman program has received 31,462 applications and awarded 9,796 scholarships. A majority of recipients study in the Social Sciences. For Spriggs, the small town of Leiden is just what she’s looking for. She says it will “let [me] more easily immerse in the culture.” The range of Gilman Scholarship awards is $1,000 to $5,000; Spriggs was awarded $3,500. “Ebony…has shown us that Gilman is within our reach,” said Dr. Adrienne Bloss, Roanoke College’s associate dean for Institutional Relations. “I hope this will be the first of many Gilman Awards for Roanoke College students.” Spriggs, one of only two Gilman recipients from Delaware, is a member of Psi Chi, a national psychology honor society; Roanoke’s Honors Program; and Alpha Phi Omega, the service fraternity on campus. Spriggs serves as a Member at Large on the Honors Executive Board. She was also a Maroon Corps leader during the fall 2011 orientation. — Lauren Kennedy ’14 7


May Term offers range of opportunities THE 2012 MAY TERM saw record enrollment in travel courses, while oncampus courses had boundaries set only by one’s imagination, exploring such subjects as Italian film, economics, forensic chemistry and nature writing. The College requires students to take part in one May Term during their years at Roanoke, giving them the opportunity to devote full attention to a selected course — on campus or abroad — while faculty offer something “they would not in another format,” said Dr. Gail Steehler, associate dean for Academic Affairs and General Education. Dr. Sandee McGlaun, associate professor of English, took students in her Nature Writing course to a Shenandoah Valley farm that practices ecologically-based farming, to West Virginia for whitewater rafting, and to a mountaintop removal mining site at Kayford Mountain, W. Va. Her students re-examined their concept of the natural world, she said. “We don’t have a lot of time for deep reflection, and we need that as human beings,” McGlaun said. Journaling, essay writing and reading renowned nature writers gave students an outlet to “understand the real value of nature,” she said. McGlaun believes her students have to experience the natural world to write about it in a convincing, emotional way. “Most of us walk past some kind of natural space every day, so learning how to see carefully is an important part of being a good nature writer, and having the time to observe it is key,” she said. Dr. Mark Miller, history professor and College historian, took students along the Mississippi River to explore the Civil War in the West. Students

in another course traveled to the Disney Institute in Orlando, Fla., to study business leadership. Another group traveled to China to study, according to the course description, the “rich culture that produces and nourishes the martial arts and the people who practice them.” Steehler said that despite current economic conditions, a record number traveled abroad, “which at some level surprised us, but students and parents value understanding people from other cultures and how important it is to actually experience it.” “Students are changed by this experience in a way that reading all the books in the world will never touch,” she said. Dr. Chad Morris, assistant professor of sociology, took a group of students to the northern Pacific island country of Palau to conduct research on globalization and health. Their long-term goals include creating programs designed to reduce disease rates and increase nutrition and food security. Alex DeLaricheliere ’14, a sociology major, blogged about the group’s role in Palau. “We don’t just want to come in, do our thing, tell them what to do, and then leave,” she wrote. “We want to do work that will help us create meaningful solutions that the Palauans themselves will actually want to implement. That’s the only way we’ll change the epidemic of non-communicable diseases that plague so many Palauans.” Whether traveling in Argentina, on the stage producing a medieval drama, or peering at the stars from the Goddard Space Flight Center, May Term has a lifelong impact — and exemplifies the experiential learning opportunities that Roanoke College is known for. — Sarah Cox

Members of the May Term group that traveled to India (top left, continuing clockwise). Leah Hall ’13, Sarah Edwards ’14 and Rosie Knisley ’14 (left to right), students in the Nature Writing course, journal along the Roanoke River at Green Hill Park. Knisley at Mill Mountain Park, identifies a species and writes about it. Alexis Helms ’13, left, and Caroline Lewandowski ’13, right, at the Colosseum in Rome. Students in Palau take a break during community mapping to talk to Leonard, a Palauan local who worked closely with the group.


Roanoke College Magazine

collegenews LIFE SCIENCE

Greenhouse gets an upgrade AFTER 43 YEARS atop the Life Science building, Roanoke College’s greenhouse is undergoing its first renovation. Construction began June 11 and has been completed, though plumbing and electrical work may extend through the summer. Opened in the fall of 1969 with the rest of the Science Center Complex, the greenhouse has seen intermittent periods of use. Through the early 1980s it was used extensively, but then saw less use for several years. Over the last decade, it has been used increasA worker installs the support system and ingly to support teaching and stumotor for a retractable shade. dent/faculty research. Three years ago, Roanoke’s Biology and Mathematics, Computer Science and Physics departments submitted a grant proposal to the Robert G. Cabell III and Maude Morgan Cabell Foundation in Richmond, which has a history of supporting higher education and the cultural arts. The Cabell Foundation funded the renovation project with a $250,000 grant. About one-quarter of the grant will go toward work on the greenhouse. Though the greenhouse has recently housed a large plant collection within its glass walls, maintenance has been difficult. Dr. Darwin Jorgensen, Brian H. Thornhill Professor of Biology, explained that glass typically is no longer used to enclose modern greenhouses because it allows heat to be trapped inside the structure. Consequently, the greenhouse was too hot in the summer and, lacking an effective heating system, too cold in the winter. The renovation aims to correct this. By removing the glass walls and ceiling and replacing them with polycarbonate plastic, the heat will no longer be trapped inside, and the temperature can be controlled more effectively, Jorgensen said. The structure, which consists of a brick framework with metal and stainless steel supports, largely will remain as is, even with the exterior alterations. Contractors from Griffin Greenhouse, based in Morgantown, Pa., have installed cooling/humidification and heating units and a motorized internal shade cloth system. These systems will be controlled through a central unit tied into the College computer network. Greenhouse workers will be able to control greenhouse conditions from any networked computer. One of the two rooms that make up the greenhouse is a Memorial Garden, dedicated to Kevin Murphy, a biology graduate who worked at the Congressional Botanical Garden in Washington, D.C. Following his death, the College dedicated the garden to the young alumnus in 1974. The garden will remain in the greenhouse for teaching and research. The Cabell Foundation grant will also be used to renovate the Human Anatomy and Physiology teaching lab in the Biology Department and a Physics teaching lab in Trexler Hall. The greenhouse and the teaching labs are expected to open by Labor Day. Construction of the greenhouse is only the first step in renovation of the science center complex. Planning for the complete renovation of the Science Center Complex, incorporating the Life Science and Massengill buildings and Trexler Hall, is underway. — Lauren Kennedy ’14

Roanoke College Magazine

Front of the McClanahan Cottage, new home of Roanoke College’s Sigma Chi Chapter.


Sigma Chi’s new digs AFTER MORE THAN 75 YEARS in several houses along Market Street in Salem, the Sigma Chi Fraternity will move to a larger, newly renovated house on Roanoke College’s Elizabeth Campus. The renovations were funded by generous donations from Sigma Chi alumni and friends, and Roanoke College. Renovation of the house — the McClanahan Cottage — began in March 2012 and will be completed before the start of the fall semester. Sigma’s Chi’s belief in preserving history is evident in the chapter’s decision to restore the cottage, one of three structures built in 1926 by the Lutheran Children’s Home of the South on a tract of land in east Salem. The Children’s Home remained there until they sold the buildings and 78 acres to Roanoke College in 1985. The property later became known as Elizabeth Campus, named after the former Elizabeth College. The fraternity, which is celebrating 140 years at the College this year, believes strongly in maintaining traditions, said Tommy Blair ’85, Sigma Chi chapter advisor and director of Financial Aid at Roanoke. The fraternity decided to preserve some historic aspects of the house, which has eight bedrooms, five bathrooms, a furnished basement, a library, chapter room, TV room and game room. Under the guidance of Chris Boylan ’12, president of Roanoke’s Sigma Chi chapter for the 2011-2012 academic year, the fraternity members created a wish list for their new house. The wish list included bringing the memorial for Steve LaMantia ’85, former chapter president, from the Market Street house to the new house on Elizabeth Campus. LaMantia died during the 9/11 attack in New York City. “Having the memorial right in front of the house, next to the American flag, seems really appropriate,” Blair said. Many of the Sigma Chi members wanted to live in the new house, which has living space for 13 people. The Market Street house, which has been torn down and left open as green space, housed only five people. The new house on Elizabeth Campus “will be a good way to show the constructive things we are currently doing to continue the prestigious reputation of our brotherhood,” said Stanley “Chip” Ward ’13, current chapter president. “We are all very excited to move in and begin a new era of Sigma Chi living.” A ribbon-cutting ceremony, open to the public, will be held on Sept. 21. — Caitlin Mitchell ’13



Commencement speaker Philip Conserva ’95, co-producer of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” left the Class of 2012 with these words: “Go with the flow 2012. Stay present and have fun. This is the best time of your life.”

Sarah Ahlbrand, class salutatorian

The parental paparazzi


The launch of the class beach ball.

Commencement programs serve dual purpose during a nagging drizzle, thankfully not a downpour.

Ridding the stage of a rainstorm’s remnants, pre-ceremony.

“Who’ll Stop The Rain?” lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., CONCORD MUSIC GROUP, INC. Written by John Fogerty and originally recorded by Creedence Clearwater Revival for their 1970 album “Cosmo’s Factory.”


The eclectic Nancy Mulheren defies categorizing. She wrangles buffalo. She negotiates multimillion-dollar deals. She is tireless and a selfadmitted perfectionist. She throws impromptu dance parties with her children and energizes herself with Broadway show tunes. A member of the Roanoke College Board of Trustees since 1985, Mulheren, along with her late husband, John, also is one of the College’s champions, helping to raise its vision and pave its path. ife was very ordinary, Nancy Baird Mulheren ’72 insists, until she came to Roanoke College and met the charismatic John Mulheren ’71. Then it took an extraordinary twist, enabling her to raise seven children while helping shape three diverse communities with seemingly limitless energy, imagination and generosity. “Nancy is catalytic. Something positive is going to happen if she gets engaged,” says Roanoke College President Michael Maxey. “She’s a very hands-on helper who happens to have the resources to help on a grand scale.” Although Nancy was born in New Jersey, she lived in


Durham, N.C., from infancy until age 14. Her family moved to Long Island in the middle of her eighth-grade year, a fairly traumatic event for a shy teenager. “I didn’t really fit in with any of the cliques,” she says, so she sought friendship with other transplants and took refuge in dance classes. While most of her high school classmates headed to college in the Northeast, Nancy knew she wanted to head back South. A classmate who’d visited his sister, Candace Martin ’69, at Roanoke gave the College rave reviews — particularly the social life — and Nancy was hooked.

physics lab partner, sophomore John Mulheren, as he passed by Bartlett Hall. Known on campus as “Slick,” John was a character who had already developed a reputation as a world-class prankster. Three months later, Slick walked up to Nancy on a Friday evening and asked her out. Friends were puzzled by the attraction between the two. “I was a very quiet, shy, only child,” Nancy says. “People asked me, ‘Why did you go out with Slick?’ and I said, ‘Gosh, I was afraid to say no.’ ” Kathy Harkness ’72, a Phi Mu sister of Nancy’s and current vice chair of the

to New York City. Nancy graduated a semester early and took a job selling flight insurance at John F. Kennedy International Airport. At the end of August, “Out of the blue, John said, ‘Marry me this weekend or I will never go out with you again,’ ” Nancy recalls. Her parents were out of town, and she didn’t want to deprive them of seeing their only child get married. John agreed to wait another week and they married Sept. 10, 1972.

Giving back By the age of only 25, John Mulheren, a self-taught trader, astounded Wall Street

Above, college days. At immediate right, John and Nancy Mulheren with Dean Donald Sutton ’54 at Alumni Weekend in May 1979. At far right, the Mulherens during a visit to the Roanoke College campus in the early 2000s.

