Commencement Address by the Hon. Pamela Shell Baskervill ’75
May 19, 2013
President Fox, esteemed faculty and guests, graduates, parents and friends:
How very humbling to be standing before you and also what a true pleasure. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful celebration of your graduation.
According to the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, life must be lived forward but understood backward. Thirty-eight years ago for myself and nine years ago for my daughter, I stood where you stand. Since that graduation day 38 years ago, to borrow from Dr. Seuss, oh, the people I’ve known and the places I’ve been and the fun I’ve had! Marvelous! But what I wanted to know most when I was standing there was what do I do now? Not physically so much b/c I was going to law school in the fall but more so, how was I going to find my way? It was a chaotic time of the women’s movement, the ending of the Vietnam War, Watergate convictions. The world was opening up for us and we had tough choices as to how to engage it. That is no different from what faces you today. As I reflect backward, it is fairly easy to see that there are some basic principles that guide us and help us live forward.
First of all, find your driving force. The comedian Lily Tomlin once said, “I always knew I wanted to be somebody. I wish I had been more specific!” Now is the time. What kind of somebody do you want to be? What drives you?
I know that you are already on your way to finding the answer to that question with your class theme, Hearts on Fire. You see, the heart rather than the brain was viewed by many ancient cultures as the source of human wisdom. When you act on what you feel in your heart, you are true to your driving force. Maybe for you, the driving force is to make the world a more beautiful place with music or art, a healthier place with nursing, research or therapies, or a safer place through law enforcement, the military or forensic. The list goes on. For me, the driving force has always been justice and peace. As a child, I was fascinated by the stories of the Salem Witch trials. How could society go so far astray and no one stand up for justice?
Be forewarned: the heart never dreams small. This leads to the obvious question of balance—when your heart is on fire, how does one find balance and not be engulfed by all the seemingly impossible tasks to achieve what our heart yearns to be achieved? Our generation has been accused of doing younger generations no favor when we led you to believe we could have it all. To that, some in my generation say that you can have it all, just maybe not all at the same time. Yes, that is certainly a good response— be patient and at any one time, you will be working on a piece of the puzzle of your life. I would, however, take it one step further. For me, balance requires a life where you never give up on your driving force but accept that it will play out in different ways at different times and in ways you do not always anticipate.
For example, when my children were small, they were my priority as they have always been so they went with me to feed the homeless; after all, will there ever be true peace until there is social justice and basic needs are met for the most vulnerable of our society?
Dr. Seuss said,
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You just have to know what is in your heart and be true to it in everything you do.
Secondly, face your fears.
Even in children’s literature, we recognize this necessity. Dr. Seuss goes on to talk about
Whether you like it or not, alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.
And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
You’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon
That can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.
Fear. This is what you find when what sets your heart on fire meets the resistances of life; when you find out what you are made of — how strong is your moral compass? How important is it to you to follow your driving force? Your heart? Would you stand up to the people burning witches at the stake?
It seems to me that much of our world is seized by fear and from that fear comes a need for security that translates to people thinking there are simple solutions possessed by only those who think the way they do. Fear can be a good thing but we have to acknowledge that it exists. Think for a minute about my profession, the law. When you are charged with a crime that involves your life, who do you want to defend you? I can tell you that you want somebody you can trust, someone capable of feeling love and pain, someone who is perfectly willing to admit that he or she is afraid, the one who knows who he or she is and who walks into the courtroom believing and caring about his or her client and believing that justice is the most important thing in the human experience. Trust me on this one, if you can’t feel fear in the courtroom, you can’t feel anything else. But when your heart is truly on fire, you will have the courage to face those fears, standing alone if you have to, because what sets your heart on fire is more important than your fears.
Once you have found your center and acknowledged your fears, how do you tackle the challenges presented to you as you move forward?
