Community events celebrate alumni, welcome their return

Edward Phillips ’11 leads Dr. Sally Shedd’s improvisation class.

Sally Shedd|Courtesy 

Alumni of Virginia Wesleyan continue to thrive and connect with the university after graduating. Edward Phillips ’11 returned to campus recently to lead an improvisation class with Dr. Sally Shedd, a professor of Theater.

Shedd explained the benefit of an alum leading a class, being a connection between students and alumni. From a student’s perspective, “they’ve sat where I sit, they came through the same place,” Shedd said. “And there’s a sense of connection there, and this element of, ‘if they can do that, I can do that.’ In a way, I think it’s a little bit different from bringing in experts that went to school somewhere else.”

Shedd elaborated on a beneficial experience of an alum returning to campus. It encourages, “the idea that you can give back, and your experience can be useful to the younger students coming up through that same system, I think it’s really beautiful,” Shedd said.

Shedd shared that she felt a joy in this experience due to her perspective as a professor. “You look up there and there’s someone you had as a student, and they’re working with students in the very spot where you worked with them as a student,” Shedd said.

Shedd highlighted the importance of all alumni returning to campus, not just her own students. She said, “looking at it from where I sit, I mean, it sure looks meaningful to me.”

Phillips shed light on his experiences at VWU and how those experiences influenced his occupation and achievements.

Phillips currently pursues his occupation and hobby in different parts of his life. “My day job is I work for Elevance Health, which is an insurance company,” Phillips said. “But I’m also a comedian.”

He has recently seen success in his acting career, taking part in his first national commercial.

Phillips majored in Communication, which he uses to assist in being a comedian. “I use that a lot when I’m building videos, or I am writing material for stand-up or sketches,” Phillips said.

As a student Phillips said he was able to meet new people. “Being on campus with so many opportunities that were involved with so many different organizations really helped me get accustomed to interacting with a lot of different people,” Phillips said.

Phillips added that attending VWU “definitely made me more personable and better able to relate to people, so I definitely appreciate that.”

He explained that comedy involves meeting new people and extemporizing. 

In comedy, Phillips said, “you see a lot of different people, and something that I think has benefited my writing a lot is being able to see so many different viewpoints.”

Additional graduates attended events during alumni weekend, which went from April 5-6.

Events included the showing of “Anastasia,” several sports games, social gatherings, lectures and a scroll signing celebration. The scroll signing offered the opportunity for the classes of 1974 and 1999 to celebrate their 50th and 25th anniversaries.

During the Marlin Family Picnic on April 6, alumni shed light on their experiences at VWU and their accomplishments since graduation.

Taylor Paquette ’23 celebrates Alumni Weekend as a graduate student.

Isaac Fick|Marlin Chronicle

Justin McCreary ‘09 said attending Virginia Wesleyan assisted with “continuing into a masters program and prepar[ing] a resume.”

McCreary shared that he returned to campus because of the professors. “There were good professors here when I was here and wanted to say goodbye to Professor Hultgren,” McCreary said.

Lindsey Angelozzi ‘09 stated she is still working in her field of study. “After I graduated I was working in the field I studied, which I was pretty proud of,” Angelozzi said. “Almost fifteen years or so.”

Lindsey Angelozzi ’09 attends Alumni Weekend with her daughter.

Isaac Fick|Marlin Chronicle

Thomas Taylor ‘00 outlined VWU’s influence on his success. “It set the foundation for my career and accomplishments,” Taylor said.

Taylor explained the importance that VWU has had on his career. “I ended up working in the field I studied, which was social science,” Taylor said. “It set the direction in my field. I’m very proud of my time at Virginia Wesleyan.”

Eli Miller, ‘00, explained the value of a small campus. “I really needed the small, tight-knit campus, working with my professors one-on-one,” Miller said.

Taylor Paquette, ‘23, is currently in the graduate program at VWU. Paquette also values the small campus. “The tight-knit community made me open up socially more and allowed me to flourish in the outside world,” Paquette said.

Taylor Paquette ’23 celebrates Alumni Weekend as a graduate student.

Isaac Fick|Marlin Chronicle

Gavin Prouty graduated in December 2023 and shared several ways that VWU assisted his education. “VWU helped me fit in and find what I was actually good at,” Prouty said.

Prouty had the opportunity to take classes he did not expect to, which he enjoyed. “It also gave me the space to take classes I wouldn’t normally think to see what I was actually passionate about,” Prouty said.

VWU was also a space for Prouty to develop professionally. “[VWU] helped me professionally and handle stress better,” Prouty said.

Throughout Alumni Weekend and other events, Virginia Wesleyan encourages alumni to return to campus and reconnect with the community.

By Isaac Fick