Changing times When Nancy started at Roanoke, girls could only wear skirts unless granted “slack permission.” Men weren’t allowed in the women’s dormitories and a live-in dorm mother enforced the rules. Freshmen received demerits for not making their beds and had to be in by 10 p.m. on weeknights. “Between fall 1968 and spring 1972, the whole world changed,” says Leslie Nunnally Christopher ’72, one of Nancy’s suitemates. “It was the fastest four years of social change, both on campus and in the U.S.” In the first semester of her freshman year, her roommate Priscilla Mohan Prosser ’72, introduced Nancy to her 14

“Marry me this weekend or I will never go out with you again.”— John Mulheren Board of Trustees, recalls, “They were a pretty unique couple. Nancy was extroverted and friendly, but she didn’t attract attention to herself. John was the big-figure person. He was ‘out there.’ ” Harkness describes the pair as “very attuned to each other. She was his best friend and confidant; they were an inseparable couple at school. It was always Slick and Nancy — you knew they’d be together.” John graduated in 1971 and headed

by rising to managing partner at Merrill Lynch. Soon after, he and Nancy began giving back to their alma mater on an epic scale. One of their first large donations was in honor of associate professor and track coach Homer Bast ’79. The following year, they contributed in honor of Donald Sutton Sr. ’54, then dean of students, beginning a practice of making contributions to pay tribute to faculty and staff who influenced their lives at Roanoke. Roanoke College Magazine

As John’s fame and success in the trading world grew, so did the Mulherens’ donations. They were large sponsors of the Bast Center in 1982 and offered a challenge grant of $930,000 for renovation of the oldest part of Sections dormitory the next year. In 2000, John and Nancy gathered with others as then-President David

ourselves,” she says. The couple began adopting infants, adding five children to the family in a six-year span. After an eight-year gap while John struggled to control his bipolar disorder and battled allegations of securities fraud (he was completely exonerated), the couple adopted two more children.

“[Nancy] could have become a society maven but that has no appeal to her”— Judy Hall

Nancy says the children spent much of their time in the tiny town of Paint Bank, Va., where the Mulherens bought land in 1986. “The children grew up riding horses, swimming, hunting, fishing, four-wheeling and hiking. It kept us all grounded,” Nancy says.

Emerging from the shadows In December of 2003, Judy Hall and Nancy were both on a committee to find a replacement for the retiring Dr. Gring. It was just before Christmas and the two had met in D.C. Nancy was flying back on her plane, and Hall was

Nancy Mulheren has been one of the College’s strongest advocates of campus beautification efforts. At right, the 2011 family Christmas card. From left to right, Nancy Mulheren; Harley Mulheren; Sandy Mulheren and his wife, Vanessa ’02, and their son Rhys; Timothy Mulheren and his wife, Monica, and their son, Timmy; Nora Mulheren; Dakota Mulheren Woodham and her husband, Donnie, and their son Cash; Wyatt Mulheren; Clark and Gaby Mulheren, and their children, Reyna, Annabelle and Gia.

Gring announced a $5 million gift from Tristam and Ruth Colket. “Dr. Gring said something like, ‘A gift of this magnitude is not likely to happen again,’ and I thought, ‘Uh-oh.’ I knew what was coming,” Nancy says. Sure enough, her husband jumped to his feet, saying, “Dr. Gring, I hate to make a liar out of you, but here’s another $5 million.” “None of John’s gifts were ever, ever planned,” Nancy says. “If he got an idea, there was no stopping him.”

A growing family As an only child, Nancy says she always wanted to have a big family. “John came from a large Irish Catholic family. It was always lively and rowdy when his family gathered, and we wanted that for Roanoke College Magazine

“Nancy’s an incredible mother,” says Judy Hall ’69, a member of the Roanoke College Board of Trustees. “She does all the ‘mom’ activities — Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, reading stories — while running a business full time. She could have become a society maven but that has no appeal to her.” John Mulheren’s wealth and legal woes gave him a very high profile in their hometown of Rumson, N.J., — he commuted to work in Manhattan by helicopter — but the couple sought to provide a “normal” upbringing for their children. Lisa Wilson, a close friend who lives in New Jersey, notes that while the children could have been handed everything, they always worked and had summer jobs. Although the family has always maintained an apartment in Manhattan,

taking the shuttle from what was then National Airport. “Christmas is a big deal for Nancy, and she was full of plans,” Hall says. “I got the call the next day that John had died.” John, 54, suffered a seizure and went into cardiac arrest, collapsing at the family home. John’s funeral was large and completely unconventional, just like him. The family wore bright Christmas sweaters; some attendees wore costumes and Santa rode in on a fire truck. Iconic rocker Bruce Springsteen, a longtime friend of the Mulherens, gave a eulogy and sang “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Friends say it was exactly as John would have wanted it. “Nancy meets adversity with humor,” Leslie Christopher says. “She copes with 15

things by staying very busy.” Lisa Wilson says Nancy “never dwelled on John’s death. She had to keep going for those kids. After John passed, she emerged as the decisionmaker. No one had even realized how much she was doing; they assumed it was all John.” Christopher agrees, saying, “John’s personality was so large that she stayed more behind the scenes.” One of Nancy’s first steps after John’s death was to establish the JAM Anonymous Foundation, named for his initials, so that his generosity during life could continue after his death.

be done. Her projects have a people component — low walls designed for people to sit on, plantings that showcase a certain view.” Her plans have included small projects such as placing rocking chairs at the back of the Colket Center to pushing for the renovation of dorms. Another ongoing project is to replace and/or repaint the benches, lampposts and trash receptacles campus-wide to give them a uniform look. The fruits of Nancy’s labor have garnered national attention, with the Princeton Review’s 2012 “Best Colleges” guidebook naming Roanoke College the

hands and knees, laying these stones herself,” one worker said. Several board members recall being in a meeting where a student representative said the library was in dire need of comfortable couches and cozy chairs. Inspired by the students’ needs and eager to improve their environment, Nancy gathered with three other female trustees, Harkness recalls. “She said, ‘It’ll take months if we have to go through the whole process of voting and budgeting. Let’s just go take care of it now.’ ” They headed out to shop, funding the project out of their own pockets,

Nancy Mulheren keeps a laminated photo of her late husband John hanging from the rearview mirror of her SUV. At right, Candy aplenty at the Paint Bank General Store.

Digging in John had been appointed to the Roanoke College Board of Trustees in 1980, but according to Nancy, “Sitting in board meetings was just not a good fit with his bipolar disorder.” Nancy replaced her husband on the board in 1985 and quickly demonstrated her willingness, quite literally, to roll up her sleeves and work. She has fostered, promoted and encouraged the College to take care of its grounds, and “has made it the beautiful place it is today,” Kathy Harkness says. Maxey also credits Nancy with helping transform the campus. “You’d think she is master’s level, at least, in landscape architecture. She has a remarkable perceptiveness about what needs to 16

“She has a sense of urgency to get things done. She’s not a bull, and she’s flexible, but when she’s on a mission, don’t try to slow her down.” — President Michael Maxey 18th most beautiful campus in the United States. However, Nancy, the relentless perfectionist, says she won’t be content until the College makes it into the Top 10. She frequently shows up on campus in jeans, tackling landscaping projects herself. Masons working on the refurbishment of the Olin Hall courtyard watched with bemusement as Nancy endured a photo shoot in February. “If y’all weren’t here, she’d be down on her

and completed it in a matter of days. If the project makes sense for the College and she can help, Nancy removes the barriers. “She has a sense of urgency to get things done,” Maxey says. “She’s not a bull, and she’s flexible, but when she’s on a mission, she is very focused and directed.” Nancy cares deeply for Roanoke. It is a place that gave her a sense of self, “of just knowing that I could stand on my own two feet and do things for myself,” Roanoke College Magazine

she says. “I think in a way it’s having the opportunity to be on your own. To me, that’s what college is about.” “My whole philosophy of college is that it is the halfway house to life. It’s everything — it’s the people, the teachers, faculty staff, administration. It’s always been to us, an extension of family.” Nancy, who is a member of the steering committee for the upcoming capital campaign, encourages alumni to give

County, Va. John had learned about Paint Bank, a tiny, former railroad town in Craig County, from Don Sutton, who owned property there. The couple bought a former farm in the Paint Bank area that was being used as a hunt camp and started buying additional parcels. “Then we started buying the town,” Nancy explains. At the time, Paint Bank had no place to buy gas or groceries. So the

was enamored with buffalo and the old West, so they bought some buffalo, Nancy says. The herd of massive beasts draws many curious onlookers — and fine diners — to the remote area. The Swinging Bridge menu features buffalo items such as burgers and steaks; the general store sells buffalo meat. John and Nancy Mulheren have bought, restored and/or converted many Paint Bank landmarks or historic

“I thought this little town deserved to be saved.”— Nancy Mulheren

At left, Nancy relaxes at the family cabin in Paint Bank. Above, a mighty buffalo, one of many raised on the Mulheren family farm. At right, all signs point to Paint Bank.

back to Roanoke. “John and I reconnected with the College when we got involved in the renovation of the student center in 1977,” she says. “It’s tremendously rewarding to help shape the school for future students. Much progress has been made, but there’s much more to be done.”

Resurrecting a town Roanoke College is not the only community to benefit from Nancy’s vision and energy. In the 1980s, the Mulherens purchased a farm in Craig Roanoke College Magazine

Mulherens, keen on preserving history, purchased and began renovating a former general store, with plans to add a massive addition for what would become The Swinging Bridge restaurant. After John’s death, Nancy hired a hunting and fishing guide, Josh Duncan, to establish Potts Creek Outfitters on 800 acres the Mulherens owned in West Virginia. The business offers hunting and fishing enthusiasts private vacation packages, including whitetail bow hunting, Eastern gobbler hunting, fly fishing for rainbow trout, float trips on nearby rivers, and fly fishing club memberships. Some ventures stemmed from John’s whims and his desire to keep busy. John

treasures. They bought the former train station and converted it into a lodge for hunters. They bought and converted an old caboose into a quaint guest room. They built a three-bedroom log cabin on Potts Creek, just for lodging, and converted the railroad Section Foreman’s House and a railroad company house into additional lodging. Tingler’s Mill, built in 1863 for grinding corn and wheat, has been partially restored as primarily a decorative fixture. And Nancy has her sights set on resurrecting the former Lemon Hotel. In the early days, locals began calling the town “Yankee Bank,” a derisive reference to the Mulherens’ Northern roots. “People were afraid it was going to become commercialized,” says general manager Mikell Ellison. “Once they 17

saw that the Mulherens were intent on preserving history, the negative comments stopped. Nancy has made it possible for the town to come back to life.” The various endeavors in Paint Bank employ about 40 people, with more added in the summertime, but Nancy’s goal isn’t to make money. “That’s not the point. I’d be happy just to break even,” she says. “I thought this little town deserved to be saved.” Ellison’s only complaint is that she finds it difficult to keep up with Nancy. “She comes into town and wears us out. She puts on Broadway show tunes and

she even slept.” Nancy’s hands-on attitude encompasses all manner of tasks, even ones that might deter the squeamish. “Did she tell you she collects road kill?” whispers an employee. Nancy laughs and says she has indeed stopped to retrieve carcasses such as a fawn, loading it into the back of her SUV and taking it to a taxidermist for stuffing and mounting. It makes perfect sense to Nancy. “It’s illegal to hunt them, but I wanted them for the store’s wildlife display” housed in the upper level of the restaurant, she says.

organizations and many, many small ones. And she has taught the children to do the same.” Although Nancy has a soft heart, she is no pushover. “She also will practice tough love. She wants people to take responsibility for themselves,” Wilson says. “She’s willing to give her time and energy to people who need it and who are willing to work. She changes people’s lives.” Yet, according to Judy Hall, Nancy carefully dodges the spotlight. “The philanthropic things she does, most of us will never know about. Most of her giving is done quietly and anonymously.”