Thirdly, welcome the opportunity to grow and change to meet new challenges while always embracing the enduring human values of civility and professionalism. You have to look no farther than our college for a wonderful example. Mary Baldwin has continued to educate but changed with the time and remained relevant without sacrificing the values that has brought success to it and its graduates. Its graduates today include not only those from the residential undergraduate program from which I graduated, to include the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted and VWIL, but also those who receive Masters of Letters and Fine Arts, education, and teaching; we are looking forward to the College of Health Sciences.
Let me tell you what Mary Baldwin also taught me. I know of no finer faculty today or then. Dr. Lott who is here today taught me freshman English, and thank goodness he graded on improvement. From him, I learned to communicate well and clearly and not to ramble and bluff my way through anything. In my honors colloquium, I learned that just because someone says something in a book does not make it true. I learned it was a good idea to watch those people who were older and more experienced than I to decide how to comport myself. I learned that the friends I made here are treasures who have travelled all these years with me and that good friends will stick by each other no matter what. I learned how to acquire information from which I could form my own opinion and to express it in a manner that was not adversarial so that I could learn from my colleagues and they could learn from me. I learned it was acceptable to fail as long as I had tried. I learned to thank people who took the time to help me and that manners and civility always make life easier and richer for everyone. After all, what good is finding your center and facing your fears if you cannot connect to others in the process? Your class president in describing the bonfire pit your class donated to the college said, “[the concept] is to melt away the barriers that divide us.” It was well said.
There is something deep inside each of us that allows us to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive. Love that conquers hate, peace that triumphs over conflict and justice that is more powerful than greed. When your heart is on fire, you leave something positive of yourself every time you meet another person. You have learned in this short time how much I value the simple basic principles of life often voiced best by those who relate well to children. One of those people is Fred Rogers, known to many of us as Mister Rogers. He said that in times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers. It is a lifetime’s work to discover the truth about ourselves and what sets our hearts on fire, to develop the strength and moral compass to face our fears, and to implement in some small way in some small corner of the universe positive changes that make the world a better, kinder, place where the barriers that divide us are melted away, but it is worth it.
To close, I again quote Dr. Seuss:
Congratulations! Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away.
Best wishes, Class of 2013, for every happiness and success that life has to offer.
Nathan “Ben” Herz, OTR/L, MBA, OTD, CES
Founding director, doctor of occupational therapy program, Mary Baldwin College
Occupational therapy called when Herz was in the Army and he quickly answered. “What’s drawn me to the profession has been the different people I treat, helping them be independent in life, and then witnessing the outcomes. It takes a unique personality to do what we do,” he said.
Once back in the civilian world, Herz earned his bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy, then his MBA and, soon, academia felt like the right place to be. Herz joined Jefferson College of Health Sciences in Roanoke, Va., in 2000. “I just got a card from a former student about what makes a person a hero,” he said. “I don’t see myself that way at all. I’m here to help prepare them for the future. My teaching is my first priority, and making sure students get what they need is what’s made me successful for 31 years.”
Later, at Georgia Regents University, Augusta, Herz began to carve his niche in movement disorders and degenerative diseases, treating clients in the movement disorder clinic. He earned his doctorate in occupational therapy from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., in 2004.
Herz has conducted four studies with the Nintendo Wii, funded by the National Parkinson Foundation, and one with Wii Fit. Participants engaged in simulated tennis, bowling and boxing. In one study, they made notable improvements in rigidity, movement, fine motor skills and energy levels, and their levels of depression decreased to zero, he said. One participant was able to walk down the aisle in his daughter’s wedding, while another stopped using a cane.
“People said they were moving better, feeling better, that their quality of life improved,” he said. “From a clinician’s standpoint, it was remarkable. I think games systems will play a major role in rehab. With OT and PT and allied health sciences, we’re not here to find cures, but to slow the disease process down.”
Appointed founding director of the doctor of occupational therapy program and professor at Mary Baldwin last November, his arrival came shortly after groundbreaking for the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences in Fishersville, Va. The campus is scheduled to open in June 2014, and Herz’s program is in the accreditation process.
