2017: a year in review
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3 years into the 10-year plan
Nearly one year ago to the day, the Marlin Chronicle reported on President Miller’s 10-year Master Plan, wherein he “gave students a glimpse into the future of Virginia Wesleyan College.” It is now three years into Miller’s time at Wesleyan, and the recently-turned university is well on its way to fulfilling his dream.
Several of the projects he initially discussed in the article are complete, or nearing completion. The YMCA Partnership building, decorative black perimeter fencing, Greer Environmental Sciences Center and outdoor track have all been finished.
The Susan S. Goode Fine and Performing Arts Center, Oxford village and additional parking are all under construction or soon will be.
There are also plans for a new fitness center, an expansion to the caf for outdoor seating and an additional walking path to Lake Taylor.
Swim team makes a splash
On Oct. 21, 2017, Virginia Wesleyan University made history when the first ever swim team competed. The women’s swim team won its first meet against Randolph College with a final score of 105-47.
The men’s team was bested by Randolph’s respective male team, but later won with a score of 77-76 in a dual meet in November.
“For 15 years, we have allowed local high schools, clubs and organizations to use our outstanding natatorium. Now we are putting it to full use in [our] community,” President Miller said in a previous edition of the paper.
To show their support, students participated in a poster contest as part of a “Pack the Pool” event. Senior Roby Solano won the event with an artfully-depicted sign sporting supportive phrases and a depiction of Dory from ‘Finding Nemo.’
Athletes continue to amaze
Last May the Wesleyan softball team won its first Division III ODAC National Championship.
An article released by the university states that “the championship is the first team championship for Virginia Wesleyan as an institution since the men’s basketball team claimed the crown in the 2005-06 season. Evan Cox of men’s golf won an individual national championship last year to round out school championships.”
The track team similarly made history that month when junior Marissa Coombs became the first female in school history to earn outdoor track and field All-American honors at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championship for her 1,500-meter performance.
Coombs also earned two indoor All-American honors for a single meter run earlier in 2017 and 2016. Her three-time All-American is the only multiple All-American in program history.
New Year, New VWU
Change came early this year as Wesleyan made some preemptive New Year resolutions to improve the campus. Though President Miller’s 10-year Master Plan entailed plenty of exciting developments, numerous other improvements have taken the school by storm.
The switch in address, from Norfolk to Virginia Beach, was only the first. It was shortly followed by a series of new names for offices, including the Admissions Office (now titled Enrollment Services), the Business Office (now the Office of Finance and Administration) and the Community Service Office (now called Wesleyan Engaged).
Environmentally-friendly and recyclable green takeout boxes also replaced the Styrofoam containers, along with some new and healthier menu choices thanks to the Culinary Council.
A marching band has also arrived on campus, though they have not yet officially performed.
Greer breaks out of retirement
The chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges, Dr. Glenn DuBois, announced on Nov. 29 that Dr. Billy Greer would serve as interim president for Eastern Shore Community College following the retirement of its current president.
Greer is the former president of Virginia Wesleyan College, now known as Virginia Wesleyan University. Greer first came to Virginia Wesleyan in 1992 after serving as president of Brevard College and Andrew College. While serving the college for over 22 years, Greer led the college to expanded enrollment, a new curriculum and construction and renovation of facilities such as the Batten Student Center and Brock Village.
“Good for him, I know he lives and has a place out there so, I think it’s a great place for him to be able to get involved, and I know he loved it. I know his name connects with us just because of the amount of years he spent here. I am excited for him to get the opportunity; his name is on my diploma” said, William Harrell, associate director of the Batten Center.
Greer retired as president of Virginia Wesleyan in 2015.
Eastern Shore Community College is a two-year institution and a member of the Virginia Community College System since 1971. The College serves the residents of Accomack and Northampton counties. The college became accredited in 1973.
Greer will begin serving as president of the college on January 22, 2018.
Improvements come to the caf
In the Mar. 2017 issue, the Marin Chronicle featured a story on the “Caf behind the counter”. There were photos released depicting the appliances found within the caf. Tim Lockett assured the Marlin Chronicle staff that the college’s kitchen has passed health inspections with minimal violations. A week later the SGA held an open meeting to discuss new directions for Sodexo to improve dining services on campus. Lockett announced that the campus would see improved dining services on campus including the hiring of new staff members and management. In the Apr. 2017 issue, the Marlin Chronicle reported that the Culinary Council met for the first time to discuss recent concerns about the food quality in the caf. Questions regarding the quality of food, menus, services, and overall dining experience were raised. Dining services released plans for the following fall including a reusable container. Students and faculty were encouraged to contact Mike Greenfield, District Manager of Sodexo with any questions or suggestions.
Currently, the caf has improved on the variety of foods they are offering for students such as the new gluten free option. Reusable containers were also made available beginning the fall of 2017.
Staff and faculty retirements
During the summer issue of the Marlin Chronicle, Diane Hotaling, former Director of Community Service now Wesleyan Engaged announced her retirement after 32 years of employment with Virginia Wesleyan University. Hotaling was a dedicated member of the Virginia Wesleyan Community and valued the connections made among her students and colleagues. Not far behind in the October issue, reigning DIII assistant of the year, Andrea Thurston, decided to pursue other opportunities and step away from the basketball sideline. Thurston was noted as the heart of the program and dedicated over 12 years to Virginia Wesleyan as both a player and coach. Ralph Chittams, Director of Residence Life, left Wesleyan in aspiration to join his family in Stuarts Draft. While it was not covered by the Marlin Chronicle staff, Jerry Mance announced his retirement from the college after 10 years of service to the University
Residential conditions cause concerns
In the Sept., Oct., and Nov., issues of the Marlin Chronicle, the conditions of the dorms were addressed. Students complained about problems regarding small pests, build-ups of condensation, and overall comfort. The problems were not limited to the dorms, students within the hotels complained about overcrowding and inconvenient carpooling to and from school. Transitioning into the Oct. 26 issue, complaints about rats arose from residents primarily in Bray Village. Ralph Chittams, former Director of Residence Life, noted that this was not the first time the university had encountered rats. Chittams emphasized that ResLife and other offices were working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.
Currently, the Marlin Chronicle just recently released a story on mold in the dorms. This was not the first account of mold in the dorms; it has been prevalent in housing on campus in the past and was addressed in the Oct. 2016 issue.