Nancy Mulheren at the Chapel Beach Club in July. Above, the interior of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J. The Mulherens were instrumental in its renovation and Nancy continues to support the theatre. At right, Nancy looks through an old yearbook at the Maroon Club Reception, held during the 2012 Alumni Weekend. To her left is classmate Priscilla Mohan Prosser; to her right is classmate Leslie Nunnally Christopher.

“The philanthropic things she does, most of us will never know about. Most of her giving is done quietly and anonymously.”— Judy Hall ’69 works around the clock. She thinks nothing of driving over the mountain to Walmart at 2 a.m.” Nancy’s generosity and compassion have become legendary in Paint Bank. When Nancy heard that an employee’s home burned, she packed a horse trailer with supplies, drove down from New Jersey and completely outfitted a new home in four days. “Furniture, clothing, linens, kitchen items, appliances… everything,” Ellison says. “I don’t think 18

New Jersey Nancy As in Paint Bank, Nancy has acquired a fairy godmother reputation in Rumson, N.J., and the surrounding communities. Churches, synagogues, struggling businesses, families on hard times, schools and fire departments are among the hundreds of recipients of her generosity. “The Mulherens quietly write checks, not mentioning it or taking credit,” Lisa Wilson says. “Nancy helps some large

Nancy serves on the board of Count Basie Theatre in nearby Red Bank, where John grew up. Renovating the facility was one of John’s goals and Nancy continues supporting the project. She also serves on the board and is a generous contributor to Riverview Medical Center, where her husband was taken after his heart attack. Nancy also is an active supporter of Shore Clubhouse, a Red Bank organization that creates opportunities for people with mental illness. Another pet project is helping with “Stately Homes by the Sea” Designer Show House fundraisers for the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group. In 1996, the Mulherens purchased a 30acre estate to keep its historic mansion from being razed to make way for Roanoke College Magazine

development. In 2007, Nancy donated use of the house for the association’s fundraising event, which netted a record-setting $500,000. A second Designer Show House followed in 2009 in another old mansion that Nancy purchased for the sake of preservation. Again, the event raised $500,000. “She’s there cleaning the toilets,

event features fireworks and a live orchestra. “She has more fun throwing parties for the kids. They do these bingo games and she’s the caller. The kids get amazing prizes like surfboards, iPads and Wii games,” Wilson says. The club sponsors special activities such as a Kid’s Day, with water slides, face-painting, inflatable rides on the

“We learned to be generous from John. That’s his legacy.”— Nancy Mulheren

climbing ladders to straighten things, picking up sticks and leaves. She doesn’t send others to do it; she’s a worker bee,” Wilson says. Much of Nancy’s generosity is motivated by the sheer joy of entertaining others. On the Fourth of July, the Mulherens stage a huge celebration at Chapel Beach Club, a family business that is managed by son Alexander “Sandy” Mulheren ’02, also known as “The Grand Pooh Bah” at the club. The Roanoke College Magazine

beach and a magician — and regular Movie Nights on the beach. A sleepover on the beach, with pitched tents and a big teepee, is held one night each year, a tradition started by John. Nancy says she can’t imagine not supporting the community and feels very fortunate to be able to help. “We learned to be generous from John. That’s his legacy.” It will be Nancy’s as well. RC

THE STUFF OF LEGEND The exploits of John “Slick” Mulheren ’71 are legendary — and still visible on the Roanoke College campus. In the spring of 1970, he masterminded the construction of the Obelisk, a student monument that the administration quietly removed that summer. Refusing to be thwarted, Mulheren rallied more than 300 students to fund a larger monument that fall. “Originally, there was a plaque of the names of the students who contributed. For a $2 donation, you got your name on the plaque,” recalls Nancy Mulheren ’72. The 10-foot-tall concrete pylon, now known as “The Rock,” gradually evolved into its current use as a campus bulletin board, getting painted and repainted with news, slogans and announcements. John Mulheren supposedly took precautions to ensure the second monument wouldn’t be removed. According to legend, the pylon has a chain embedded in its base that wraps around a water main; extracting the pylon would disrupt the campus water supply. He also buried live ammunition around the monument to prevent its being leveled by jackhammers. Other Mulheren pranks were to erect a purloined telephone pole in Bittle Hall and to use the Roanoke College seal in the Commons as a bull’s-eye in an archery target. “That was during his three-week obsession with archery, under the tutelage of [RC Hall of Fame coach] Fran Ramser,” Nancy Mulheren says. John Mulheren didn’t outgrow his love of shenanigans. During an Alumni Weekend, he easily coerced other alumni to help him hoist a Jeep into a tree. Why? “Oh, just for the humor, the shock effect,” says a friend of the Mulherens. Years later, attendees might not remember more mundane things about the weekend, but seeing a Jeep perched in a tree tends to stick in one’s memory. Nancy Mulheren takes delight in the rumors of Slick’s antics. “If it sounds too far-fetched, then it’s probably true,” she says. “He didn’t do anything halfway.” 19

or scientist, engineer and entrepreneur Brooks M. Whitehurst, a lifetime of distinguished career achievements pale in comparison to the joy and gratification he receives from helping other people reach their potential. “It’s very satisfying for me to help young people,” says Whitehurst, of New Bern, N.C., who holds 28 process and product patents. “I like helping them get along in life and become successful.” A recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Science degree during Roanoke College’s Commencement ceremony in May, Whitehurst, 82, is a beloved benefactor, mentor and friend of the Roanoke College Children’s Choir and the College’s Business Administration and Biology departments. Whitehurst is described by Roanoke faculty and staff members as extremely intelligent, highly inventive, and most of all, kind. But among the College students and young choir members — whose questions he answers with patience, sage advice and possibly a joke — he’s seen as a grandfather figure. “He’s grandfatherly — that’s the best way



Mind Kind Heart



I know how to put it,” says faculty member Dr. Michael Smith, director of the Roanoke College Innovation Challenge (RCIC). “Of all the people I invite onto campus to interact with my students, he’s definitely the one who gets the most hugs. He brings a smile to their faces.” Without a doubt, Whitehurst’s professional achievements are remarkable. But it’s his modesty and kindness that people love most about him. “If Brooks sees a need, and it’s a good cause, he’ll respond in a helpful, kind way,” says Roanoke President Michael Maxey. “He’s just a true-blue person who happens to be an outstanding and distinguished scientist, engineer and inventor. He likes to do good in the world.”

AN INNOVATOR AT HEART A 1951 graduate of Virginia Tech, Whitehurst began working for TexasGulf, Inc., in 1967. As manager of engineering services, he led a group of engineers responsible for the first development of ammonium polyphosphate, the primary ingredient in all liquid fertilizer. The group’s Roanoke College Magazine

work, spanning a 15-year period, helped to significantly increase crop yields and related agricultural production on an international scale. After retiring from TexasGulf in 1981, he established Brooks Whitehurst Associates, Inc., with his oldest son, Garnett. In 1995, they made a discovery that could revolutionize agriculture. While attempting to develop new forest fertilization materials that maximize the delivery of plant-growth nutrients, (such as nitrogen and phosphate) they discovered a means of improving fertilizer uptake efficiency. This result means that farming operations – from small micro-farms in Third World countries to huge agri-businesses – could reduce their fertilizer costs by half and reduce their environmental impact, while maintaining crop production. “The trees still get all the food they need, but unwittingly, we improved the efficiency of uptake,” explains Whitehurst, whose work was recognized earlier this year with an award from the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech. “This was an unexpected benefit. You have all the environmental and economic as-

pects that go along with that.” The positive environmental impact alone was astounding — from the fuel and emission reduction of crop-dusting planes to the nitrogen runoff and evaporation. The technology, and the products made from it, are licensed to the international forest products company Weyerhauser, and were first applied to North Carolina pine trees. It’s now used throughout the United States and is being evaluated for international distribution. The materials are currently being tested on a wide range of crops, including rice, cotton and corn, at a number of universities in the southeast United States. Roanoke’s biology department also is involved in the project, analyzing the materials to find scientific explanations for its efficiency. Whitehurst, who has published numerous scholarly articles and delivered dozens of lectures around the world, was appointed Honorary Director General at the InternaAbove, Whitehurst chats with a group of RCIC students on June 14. The students, from Roanoke College, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and Ohio State, discussed their business proposal with Whitehurst.


tional Biographical Centre in Cambridge, England, last year. The organization had listed him among the top 2,000 scientists and engineers of the 20th century in 2001. Inspired by his father, who was an industrial arts teacher, Whitehurst has been an education advocate for the past 38 years. A past appointee to the North Carolina State Advisory Council, Whitehurst took a sabbatical from TexasGulf in 1978 to 1979 to serve as the North Carolina Governor’s Liaison for Education and Business. In this role, he traveled throughout the state promoting the value of partnerships between educational and business entities. Whitehurst and his wife of 61 years, Carolyn, always emphasized the importance of education to their children, Garnett, Anita and Robert. It was a given, Garnett says, that the Whitehurst children would eventually go to college. Garnett holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry; Anita earned an M.S. in business education; and Robert holds an M.D. “Our parents have supported any educational endeavor that my brother and sister and I wanted to engage in, to the fullest extent they could,” Garnett Whitehurst says. “It was highly valued to complete any educational program.” TIES TO ROANOKE COLLEGE The Whitehursts first became acquainted with Roanoke more than 10 years ago, when their granddaughter was a member of the Roanoke College Children’s Choir. The couple was so enamored with the ensemble and its role in enriching young lives that they began making annual donations to support the choir, continuing even after their granddaughter left the choir for college. The Whitehursts’ support has been used to purchase music and equipment, and to allow the choir to participate in competitions and special events throughout the U.S. and abroad. Their contributions also fund 30 scholarships for children who otherwise would not be able to afford to participate in the choir — including children in foster care, children with family members facing serious illness and a Rwandan refugee. “These children are able to come to choir and forget about all that tough stuff,” says choir director Kim Davidson, who frequently sends Whitehurst cards and thank you notes from the children. “They get to sing and be with people who care about 22

Brooks Whitehurst, at center at the 2012 Commencement, shakes hands with Dr. Darwin Jorgensen after his reading of Whitehurst’s honorary degree citation. To Whitehurst’s left is Board of Trustees Chairman Morris Cregger (far left) and Dr. Richard Smith, vice president and dean of the College. President Michael Maxey is at the podium.

them and share the same joy they have for singing. It makes a world of difference for these children.” As Whitehurst’s affection for Roanoke College grew, so did his support for academics. He has facilitated faculty-supervised student research through the establishment of the Whitehurst Growth Fund which has supported numerous scholarly projects over several years. Additionally, Whitehurst has been instrumental in making connections between Roanoke biology faculty and scientists at Weyerhauser and other companies to develop research partnerships and potential internship opportunities. “The Whitehurst Growth Fund has supported numerous scholarly projects, engaging science faculty members on a variety of projects with a common theme,” says Dr. Darwin Jorgensen, Roanoke’s Thornhill Professor of Biology. “That allows faculty to apply their specific expertise to the work and demonstrate for our students the importance of collaboration in scientific research.” A registered professional engineer, Whitehurst’s experience in all phases of product research, development and marketing has made him an asset to Roanoke College’s Innovation Challenge. The program brings together 15 students from Roanoke College and other top academic institutions, including Harvard University, who work in teams to develop a comprehensive business plan for a new product innovation. At the end of the program, the students present their plans to bankers,

venture capitalists and investors to see if they can get start-up capital for the ideas. “For undergraduates, this program is really like an eight-week MBA program,” says Smith, adding that Whitehurst meets with the Innovation Challenge students each summer. “I don’t think we’d have the Innovation Challenge now if it weren’t for Brooks’ support. He’s been a part of the program, he’s believed in it, and he’s helped to keep it going.” Whitehurst believes in the importance of innovation and believes Americans have abandoned the entrepreneurial spirit that built this nation. When he meets with the Innovation Challenge students, he shares his remarkable acumen in business matters and enjoys telling them stories about American pioneers, such as Ford Motor Co. founder Henry Ford, whose ingenuity led to revolutionary advancements in the automotive industry. “That innovation is the kind of thing that has been needed and is part of our economic problem today,” Whitehurst says. “People are creative and they have imaginations — computers and iPhones don’t. That’s the thing that seems to have been forgotten in our country.” Then the man described by his son Garnett as a person who is “able to carry on a conversation for hours” pauses a moment and adds: “I do tell the students lots of stories. Grandparents are always supposed to tell the grandchildren stories. That technique apparently works for me.” RC Roanoke College Magazine

Doug Rohrbeck at the site of the Jan. 19 Republican Presidential Debate in Myrtle Beach, S.C., sponsored by Fox News.