Starting a new job, with a new title, a new doctoral program and a new facility motivates Herz to do even more. “My hope is for a really innovative curriculum and an interactive, integrated type of approach.”
And about that new degree program: “Ask me two years ago, I might have said we don’t need a doctoral degree. Now there are six doctoral programs in the country. Having it will give us an advantage in legislation, at places at the table we might not have had — like in mental health. ‘Doctor’ has a specific connotation,” said Herz.
The professor, clinician and researcher thanks academia for allowing him to mold the future of the occupational therapy field through his students. “It keeps me sharp with lifelong learning. Seeing results drives my clinical side, and keeping my professional skills current makes sure I can talk the talk and walk the walk.”
As for the future, he’s ready to take on the world, from Virginia. “Not me, but I’d like for us to have one of the top programs in the country. That’s my vision — and it’s going to take lots of people to do that.”
Last weekend the Mary Baldwin College community hosted both the musical observance Christmas Cheer and the Latin American celebration Las Posadas, ushering in the holiday season.
From February 11 to March 1, 2013, the exhibition “In Other Spaces: Recent Paintings by Margy Rich” will be on view at Mary Baldwin’s Hunt Gallery. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Rich lives and works in Sarasota, Florida, where she is a visual artist and educator. She holds an undergraduate degree, with honors, from the University of Pennsylvania, and she received the MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010. In 2008, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City acquired Rich’s work, A Book Not Made, for its Library Collection. Her work has been included in exhibitions and collections in the United States and Europe.
Rich’s paintings emerge from an interest in unoccupied space and the ambiguity that exists in this emptiness. She says the following about the paintings in the exhibition: “I am interested in the unoccupied space within man-made structures, and the ambiguity that exists in this emptiness. In this body of work I extract these fragments of space from iconic art museums and institutions. Within each of these spaces, I explore the interplay between absence and presence through the practice of painting. Seen together, the individual works in this exhibition become a newly created space, where one can experience both absence and presence.”
A reception will be held for the artist on Monday, February 11, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Hunt Gallery. The public is invited to attend. Hunt Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary work in all media by regionally and nationally recognized artists. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the college’s academic year. Hunt Gallery’s schedule for the 2012-2013 academic year can be found
Mrs. James Hornor Davis III, Ouida Caldwell Davis, died at home December 14, 2012, in White Sulphur Springs. Born in Huntington on May 3, 1928, Ouida Smith Caldwell was the daughter of Emma Akers and Nicholas Smith Caldwell. Namesake at special request of her aunt, Ouida Caldwell Watts, she was the youngest and only surviving grandchild of James Lewis Caldwell, a founding pioneer of Huntington and early force in the development of southern West Virginia railroads, coal mining and banking. Following the death of her father in 1929 and remarriage of her mother to Baxter N. Shaffer in 1932, she moved to Charleston. In 1950, she married James Hornor Davis III. Following his law school education at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and military service in Dover, Del., they returned to Charleston and raised two sons, James Hornor Davis IV and Lewis Caldwell Davis.
Mrs. Davis attended Charleston schools, The Greenbrier College for Women in Lewisburg and Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Va. Mrs. Davis served almost 20 years on the board of trustees of Mary Baldwin. In 1971 she was honored with the Emily Smith Medallion, the distinguished alumna award. In 1995 she received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, presented among various schools for service, character and spiritual contribution. She also served on the WVU Foundation board of directors and undertook various fundraising activities on behalf of WVU, especially the Mary Bab Randolph Cancer Center. For many years she served as the head of the Associates (Spouses) for her husband’s Princeton University Class of 1950 and was an active reunion participant.
Mrs. Davis was a lifelong dedicated volunteer and community activist undertaking numerous local, regional and national leadership roles. In the 1960s, despite her Republican roots, she also actively campaigned with and supported her husband as a Democrat in the West Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate. Her only notorious disagreement was his vote in favor of daylight savings time when it began as a state option. It passed by one vote — and she was known never to have changed her clocks and perpetually ran on standard time.