BY J E N N Y K I N C A I D B O O N E ’ 0 1

DRIVEN BY Doug Rohrbeck ’97 had just returned home from a gym workout, when he heard the sound of a door swinging shut. He thought someone had barged into his Arlington, Va. apartment. Quickly, he figured out that about a mile away, a plane had slammed into the Pentagon. Though it was his day off as a producer at Fox News Channel (FNC), Rohrbeck hopped on his bike — traffic was bad and roads were closed — rode to the Pentagon and found a Fox camera crew shooting the disaster. He threw the videotape into his bag and took off by bike to the cable television network’s offices near the U.S. Capitol. The footage was on air in minutes. Rohrbeck spent the rest of that historic day, Sept. 11, 2001, biking from news conference to news conference on Capitol Hill and calling Fox’s newsroom with information that anchors would broadcast to the nation. It was one of the defining moments in Rohrbeck’s career. And it reflects the


Rohrbeck, seated next to “Special Report” host Bret Baier (in dark suit), at a morning staff meeting in May.

way he continues to approach his job in the fast-paced world of national television news. “It’s a passion and if you’re passionate about what you do, then I think you give 110 percent,” Rohrbeck said in a phone interview from his Washington, D.C. office. Rohrbeck, 37, is executive producer of the 6 p.m. Fox News show, “Special Report with Bret Baier.” He directs a staff of news writers, bookers and producers in the network’s D.C. bureau. Each day his team plans the show’s news lineup. The hour-long weekday broadcast, one of FNC’s top news programs, has about 2.1 million viewers every evening. The job is custom fit for Rohrbeck, a D.C. native and a Roanoke English major, who thrives on creating ways to condense stories into on-air news content that relays valuable information to viewers nationwide. Most days, he leaves his home in Alexandria, Va., where he moved in 2004, at 7 a.m. He often returns at 7 p.m. or later. Rohrbeck also travels extensively for the news network. He and his team spent much of the past winter months in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, covering the Republican primaries and GOP debates. Rohrbeck also is FNC’s executive producer of several politics-related news events, including presidents’ state of the union addresses and election coverage. Rohrbeck said he finds covering election news especially exhilarating. It “is such as an amazing process of democracy and watching folks vote,” he said. “When we announce winners and losers…that moment is just a special moment.” A year after he graduated from Roanoke, Rohrbeck landed

PASSION his first gig at Fox, where he booked guests for news shows. That was 14 years ago. Since then, he has worked his way up the network’s ladder as producer for a variety of news shows. He was promoted to executive producer at Special Report in 2010. “It’s an extremely competitive business,” said Bryan Boughton, chief of Fox’s Washington D.C. bureau. “Doug is always looking for that next thing he has to come up with or change to keep the show exciting.” That includes creating Special Reports’ online Wednesday evening news shows and bumping up the show’s story count to pack in as much news as possible. Stories must be concise, yet still have a high news quality, Boughton said. Before Baier, Rohrbeck worked closely with former Special Report anchor Brit Hume to create ways to draw more television viewers.

Roanoke College Magazine

Nationally, Fox commands the largest audience of cable news networks. In 2011, Fox outpaced CNN and MSNBC in total viewers during the primetime hours of 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday, according to Nielsen Media Research. Rohrbeck’s love for the news business stems from his affinity for telling stories. But television news initially was not in his career plan. By his last year at Roanoke, Rohrbeck had decided to try his hand at teaching high school English. Dr. Paul Hanstedt, a Roanoke College English professor, remembers Rohrbeck’s irreverent yet insightful personality. He was the kind of student who performed best when challenged and did not take easy answers, Hanstedt said. “We specialize in people who come searching for who they are,” Hanstedt said. Rohrbeck also was a good storyteller, who weaved humor into one story for Hanstedt’s creative writing class about a child who pretended to be a superhero. The story was an engaging read, Hanstedt said. After Roanoke, Rohrbeck worked as a student teacher at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke County. At the same time, he landed an internship at WSLS 10, the NBC TV affiliate in the Roanoke and Lynchburg region. Rohrbeck quickly discovered his passion — the news business. At WSLS, “I liked the idea that every day there’s something new,” he said. That was a turning point for Rohrbeck. He moved to the nation’s capital in search of a television news job. Fox hired him, and his career at the network took off. Rohrbeck, who now is married with a young daughter and son, maintains that his focus at Fox is staying ahead of competitors and finding innovative ways to deliver the news via social media and on television. He’s also skilled at delegating social media tasks to staffers who understand the mediums and can fit the work into their day, Boughton said. “I think his role at Special Report has been one of his defining roles here,” Boughton said. Rohrbeck compared working at Fox with the close environment on Roanoke’s campus, where classes are small and professors are excited about teaching. “I have a team. I’m looking to motivate them and get them excited about their job,” Rohrbeck said. “We want to push ourselves to break stories. We want to get news first. I learned that sort of passion at Roanoke.” RC

“We want to push ourselves to break stories. We want to get news first. I learned that sort of passion at Roanoke.”


New residence hall opens in fall term By Jenny Kincaid Boone ’01


fresh option for Roanoke College living — and a major step toward the College’s goal of bolstering its position as a leading residential liberal arts college — debuts this fall. The College’s newest and largest residence hall, located next to the Caldwell Allegheny Ritter complex (C.A.R.), will open in August, providing new housing for 243 Roanoke students. Nitra Eastby ’14 is one of them, and she can’t wait to move in. The Roanoke athletic training major will return to campus after a year renting a house in Salem. For her, the new campus digs are ideal. Eastby wanted to live closer to her classes and to the Bast Center, where she works as a student trainer. “It wasn’t beneficial for me to be off campus anymore,” said Eastby, who also competed on Roanoke’s cross country and indoor track teams in the fall and winter. “My schedule was so busy.” College officials anticipate that the new 82,700-square-foot, state-of-the- art residence hall will bring Roanoke closer to its goal of housing 75 percent of students on campus, said Dr. Eugene Zdziarski, vice president of Student Affairs at Roanoke. The new hall will significantly increase the College’s residential capacity and provide a variety of living options. Eastby initially was not keen on trading the amenities of off-campus living space for a traditional dorm room. But her home in the new residence hall will give her the 26


FINE L Roanoke College Magazine

best of both worlds — apartment living steps away from her classes. She landed a first-floor apartment in the new hall, where she will live with three friends. The space includes four single bedrooms, a lounge area, a kitchen and two bathrooms. “The apartments really changed my mind about going back on campus,” said Eastby of Farmville,Va. Her new apartment is directly across

College officials anticipate that the new 82,700-square-foot, state-of-the-art residence hall will bring Roanoke closer to its goal of housing 75 percent of students on campus.


from Donald J. Kerr Stadium, where she will spend many afternoons in the fall as a student trainer for Roanoke’s soccer team. Already, Roanoke’s newest residence hall is proving to be a popular space. The College Gothic-style building was the first to fill up during the spring housing selection process, beating out other in-demand spaces, including Afton and Elizabeth halls, both all-apartment residence halls. The neighboring C.A.R. is the next largest Roanoke residential facility, with space for 156 students. But the new residence hall — unnamed for now — brings features that students have never seen at Roanoke. Its look incorporates many of the latest trends in college residence hall design. Construction began last spring on the four-story structure, which features a front lobby, numerous energy-efficient features and three different living styles. Variety is the theme. The $15.5 million

Clockwise from top: Dr. Gene Zdziarski points out features in the wing for Honors Program students. A common kitchen area in the new residence hall. Detail of the exterior. Nitra Eastby, a junior, landed a first-floor apartment in the new hall, where she will live with three friends. Behind her is the new residence hall.

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Left, a worker programs the residence hall’s HVAC system. Right, a bathroom in the new residence hall.

structure includes a mix of suites, quads and apartments. Suites consist of two double bedrooms, with a shared bathroom. Each quad houses 12 to 15 students with a large kitchen and common space surrounded by single and double bedrooms. There also are three apartments in the building, each housing four students.

build close-knit communities. A wing exclusive to Honors Program students is one example of a small community within the new residence hall. Situated to the right of the building, the wing’s first floor houses a kitchen, lounge, classroom and offices as well as a twobedroom apartment for a faculty member. Also, there are quads with single

Roanoke’s new residence hall is configured to give students opportunities to build close-knit communities. The idea of including different living styles under one roof is simple: Students don’t want to live in a drab dormitory where every room looks the same. Colleges across the country are replacing aging residence halls built in the 1950s and 1960s with halls that contain modern features and spaces that break up these structures into small communities, according to Building Design + Construction, a magazine for the building industry. Roanoke’s new residence hall is configured to give students opportunities to 28

and double bedrooms on the second and third floors for students in Honors. “Literally a student could move into this building as a freshman and stay here all four years,” with the option of moving to different spaces, Zdziarski said. Along with a unique design, the new residence hall will be the first green student housing space at Roanoke. The building is registered for certification as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project, due in part to water-saving plumbing, energy-efficient and natural lighting, and carpet made

with 66 percent recycled content. According to College Planning & Management magazine, which highlights sustainability as a major residence hall design trend at campuses nationwide, students who’ve grown up with an interest in environmentalism are increasingly demanding greener residences. Once certified, the new hall at Roanoke will be the second LEED building on campus, along with Lucas Hall, which reopened after renovations in 2010. The state-of-the-art building also will house a front lobby that will be manned in the evenings, flat panel televisions in hallways and tan ceramic tile floors and walls in the bathrooms. Roanoke hired an interior designer to match colors, furnishings and other items. Even so, Roanoke students had a hand in determining the hall’s look. Last spring, they rated four different color schemes for the building’s interior. Rather than choosing a brightly-colored palette, the majority of students voted for earth tone hues of tan, yellow, lime green and teal for wall paint and carpet. Each floor has a different color scheme. The warm colors define the new hall’s modern ambience and invite students to settle in. “Students said, ‘It feels more like home,’” Zdziarski said. RC Roanoke College Magazine

sportsnews Second base/outfielder Alea Bier in game against Montclair State.


We started [the season] off with only 12 players and I think everyone kind of counted us out in the ODAC just because there were only 12 of us.


Maroonsplace4thinchampionship THE ROANOKE MAROONS SOFTBALL TEAM finished the season in a manner most people never expected — in the NCAA Division III Championship tournament, the “World Series” of softball. The team — dubbed “The Dirty Dozen” by their competitors because of their short team roster — finished fourth in the tournament. Eight teams competed. Roanoke’s magical post-season run at the NCAA Div. III Softball Championship came to an end after a 6-1 loss to No. 3-ranked Linfield College on May 20, the third day of the tournament. The Maroons ended the season with a record of 35-11. The team is the 14th in Roanoke College history to reach the final four in their respective sport. They are also the third women’s program to garner the accomplishment. Roanoke first claimed the ODAC title on May 14 with a 7-2 win over Bridgewater College. Freshman pitcher Kelly Higbie ’15 was named the ODAC tournament’s Most Valuable Player. After winning the ODAC, Roanoke won the NCAA Div. III Newport News Regional Tournament to advance to the 2012 NCAA Softball Championship, which is hosted by the City of Salem. By the time the team made it back to Salem for the tournament, they’d lost one player who’d traveled to India for her May term course. That left just 11 players — two back-ups on the bench compared to the 10 or more back-up players on most of

Maroons Softball Team celebrates after claiming ODAC title on May 14.

the other teams in the tournament. “We started [the season] off with only 12 players and I think everyone kind of counted us out in the ODAC just because there were only 12 of us. But we’re a spunky little 12,” Felice Lowery ’12, Roanoke’s catcher, told The Roanoke Times. In an ultimate pitchers’ duel, Roanoke College defeated Roanoke College Magazine

sportsnews FAST BALL

3 Questions for Kelly Higbie AS ROANOKE’S STAR PITCHER on the Women’s Softball Team, Kelly Higbie ’15 attracted loads of attention in the 2012 season. A sophomore from Midlothian, Va., Higbie led the team to the NCAA Division III Championship for the first time since 2001. Higbie’s season accomplishments include a .300 batting average, an earned run average of 1.39 and an impressive record of 3010. She also earned a spot on the 2012 NCAA Division III Softball Championship All-Tournament Team, among students from Linfield College, Montclair State University, Tufts University, Pacific Lutheran University and Ohio Northern University. Higbie was also named All-ODAC, All-ODAC Tournament Team, All-NCAA Newport News Regional Team, All-Atlantic Region, CoODAC Rookie of the Year and ODAC Pitcher of the Week. Q: What about softball and the position of pitcher interest you? A: I started T-ball when I was 5 or 6, and I moved to slow-pitch at [age] 8. Then I started travel when I was 10. I have an older brother, so I’ve always been competitive and played sports. Then I found softball and really enjoyed it. I’ve been a pitcher from the get-go. I think that’s kept me engaged. When I was younger I played all the positions like everybody else, but probably in middle school, and into high school, I started really focusing on pitching. I started to develop different pitches, and I thought it was really fun and interesting, so I just kept with it. Q: Why did you decide to play softball at Roanoke? A: I got recruited for softball, and I actually didn’t really know anything about Roanoke. I’ve grown up playing at Moyer [Sports Complex, Salem, Va.]. I played 10-and-under and 12-and-under tournaments there, and I had no idea Roanoke was up the road. But some of the [Roanoke] coaches approached me and said “Come check it out.” Once I stepped on campus, I loved it — it was so pretty. And

No. 8-ranked Tufts University, 1-0 in the opening round of the championship tournament. Higbie pitched a one-hitter in her 34th complete game of the season. She faced 25 batters and struck out three. The Roanoke fielders helped tremendously in the one-hitter as they kept Tufts from getting a single ball out of the infield. Rhea Schleicher ’15, Stephanie Clark ’12, Alea Bier ’12 and Hollee Warlitner ’15 each finished with one hit. Schleicher scored the lone run for Roanoke, while Warlitner’s double tallied the team’s only RBI. Roanoke fell in the second game to Montclair State University 2-0. The Maroons were only able to tally two hits with a double by Leona Rainey ’12 and a single by Stephanie Clark. Higbie pitched her 35th complete game. With her four strikeouts on the evening, Hibgie broke the Roanoke single-season strikeouts record, tallying 136. She passes Lyndsi Craig, who struck out 132 batters in 2006. In another close game, Roanoke won over Luther College, a fellow Lutheran institution, 2-0 on the afternoon of May 20 to advance to another game that evening. Higbie earned a spot on the 2012 NCAA Div. III Softball Championship AllTournament Team for her work inside the circle and at the plate. Higbie went 3-for-3 in the Maroons 2-0 victory over Luther College. She also pitched two complete game shutouts during the Championship round as well. The success of Maroons softball and the excitement of the NCAA Championship tournament led to a serious case of softball fever throughout the Roanoke College Magazine

Higbie fires up during the NCAA Div. III Championship game against Luther College.

then I met some of the girls here, and I seemed to get along with them pretty well, so it was just a good fit. Q: What are your goals for next year? A: I’m excited for next year. This year we came into it, and we only had 12 girls and 11 at the World Series, so people weren’t really expecting much of us. It was definitely fun to be the underdog and to prove people [wrong], but now we kind of have the target on our back. [For next year] we have high expectations, which is good, but it’s just a different approach than this year.

College community. Many softball alumnae returned to Salem to support their team. The Maroon Club sponsored tailgate events to allow fans to come together during the weekend. President and First Lady Mike and Terri Maxey were spotted cheering from the front row. Faculty and staff came from their classes and offices to cheer on the Maroons. Even though many students were traveling with May term and some had gone home for the summer, a good number of them made it out for the games, coloring the stands with maroon shirts and banners.



(12 RC players in the regular season) • 11 RC players at the Softball Championships the final four in their respective sport • 14th team in Roanoke College history to reach in their respective sport • 3rd RC women’s program to reach the final four Series, was 30-10 • Pitcher Kelly Higbie’s record, including World 1; conference record was 13-5 • Overall season record for the Maroons was 35-1 g average for the Maroons .404 • Stephanie Clark held the best individual battin • Total RC team runs for the season was 292 pionships • 1,500 fans per RC game of the Softball Cham 31


Maroon Club off to an impressive start

Brad Moore, assistant director of Athletics for External Relations, left, and Scott Allison, director of Athletics, right, at Maroon Club launch during the 2012 Alumni Weekend.

Maroon Club Chairman and Board of Trustees member Donald Kerr ’60, left, with Page Moir, men’s basketball coach.

THE MAROON CLUB kicked off in a big way during Alumni Weekend 2012, making an official launch at the Hall of Fame reception on April 13. The kick-off was followed by several more events that weekend, including the 1972 Men’s Basketball National Championship Team brunch at the Salem Civic Center on April 14, the men’s and women’s soccer alumni games and the men’s tennis alumni match. Later that afternoon at Kerr Stadium, the Maroon Club hosted a kick-off reception at the Sutton Terrace, overlooking the field where the men’s and women’s lacrosse teams were part of a regular season doubleheader. Since then, Maroon Club memberships

Dr. Eugene Zdziarski, vice president of Student Affairs, daughter Laura Ann Zdziarski ’13 and Stephanie Vogel ’13 chat with Carl Sherertz ’42.


have grown to nearly 300. Roanoke College Director of Athletics Scott Allison ’79 marveled at the momentum generated by recent events. “The outpouring of support for our studentathletes has been nothing short of overwhelming,” Allison said. “In addition to the pride we all have in our alma mater, I always knew there was passion for Roanoke College Athletics. The Maroon Club provides the ‘Maroon Nation’ a mechanism to express that passion.” During the 2012 NCAA Division III Softball Championship Tournament, the Maroon Club hosted social activities for alumni, faculty, staff, parents of student-athletes and fans. Activities included a pregame party and a hospitality tent just outside the City of Salem’s Moyer Sports Complex, site of the tournament. Moving forward, the Maroon Club is planning to sponsor a special year-long event: “100 years of Roanoke College Hoops.” A committee will vote on the all-decade teams and present them at the tip-off reception just before the start of the 2012-2013 basketball season. During the season, the Maroon Club will recognize several former players and teams at each home event. From season’s beginning to end, fans will be treated to in-game presentations, Internet features and historical vignettes on the Maroons’ “Tuesday Night Live” talk show. Roanoke fans from every era are invited to take part in the year-long celebration. A dedicated 100th Anniversary website on the Maroons Athletics home page will be launched this fall. Fans can find information on legendary teams, athletes, coaches and moments spanning program history, and vote on Roanoke’s 20-man “All-Century Team.” — Brad Moore

The Maroon Club had a fantastic launch during Alumni Weekend.

Roanoke College Magazine



BASEBALL 16-19, 7-9 ODAC



SOFTBALL 35-11, 1st ODAC Championships, 4th place NCAA Division III Championship Tournament


ON MAY 26, CARMEN GRAVES ’13 made NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field history in the 800-meter run. Graves finished fourth in the women’s 800 meter race at the Div. III Outdoor Track & Field National Championship in Claremont, Calif., with a time of 2 minutes, 8.45 seconds. Graves’ fourth-place finish earned her the title of All-American. Her qualifying time (2:07.32) was the sixth fastest time in Div. III history. Her time also was the overall fastest in Div. III for the 2012 season. The outstanding time sent Graves to the national championship as the No. 1 seed, or the highest ranked 800-meter runner. The trip marked Graves’ third time at the championship and Roanoke’s sixth time since 2006. Last year, Graves placed ninth in the 800 at the NCAA Div. III Outdoor Championship, one place shy of earning the title of All-American.


Graves races to fourth place in national championship

Carmen Graves (3), far right, at the finish line of the 800 meter race during the Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship on May 26. Emily Schudrowitz (5) of St. Norbert College edges out Keelie Finnel (7) of Coe College.


College hires new baseball coach

12-6, 7-3 ODAC


GOLF 2nd ODAC Championships, Brandon Ketron ’12 named Medalist (Tournament Champion) Note: As of June 18, 2012

MATT MCGUIRE will serve as the new head coach of the Roanoke College Baseball program. He replaces Larry Wood, who retired after the 2012 season. “We are very pleased to have Matt join our program,” said Scott Allison, director of Athletics. “His baseball pedigree, coupled with his knowledge of both the ODAC and Roanoke Valley baseball scenes, allows us to hit the ground running. Matt stands ready to lead our program to new heights, on and off the field.” McGuire earned his stripes with several stints as an assistant coach. He returns to the Roanoke Valley after a year at ODAC rival Randolph-Macon College and a three-year post at Ferrum College. During the 2007-08 season, McGuire served as an assistant at Tennessee Wesleyan College (NAIA). The Bulldogs won the Appalachian Athletic Conference (AAC) regular-season and tournament championship.

RC | sportsfacts • Sarah Witt ’12 and Brandon Ketron ’12 earned the ODAC’s top honors in May. Witt, RC women’s track athlete, was recognized as the Marjorie Berkley Award winner, while golfer Brandon Ketron was tabbed the winner of the Harry G. “Doc” Jopson Award. The Marjorie Berkley and Harry G. “Doc” Jopson Scholar-Athlete Awards are given each spring to member colleges’ seniors and conference sport participants who exhibit the highest athletic, academic and extracurricular achievements. • Roanoke College First Team All-ODAC selection, Elizabeth Hartge ’12, was named to the 2012 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association North/South All-Star Game. Hartge was a member of the South Squad when the team played on June 16. • US Lacrosse selected Gina Valles ‘11 to compete and earn a place on the 2012-14 U.S. women’s national team. The second and final round of tryouts were held July 27-29 on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Valles was the only Div. III player to be selected for tryouts. • Jeff Keating’12 and Eric DeLong ’13 each netted a goal for the winning South team in the 2012 United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Senior North/South game on May 25 at Harvard University. The South team defeated the North 14-13.

For the latest scores, go to

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“His baseball pedigree, coupled with his knowledge of both the ODAC and Roanoke Valley baseball scenes, allows us to hit the ground running.” In 2006-07 McGuire joined his collegiate coach, Marlin Ikenberry, at Division I Virginia Military Institute. The Keydets posted their first wins over ranked opponents that season, defeating No. 3 Virginia and No. 10 Auburn. VMI set the school record for wins that year. In addition to the wins over the Cavaliers and the Tigers, the Keydets defeated the University of Florida. “I am extremely excited to be coming home to the Valley and landing my first head coaching position at Roanoke College,” McGuire said. “I’ve known about the program for ten years. I am very anxious to get started.” McGuire earned a bachelor’s degree in 2003 from the College of William & Mary, where he played baseball for the Tribe. A Vinton, Va. native, McGuire was a standout at William Byrd High School. 33


Roanoke College magazine welcomes news of your recent accomplishments and/or transitions. You can write to us at: Office of Alumni Relations, Roanoke College, 221 College Lane, Salem, VA 24153-3794; call us toll-free at 1-866-RCAlums; fax us at 540-375-2398; email us at or update your record online at Due to space constraints and time between

Dr. Richard H. Dillard ’58 professor of English at Hollins University, was among winners of the 2012 Perry F. Kendig Award for Outstanding Support of the Arts, presented by the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge. Dillard is a highly regarded poet and writer of fiction and critical essays. He has taught creative writing, literature and film studies at Hollins since 1964 and has won numerous awards for his writing. The Perry F. Kendig Award, named for the late Roanoke College president and Roanoke Valley arts patron, was established in 1985 to recognize examples of support, involvement, and accomplishment in the arts, and to inform the community about significant contributions to the arts in the Roanoke Valley region.

issues, submissions to Alumni News might appear in an upcoming issue of the magazine. Editorial contributions are welcome but subject to editing. Photographs may be used as space permits, submitted in print or digital format. Digital photos must be 1 MB in size or larger. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee return of contributed materials. We look forward to hearing from you!

1960s Mary Moses Rieger ’62 retired from James City County after 29 years as a legal technician in the county attorney’s office. She resides in Williamsburg, Va., and enjoys ballroom dancing, reading, music and theater. Mary Beth Kershner Cox ’66 owns and operates Ship’s Hatch Inc., an upscale military gift store in Crystal City, near the Pentagon. She and her husband, Tom, live in Lorton, Va., and have two children and two grandchildren.

His daughter, Carolyn ’14, is a student at Roanoke College. Frank Stapleton ’73 has practiced dentistry in Pleasantville, N.Y., for more than 30 years. He is developing a computer program for an integrated dental health scoring system that should improve dental management and patient care. He says that Roanoke College greatly helped him in making important developments in his project. He and his wife, Maureen, have been married for 30 years and have two sons, Francis, a graduate of Duke University School of Law, and Colin, who will start law school in the fall. Karen Sohl ’74 is corporate risk manager and manager of training and development for Chemetall US Inc., in New Providence, N.J. She is secretary of the board of trustees of the New Jersey Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Man-

agement Society. Kim Hupfeldt ’75 lives in Palmetto, Fla., where she has a handmade jewelry business and participates in art festivals around the state. Lindsey Porter Jones ’75 retired from Roanoke County Schools after a 33-year career. She celebrated her marriage to Larry Bowman in March 2011, and they reside in Blacksburg.

1980s The Rev. Dr. William W. Boldin ’83 earned his doctor of ministry from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond. His final project was “Theologia Crucis: Luther’s Theology of the Cross as a Tool for Coping with Traumatic Stress.” William is a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and serves as chaplain/director of pastoral care for Retreat Doctor’s Hospital in Richmond. He and his wife, Brenda Morris Boldin ’82, live in Mechanicsville. continued on page 36

1970s Nicholas A. Boccella ’71 was appointed to serve a three-year term as chairman of the board of trustees of Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation. He and his wife, Fran, have been active volunteers with the hospital, a provider of rehabilitation services for children with special needs. Nicholas is senior vice president and portfolio manager with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Florham Park, N.J. Wayne Miesen ’71 is the command master chief for a combined Coast Guard and Navy task group, performing maritime security operations in Kuwait.


Elizabeth Douglas Medcalf ’82, of Frostburg, Md., and a group of her classmates realized that they would not be able to attend their 30th reunion at the 2012 Alumni Weekend, so they planned one of their own. Themed “Still Spiffy After all These Years,” they met in Northern Virginia. Pictured from left are: Jennifer Riley Means ‘82, of Atlanta; Sheila Dambroski ‘82, of Springfield, Va.; Karen Olson ‘82, of North Haven, Conn.; Holly Smith Beck ‘82, of Carnation, Wash.; Medcalf; Larry Beck, of Carnation; Lee Keely (Sheila’s husband), of Springfield; James Kelly ‘82, of Park Ridge, N.J.; Travis Medcalf, of Frostburg; and Sally Glass, of Arlington, Va., who was part of the Class of 1982, but transferred in her junior year. Earlier in the evening, the group also Skyped with Brenda Morris Boldin ‘82 and the Rev. Dr. William Boldin ‘83 of Mechanicsville, Va., who were unable to attend in person.

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After decorated career,Brooks enters“phase3”


The theater prepared John Brooks gained other titles at Brooks ’70 for a career as a U.S. Northrop, including deputy diAir Force pilot and international rector of the Washington, D.C. communicator. bureau. In 2007, he joined the Brooks majored in fine arts, global ranks as vice president of with an emphasis in drama, at international business developRoanoke College. He acted in ment and president of Northrop numerous plays at Roanoke, Grumman International. but he took a particular interest Brooks often moved from in directing. time zone to time zone for two While acting boosted his weeks straight. He traveled confidence, directing plays reabout 300,000 miles a year, quired taking “a group of peosome days returning home from ple, resources and a plan and Europe with only 12 hours to creating an effect,” Brooks said. change suitcases and jump on a At Roanoke, he said he flight to Japan or Australia. “learned how to learn.” Those Brooks’ strong diplomacy skills shaped his decorated caskills boosted Northrop’s global reer. reach. Much of Brooks’ life has in“John was the kind of person volved performing and directwho could build a relationship ing, first for his country and with anyone,”Curiel said. “He later, for Northrop Grumman was a great student of the culCorp., a defense and technology ture that he was engaging with.” John Brooks and his wife, Gayle Mansfield Brooks ’71, in Hout Bay, South Africa. company that designs and manBrooks’ travel schedule has ufactures military aircraft and spacecraft, command and coneased since retirement, but he hasn’t slowed down. He trol systems, and defense electronics. Brooks retired as vice launched a blog at, where he writes daily president of international business development and president about wine, wineries and people associated with wine. For a of Northrop Grumman Internaseries this summer, he highlighted tional in December. U.S. wines, traveling to New York, He landed at Northrop after 28 Washington and Oregon. Later years in the Air Force, flying this year, he’ll visit California and planes, commanding airlift units France. and directing complex defense Brooks also is an aerospace operations, including humanitarconsultant for several companies. ian relief. He won many medals, “I think it’s important to have a including the Defense Distinfocus, particularly if you come out guished Service Medal, the Disof a relatively demanding positinguished Service Medal and the tion and career,” said Brooks, who Legion of Merit. lives in Haymarket, Va. He and his Brooks joined the Air Force in 1972, a year after he married wife have two daughters and three grandchildren. his college sweetheart, Gayle Mansfield Brooks ’71. The Air Even so, Brooks saw one of his major Northrop projects Force became his passion. come full circle in late May. “The commitment, the purpose, the teamwork, the serving Northrop signed a contract to build NATO’s Ground Sura higher calling, started to really make sense to me,” said veillance system, an unmanned, aerial vehicle that surveys geBrooks, who retired from the Air Force in 2000 as major genographic areas to show ground activity. The system would help eral and special assistant to the chief of staff. during conflicts and disaster response, Brooks said. A week later, he became director of Air Force programs for Brooks was one of its main drivers, Curiel said. Northrop. “A great deal of the reason why it was ultimately signed and “His time in the Air Force helped inform the person that he approved this year was because of the intensive diplomacy that became” at Northrop, said Cynthia Curiel, who is vice presihe developed,” she said. — JENNY KINCAID BOONE ’01 dent of communications for the company’s aerospace business.

“Ithinkit’simportant tohaveafocus,particularly ifyoucomeoutof arelativelydemanding positionandcareer.”

Roanoke College Magazine




Diana Stewart Friedlander ’90 built a home in Nosara, Costa Rica, 11 years ago. She enjoys surfing and the “pura vida.” Mary Scharfenstein Ebert ’93 was selected by ABC-TV’s “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” as the family photographer for a build in Lincolnton, N.C., in December 2011. The show will air during ABC’s “Home for the Holidays” in December 2012. Mary Ebert Photography is located in Charlotte, N.C., and focuses on newborn, children, family and pet portraiture. Clayton M. Craft ’97 has released his first novel, “The Hawkeneye.” The young adult fantasy novel, written after years of reflection on his childhood survival of cancer, is available through and Clayton is vice president of privately held investments for SunTrust Bank in Western Virginia. Jason M. Bishop ’99 was promoted to assistant vice president of human


Drew Stevenson ’97 has been named coach of the first Men’s Lacrosse program at Robert Morris University in Chicago. The program is scheduled to begin competition in the spring of 2013. A member of the Men’s Lacrosse team at Roanoke, Stevenson helped launch the Brother Rice High School boy’s lacrosse program on the south side of Chicago. Prior to that, he spent seven seasons at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. In 2008, Stevenson founded Chicago Youth Lacrosse to provide youth lacrosse opportunities to the young men and women of downtown Chicago. Stevenson and his wife Kristin have a son, Kyle.

resources with Bank of Botetourt. An eight-year employee of the bank, he previously served as head teller, consumer banker and human resources officer. Prior to that, he had worked in the insurance industry. Jason and his wife, Shannon, live in Troutville.

2000s S. Graham Simmons ’01 has been promoted to Member at the Norris McLaughlin & Marcus, P.A. law firm. Simmons, of Easton, Pa., practices in the primary areas of business law, mergers and acquisitions, real estate and land use, banking and financial services, and health care. In 2004, Simmons earned his J.D. magna cum laude from Villanova University School of Law, where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif, a scholastic society for law students. Jessica Hickham Roffe ’03 is space planner with Victoria’s Secret Beauty Brand. She is president of the Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter of New York City. Melissa J. Carr ’05 travels throughout Virginia as a presenter of Advanced Placement chemistry material, helping Advanced Placement chemistry students prepare for tests. Scott Kulick ’06 is completing a master’s degree in jazz performance at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College. His wife, Erin Taylor Kulick ’06 is a veterinarian at Howard Beach Animal Clinic in Queens, N.Y. Devin A. Bunn ’07 is a third-year medical student at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Princeton, W.Va. Steven J. Cody ’07 is enrolled in the art history master’s program at the University of Maryland. Holly Jones ’08 is serving in her first coaching position with the Lady Govs tennis team at Nelson County (Va.) High School. Matt Jones ’09 is bank officer with

Bank of Botetourt. He joined the bank in 2009 and has worked in the credit administration and accounting departments. Paul Kentner ’10, of Salem, is an underwriter technician with ACE Insurance in Basking Ridge, N.J. Brenton C. Austin ’11 will enter the Charlotte School of Law this fall. Abby C. Brdlik ’11 is employed with Coulter Associates in McLean, Va. Matt Carpenter ’11 is a clerk for the Connecticut state legislature. Sarah P. Cody ’11 is in graduate school at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tenn. Justin DeLar ’11 is with the help desk technical support team at Cegedim Group. Eric Finch ’11 resides in Falls Church, Va., and is employed with Neff Rental, a construction equipment rental company. Jillian L. Foerster ’11 is a volunteer with Brethren Volunteer Service. She currently resides in Yei, South Sudan,

where she is involved with a two-year peace building project, Reconcile International. Cathleen Gruver ’11, of Ashburn, Va., is a graduate student in the master’s program of interior design at Marymount University in Arlington. Azalea Joyner ’11 is pursuing a juris doctor at Suffolk University Law School and is enrolled in a master’s degree program at Sawyer Business School. Megan Maier ’11 is enrolled in the physical therapy doctorate program at Lynchburg College. Cyrus R. Martin ’11 is working for Apple in Denver, Colo., and is interning for Greenpeace. Emily Martin Keogh ’11 teaches in the Botetourt County School system. She and Justin Keogh ’09 were married Sept. 24, 2011. Erin L. Nelson ’11 is a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs where she is enrolled in the sports medicine program. Laura J. Pope ’11 is enrolled in the master’s degree program in industrial and organizational psychology at Radford University. She has an assistantship with the university provost. Gregory M. Roll ’11 is sports information assistant at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Cailin Watters ’11 is sales assistant in the Advanced Platforms Division at Cablevision. She lives in Darien, Conn. Emma Wilson ’11 completed her second semester at the University of continued on page 38


Linton Smith ’83 has worked with local municipalities in three states for more than 28 years as an employee of the U.S. Department of Transportation and Office of Secretary of State. He also has worked as a consultant for the federal government and has experience working in medical equipment manufacturing, hospital management and church administration. A tireless volunteer, he has worked with the Savannah (Ga.) Chamber of Commerce, served on the boards of the Bull Street Renovation Committee and the Metropolitan Planning Commission for Chatham County, and is a member of the Chatham Emergency Management Agency’s executive committee. He received a NIMS (National Incident Management System) certification from FEMA last year and holds other certifications from Georgia and National Governmental Finance Associations, Georgia Municipal Association and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. Linton is an avid fisherman and enjoys history, reading, foreign languages, cooking and spending time with his children. John Wesley Gray Jr. ’84 completed a master’s degree in real estate and finance at Georgetown University in May 2011. He is managing director of Gray Diversified Asset Management, Inc. in McLean, Va.

Claire Catlett ’08 is living in southwest New Mexico as an AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America). Claire is with the Office of Surface Mining’s Western Hardrock Watershed Team (WHWT), a coalition of community/watershed improvement groups, confronting the challenges that remain from historic mining in the West. Claire is working with a WHWT serving the Gila Resources Information Project, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group that draws on local support and private foundations to promote community health and protect quality of life. Claire is responsible for fostering a relationship between the community and its environment through educational outreach programs with schools, community, non-profit and government organizations. Claire is pictured here (at center in orange shirt) at the 42nd Annual Earth Day in Silver City, N.M. with local children at the Rolling Rivers watershed learning station.

Roanoke College Magazine


History runs in her genes “Someparentsmightask, ‘Whatareyougoingtodowith ahistorymajor?,’butmydad imaginedthepossibilities.”

As a child, Gretchen Stelzel Winterer ’05 spent family vacations traipsing across Civil War battlefields from Manassas to Gettysburg. “I hated it,” recalls Gretchen, who would have preferred spending time at more child-friendly spots, such as Disney World, or, say, Colonial Williamsburg or Busch Gardens. As a Roanoke student, she decided to take a course in the Civil War because she had become steeped in the subject in spite of herself. Inspired by professors such as Dr. Mark Miller, Winterer discovered her deep and innate passion for history, a gene she had inherited from her father, a retired U.S. Marine Corps sergeant major and lifelong history buff. “Professor Miller brought the past to life by showing the importance of history to our lives,” Winterer says. “He was a great mentor, always there for me.” Her dad was thrilled with her decision to major in history. “Some parents might ask, ‘What are you going to do with a history major?,’ but my dad imagined the possibilities.” In addition to the mentorship of her professors, Winterer credits her personal development in college to membership in the Roanoke College Historical Society, the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and, in particular, Chi Omega. Internships at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution and with the U.S. Marine Corps Archives helped her gain admission to George Washington University, from which she earned her master’s degree in American History and a graduate certificate in Museum Studies. Today, Winterer serves as assistant general curator for the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Prince William County, Va., overseeing the care and research of personal and cultural objects associated with the Marine Corps. “Every day is differ-

Roanoke College Magazine

ent,” she says, “I get to hear the stories of veterans who fought for our country and preserve artifacts for future generations.” The case of a significant sledgehammer underscores the diversity of Winterer’s work. “About two years ago, I received an email from a gentleman claiming he had a sledgehammer used by Marines to help capture John Brown during his raid on Harpers Ferry,” Winterer said. “The sledgehammer had been in this man’s family for over 100 years. The donor had a notarized letter verifying the sledge’s history. I spent hours on the phone and weeks thumbing through documents from the Charles Town courthouse in West Virginia. I verified every piece of the story to confirm that this sledgehammer was in fact used in 1859. The sledgehammer went on exhibit in May 2012.” Winterer’s current duties include researching the complete architectural history of the Commandant’s House (built in 1804), a place she describes as “like a miniature White House.” Winterer is also working on an exhibit of the Invasion of Grenada in 1983, a task for which she is uniquely well-suited. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on the Marine Corps’ role in the invasion, a campaign in which her father had served. “Things have come full circle,” she notes. “I love my job,” adding that “a museum is the closest thing we have to a time machine.” Winterer is married to Joseph Winterer, an urban planner aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. The couple lives in Fredericksburg, Va. with their daughter Abigail. “My dad taught me the meaning and importance of history,” Winterer says, “and I’ve continued that family tradition. I’ve already taken my daughter to three battlefields, and she’s only 8 months old.” — DAVID TREADWELL



Price ’99 – Sweet wedding

Clark ’02 – Ladner wedding

New Hampshire, where she is working toward her master’s degree in counselor education. She coached girls’ cross country at Oyster River High School last fall. Sara Wittenburg ’11 is working on her second bachelor’s degree. She is enrolled in paralegal studies in her pursuit of becoming a criminal justice paralegal.

Marriages Geoffrey Wolfe ’92 and Laura G. French were married in two ceremonies. The first ceremony was held Dec. 23, 2010, in Winter Haven, Fla., and the second one April 30, 2011, on Jumbie Beach on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which the couple calls home. Geoffrey is the managing attorney for the Virgin Islands’ largest international plaintiff-oriented law firm and manages 45 attorneys in the Virgin Islands, mainland United States and abroad. As part of his practice, he argues cases before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals as well as the Supreme Court. He was recently elected as a Virgin Islands delegate to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Laura is a graduate of the University of Florida and the Art Institute of Atlanta and is an architect and interior designer working for Suzanne Kassler Interiors. Kristine Price ‘99 and Lee Sweet were married September 5, 2010, in Savage, Md. Sarah Elvey ‘99 was the

Bowen John Marble


flower girl. Amy Morgan ‘98 was also in attendance. Brooke Clark ’02 and Chad Ladner exchanged wedding vows Oct. 15, 2011, in South Mississippi. Alumni who attended included Raphaela Kamholtz ’01, Shannon Reynolds ’01, Paige VanGombos ’03, Kimberly Alexander ’03 and Meaghan Curcio ’03.

Families Kelli Wilson Kerr ’99 and her husband, Daniel, announce the arrival of Alexander Philip, who was born Jan. 16, 2012. Margie O’Connell Marble ’01 and her husband, Sanders, welcomed Bowen John on Nov. 10, 2011. Sara Woody Jamison ’06 and her husband, Stuart, are pleased to announce the birth of their first child, Wyatt Ellis, who arrived Sept. 2, 2011. Proud relatives include grandfather, Barney Woody ’77, and aunt, Randi Woody Wilkins ’05. Sara is gift recorder at Ferrum College. Jake ’08 and Laura Bryant Bennett ’08 are proud first-time parents of Natalie Elizabeth, who arrived Jan. 17, 2012, in Bloomington, Ind.

In Memoriam William E. Norman ’37 passed away Oct. 11, 2011, in Bethesda, Md. Richard Guy ’38, a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II, passed away in Auburndale, Fla., on Sept. 1, 2011. He

Wyatt Ellis Jamison

was 94. He was employed with W.R. Grace and Occidental Petroleum companies in the phosphate industry. Virginia Buckland Pratt ’41, a resident of Hillsville, Va., died on April 22, 2012. She was a member of First United Methodist Church of Hillsville, where she was active in the United Methodist Women and the Glory Singers. A retiree from Roanoke City School Food Services, she expressed her spirit through needle crafting and her love of God and people. Reva Dillon Harbour ’44, of Roanoke, died at age 91 on Feb. 14, 2012. Widowed at a young age, Harbour dedicated her life to her three children and her work in support of veterans at the Virginia Regional Office and the Disabled American Veterans organization. Thomas L. Mecca ’46 died Sept. 13, 2011, in Waterbury, Conn. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later became proprietor of Mecca Motors of Waterbury for over 40 years. Seab A. Tuck Jr. ’48, an Army Air Corps veteran, passed away Feb. 13, 2012, in Glade, Tenn. He joined the National Drug Company as a pharmaceutical salesman and retired as division sales manager after a 44-year career with the company. He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, the Shriners and Lion’s Club. Nancy Dahill Kovacs ’49, of Macon, Ga., passed away Feb. 23, 2012. During her career as a medical technologist, she and her husband lived in up-

Wolfe ’92 – French wedding

state New York. She was active in the Catholic Church and enjoyed playing bridge, reading, hooking rugs and spending time with her family. Norman M. Bolton ’50 passed away in Fincastle on April 14, 2012. He enjoyed a long career with C&P Telephone Co. in Virginia. After his retirement, he was a management volunteer with Godwin Cemetery and was a driver for the Fincastle Rescue Squad. His survivors include a sister, Joyce Bolton Turbyfill ’55.

James W. Reynolds ’43, a World War II Army Air Corps veteran, died Jan. 24, 2012, in Vinton. His career focused on his family’s agricultural supply business, Reynolds Grain Co., of which he eventually became president and manager. He was a lifelong member of Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church, where he served as Sunday school teacher and trustee. He enjoyed singing and was a member of the church choir as well as the Barbershop Harmony Chorus. He served his community on Vinton Town Council as a council member and vice-mayor. Reynolds was past president of the Vinton Lion’s Club from which he received the Melvin Jones Fellow Award for his dedicated service. He also was past president of the Vinton Chamber of Commerce and Virginia State Feed Association.

Natalie Elizabeth Bennett

Roanoke College Magazine

alumninews William E. LaPrade Jr. ’50, a resident of Bluff City, Tenn., died Nov. 29, 2011. He served in the U.S. Army and was retired from Sperry Univac after a 34-year career. LaPrade also taught classes at two colleges and was active in Scouting, Little League and Junior Achievement. Thomas E. Blackwell ’51 passed away in Winchester on Jan. 6, 2012. He spent most of his career with Thompson, Greenspon & Co. in Fairfax City and later opened his own accounting practice. Blackwell served in the Navy at the end of World War II. He was active in the Fairfax United Methodist Church and the Rotary Club. David W. Oliver ’51, a General Electric physicist and manager, died Aug. 12, 2011, in Sun City Center, Fla. His career with GE spanned 33 years. He holds more than 20 patents, has published several papers and authored a book. Some of his research dealt with ultrasonic imaging systems, ultrasonic microscopy systems and computer to-

mographic X-ray inspection systems for industrial uses. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a master’s degree in physics from Virginia Tech and a doctorate in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Charles (Bill) Dod Jr. ’56, a resident of Roanoke, died March 1, 2012. He was retired from Norfolk Southern Corp. Charles P. Bennett ’62, of Chesapeake, passed away March 12, 2007. He was an active member of his community, church, choral groups and Toastmasters. Harry B. Hargis Jr. ’62 died Feb. 9, 2012, in Colonial Heights, Va. He served 31 years with the Virginia governor’s Office of Economics and Development and retired as a business assistance officer. Hargis was a member of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church and was very involved with his community, serving on the John Tyler Community College Board, Colonial Heights Planning Commission, Wetlands Board, Office of Elections, Historical Society

Alan L. Walrond ’45, a resident of Springfield, Mass., passed away Dec. 20, 2011. He attended Roanoke until joining the U.S. Navy, where he trained as a pilot in Pensacola, Fla. He became a Navy aviator lieutenant, junior grade, flying off several aircraft carriers during World War II. After serving four years, he attended Duke University, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in forestry. He also received a master’s degree in engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was a longtime employee of Pratt & Whitney and retired from United Fuel Cells. He was a major contributor and designer of fuel cells for the Apollo space program. During retirement, he became a lifelong member of the Hampden County Radio Controllers and NEPRO, a pylon racing organization. There, he mentored many young people who wanted to learn how to fly radio-controlled airplanes. He also built and repaired many of these planes for himself and others.

Roanoke College Magazine

Richard L. Lawrence ’61, a passionate lawyer, died March 19, 2012, as a result of an automobile accident. From his first job delivering newspapers in Roanoke, to service in the U.S. Marine Corps and a distinguished legal career, Lawrence was known for his work ethic and advocacy for the underdog. A lifelong student of American History, he began his legal career as assistant to Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Leroy Moran, and then went into private practice. In 1971, he was appointed Roanoke commonwealth’s attorney, a position he would hold until 1973. He then re-entered private practice where he remained for the next four decades. During his long, notable career, he mentored many young lawyers. He loved the thrill of adventure, travel, hunting and spending time on his farm. Gregarious by nature, he enjoyed hard work and being with people. Lawrence was a lifelong member of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

and the Citizens Police Association. He enjoyed golf, reading and traveling. Thomas M. Williams ’62, of Indianapolis, Ind., died Aug. 6, 2011. Helen O’Neal Guy ’65 died March 15, 2012. Inducted into the Roanoke College Hall of Fame in 1978, she was Roanoke’s top field hockey goalie for four straight years and was selected Team I and Team II for the Blue Ridge Regional field hockey team in 1962, ’63 and ’64. She played goalie on the Blue Ridge first-team that played the Irish field hockey team during the International Conference. In additional to field hockey, Guy played on the women’s basketball team for three years and won the All-Sports Award in 1965. A resident of Chesapeake, Va., she was a retired school teacher and coach. James S. Robertson ’65, a resident of Boones Mill, Va., passed away April 3, 2012. He taught at Roanoke College and was a physiologist with the VA Medical Center before entering the family business. He was active in the

Red Hill Baptist Church, where he served in many positions. His love of history was reflected in his membership in the Sons of the Confederacy, the Sons of the American Revolution and the Society of The War of 1812. Among his survivors is a son, Chris Robertson ’94. Robert C. Foster ’66 passed away Feb. 2, 2012, in Sequim, Wash. He worked in mining and also was an accountant. Claude E. Turner Jr. ’67 died Feb. 3, 2012, in Winston-Salem, N.C. A U.S. Army veteran during the Berlin Conflict, he spent the majority of his career with the furniture industry, first employed with Coleman Furniture, then Pulaski Furniture and Webb Furniture Industries, from which he retired. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Galax. During retirement, he enjoyed woodworking and researching his genealogy. RC










Good fun at the 20th and 25th Reunion Celebration.

High-five Rooney!

Paul Breen ’61 brought his student ID to the All-Alumni Bloodies & Bagels Bash.

Richard Hathaway ’73, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo ’78 and Margaret Hathaway at the Flashback Weekend Cabin Party.


Charlie Moir and members of his 1972 “Murderous Maroons,” who won the NCAA College Division National Championship in 1972.



Roanoke College Magazine




WEEKEND FACTS APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF ATTENDEES: more than 1,000 NUMBER OF EVENTS: 63 GREEK EVENTS: Every Greek organization at the College hosted an event. Pi Lambda Phi was officially re-colonized during the weekend, with a wonderful showing of alumni in attendance. DEPARTMENTAL EVENTS: Twelve academic departments hosted events.

President Michael Maxey shares a laugh with James Henry Ford ’56 at the Honor Guard Reunion.

HALL OF FAME: Three athletic teams were recognized during the weekend: the 1972 Men’s Basketball team, the 1992 Men’s Lacrosse Team, and the 1992 Women’s Lacrosse team. TRAVEL: The person who traveled the farthest to attend Alumni Weekend came from Australia. Alumni traveled from California and one motorcycled from Seattle, Wash. A nostalgic display at the 20th and 25th Reunion Celebration.

Patsy Stevens ’72 and Sallie Potts Noonkester ’72 at the Flashback Social.

REUNIONS: Seven official reunions were celebrated: 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 40th and 50th. REUNION CLASS AWARDS: The Class of 1962 (50th reunion) had the highest percentage of their classmates registered for Alumni Weekend as well as the highest gift participation (among reunion classes). The Class of 1992 (20th reunion) had the highest number of their classmates registered for Alumni Weekend as well as the highest class gift as of Alumni Weekend (among reunion classes).



FLASHBACK WEEKEND CABIN PARTY: The Classes of 1969-1976 enjoyed a cabin party at Loch Haven Lake Club, featuring The Royal Kings, a disco photo station — and great attendance. HONOR GUARD: The Honor Guard Reunion was a big success with musical entertainment and an alumnus-led game show. The Honor Guard Induction and Breakfast had great attendance, too, and featured singing of the original Alma Mater, led by an alumnus. PHOTOS: Three official photographers took 2,331 photos.


Roanoke College Magazine


— Jamie Barrow Burkhead ’08, Associate Director of Alumni & Family Relations


maroonmusings BY KI R BY E L I Z A B E T H DAV I S & PAU L L E W I S V I N ES Co-valedictorians of the Class of 2012

The gift of education

house with my family to a 12-by-12 room with a stranger. Honestly, I was a little scared. I was 1,000 miles from home and did not know anyone. As members of the Maroon Corps greeted me with enthusiasm, I was particularly struck by the phrase on the back of their shirts, “Welcome Home.” Over the past four years, Roanoke College has become a home to all of us. As a class, we have grown in various ways, built lifelong friendships, and achieved a level of maturity that I never dreamed of coming out of high school. Within a few hours, we will leave this home and move to a new one. We have been honored with the gift

“Eagerly embrace the opportunity to teach others as much as to learn from them.” — Paul L. Vines Kirby Davis, also senior class senator, opens commencement with the bell declaration.

The following are excerpts from the valedictory addresses of Kirby Davis and Paul Vines, co-valedictorians of the Class of 2012. Davis, a biology major, will attend medical school at Louisiana State University. Vines, a biology and computer science major, will enter the Computer Science graduate program at the University of Washington. Vines, it should be noted, exited the stage after delivering his valedictory address with a flying leap to the ground.

Kirby Elizabeth Davis Almost four years ago, on freshman move-in day, my mom and I pulled into the Crawford parking lot and before I knew anything, all of my stuff was in my room. Within minutes, my life had completely changed. My home went from a 42

of an excellent education and college experience. The departments we have studied in, the organizations we have been a part of, and the leadership roles we have held filled our heads and hearts with gifts beyond our imagination. We must take these gifts with us into the future. While commencement seems only the end of this chapter in our lives, it is also the beginning of an entirely new period. As we leave here today, I challenge you to put the gifts you’ve received into motion.

Paul Lewis Vines Well, we finally made it. Here we stand surrounded by our peers, teachers and families, ready to step into the real world. I started to think what made my last

four years at Roanoke College really special and I settled on one thing: the teaching. Professors at Roanoke don’t just love their academic fields, they also love teaching students about those fields and ensuring that they learn. An example: Dr. [Anil] Shende was teaching two of the hardest computer science courses this semester. Halfway through, about half the class members were turning in assignments late or not at all. At that point, he could have said “They fail,” or determined that he shouldn’t have expected us to learn so much. Instead, he decided to help us by adding office hours that started at 9 p.m. because he knew that was when we were actually doing our work. So for the three weeks before final exams, you could find Dr. Shende and five or six computer science students in the second floor of Trexler from 9 p.m. to 4 to 5 in the morning every Tuesday and Thursday. I don’t think we should expect every professor at Roanoke to go to these lengths. But it made me realize just how dedicated and passionate Dr. Shende was about making sure we learned, and how important every professor at Roanoke College has been to helping me learn. So how does that apply to us? I’ve heard that this is just the beginning of my education, that I should expect and be eager to learn in my future. But we should expect to teach as much as learn. The next time a peer or a co-worker doesn’t know how to do something, don’t just do it for them. Take the opportunity to teach them, and remember the kind of passion your professors at Roanoke College had for helping others learn. If our goal is a more enlightened society, we can’t rely solely on formal classroom teaching. We each need to take the responsibility to teach others when the opportunity arises. I hope all of you eagerly embrace the opportunity to teach others as much as to learn from them. RC Roanoke College Magazine

collegearchives BY LI N DA A N G L E M I L L E R , CO L L EG E A R C H I V I ST

Commencement in the 19th century

count rates to encourage travel. Although Roanoke became a college in 1853, its first graduation wasn’t until 1855. In June of that year, four seniors were the first to graduate from the College. The pattern established in that first Commencement remained throughout the 19th century and into the 20th. Usually four days of activities entertained students, faculty, families and others. The festivities began with Baccalaureate on “the Sunday before the third Wednesday in June.” Initially, the service was in one of the larger campus rooms, then, after its construction in 1856, College [Lutheran] Church, where the “History-Bank” now stands in downtown Salem. An

In the 19th century, students did all the speech-making at graduation. Addresses by others occurred earlier in the week. At left, program from first Commencement in 1855. At right is the program from 1878 Commencement.


raduation, and all the activities that go with it — 100 Days Party, Senior Dinner, senior picnic, and finally, Baccalaureate and Commencement! Family members travel long distances just to see their student cross the stage and accept that prize, the culmination of countless papers and exams, plus numerous sleepless nights. But can you imagine people from around the Roanoke Valley coming to enjoy all those events of graduation week not knowing any of the graduates? That is exactly what 19th century commencements were like for most colleges at that time — a community occasion, not just a college event. Families, boarding houses and hotels housed and fed those who journeyed to the multi-day affair. The railroads even offered dis-

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assortment of speeches and contests filled the next two days: an address by the president to the graduating class; an address before the Society of Inquiry on Missions or the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) by a prominent pastor; an address before the literary societies; and the student contest in oratory, with the awarding at Commencement of a gold medal “worth twenty-five dollars,” initially from the Black Badge Society, and after its chartering in 1875, Sigma Chi Fraternity. Finally, it was graduation day. Never outside, Commencement exercises moved around — first on campus, and later in other “more commodious rooms.” In 1867, Salem built the Town Hall on the southwest corner of College Avenue and Clay Street, next to the town’s firehouse.

(Today, this is the Resource Development parking lot, with Development offices in the former firehouse.) The Town Hall served the College well on many occasions, including commencement, but as the numbers grew in subsequent years, many non-graduating students were left to peer in windows from the outside, as graduates, faculty and families packed the inside seats. College leaders encouraged town fathers many times to expand the facility because it was inadequate for their needs. In the 19th century, students did all the speech-making at graduation. Addresses by others occurred earlier in the week. Depending upon the number of graduates each year — numbers ranged from two to about 14 — all or most of the boys spoke. The first was the “Latin oration,” frequently followed by a second in Greek. The remaining graduates spoke in English. A musical interlude, often by the Salem Silver Cornet Band, was performed between each speech. The conferring of degrees followed. Each student received a sheepskin diploma signed by the president and four or five members of the faculty. The final piece was the valedictory, or farewell, address. The speaker was variously selected by the faculty or by his fellow seniors, and had little to do with GPA. Quite often the students chose to showcase one of the international students. Hence, in 1893, the speaker was Solomon Jones Homer from the Choctaw Nation, who bade farewell to friends, faculty and Salem, and gave heartfelt thanks to the professors who taught and offered support along the way. Probably the longest Commencement was that of 1878, when the proceedings also included the inauguration of second president, Rev. Thomas Dosh, which included even more addresses. We know this because one attendee recorded in pencil the length of each speech (10 to 11 minutes) and each musical interlude (about 11⁄2 minutes). Total length of time — four and a half hours! RC 43

roanotes Think you know a lot about Roanoke College? Chances are you do. But here is one fact that even those most thoroughly versed in all things Maroon probably never knew.

Number of caps (proper name: mortarboards) distributed to graduates who participated in the 2012 Commencement exercises. Some grads opted for a bit of embellishment, while others used them to share messages of thanks and love. (NOTE: Total class size –434.)


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NOTE TO PARENTS: If this issue of Roanoke College Magazine is addressed to your son or daughter who no longer lives at your address, please provide a change of address to the College. Contact the Alumni Office by mail, e-mail or phone.

Roanoke College Magazine (2012, Issue 2)  

Issue 2, 2012

Roanoke College Magazine (2012, Issue 2)  

Issue 2, 2012