A person of strong faith, she was especially active in her church communities. Raised in her parents’ First Presbyterian Church in Charleston, she became an Episcopalian upon marriage. A Sunday school teacher and Guild member, she was the first woman to serve on the vestry of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church and among the first to serve in the diocese. She also served in many Episcopal volunteer positions, including president of the West Virginia Episcopal Church Women. She was especially proud of her Emmaeus Chapel project, a mobile chapel able to travel throughout the state to promote the growth of the church. She served as a special lay assistant (and frequent tennis partner) to Bishop Wilburn Campbell and received a Bishop’s Certificate of Commendation. Interested in national Episcopal Church activities, she was active in support of the building of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., and served as national vice chair for the Cathedral Board. In 1984 Mr. and Mrs. Davis built a home at The Greenbrier, where Mrs. Davis became a full-time resident following the death of her husband in 2004. During the 1980s and 1990s she was active with St. Thomas Episcopal Church in White Sulphur Springs. In the late 1990s she returned to her Presbyterian roots, serving as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of White Sulphur Springs and as an active Circle member traveling throughout the state on the Commission on Ministry.
In Charleston, she was active in many organizations. Her early interests included serving as a volunteer aide in Charleston public schools and as a board member of the Humane Association and the Red Cross. She also served as an early UNICEF liaison (undertaking a special study trip with the UN to Guatemala). A music lover, accomplished pianist and accordion player, she volunteered with the Community Music Association and the Light Opera Guild. An avid gardener, she was president of the Briar Hills and the Kanawha Garden Clubs, also serving on committees with the national Garden Club of America Board of Gardeners. The Junior League may take credit for some of her leadership skills and she served among other positions as president of the Charleston League and in some national committee roles. A descendant of very early-18th century Virginia settlers, she was a strong patriot and active in the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. She served for many years as president of the NSCDA resident in West Virginia, on the board of regents for Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason (patriot and drafter of the Bill of Rights), as regent for Sulgrave Manor (the English homeplace of the Washington family) and was also on the board of Dumbarton House.
In White Sulphur Springs Mrs. Davis was privileged to serve on the board of the library and Main Street and also in Lewisburg with the Greenbrier Valley Theatre. Her generosity and hospitality won her friends from all walks of life. She was a more than 50-year member of Edgewood Country Club, Farmington Country Club and a longtime member of Coral Beach and Tennis Club, The Greenbrier Golf and Tennis Club and the Sulgrave Club.
Above all else she was a devoted friend, loving and loyal wife, mother and grandmother. She is survived by her two sons, James Hornor Davis IV, his wife, Frederica Miller Davis, of Charleston and Aiken, S.C., and their daughters, Frederica Morgan Davis of San Francisco, Calif., and Faith Maxwell Davis of Boulder, Colo.; Lewis Caldwell Davis and his partner, Elizabeth Cromwell Secor, and his daughters, Paget Tilden Davis, Warren Caldwell Davis and Baird Brittingham Davis of Wilmington, Del. She was predeceased by her younger brother, N. Baxter Shaffer Jr. and his wife, Nancy White Shaffer Barker, and is survived by her nephew and godson, Nathaniel B. Shaffer III of Portland, Ore., and his family.
The family extends special gratitude to Mrs. Stuart Ann Hanna, her extraordinary caregivers and the many members of The Greenbrier Hotel community who made her life special.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, December 29, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of White Sulphur Springs, 201 West Main St. A memorial service will also be held in Charleston on another date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice Care, 223 Maplewood Ave., Lewisburg, WV 24901; the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, 113 E. Washington St., Lewisburg, WV 24901; or to a charity of the donor’s choice.
Published by The Charleston Gazette on behalf of the Davis Family
From January 14 – February 1, 2013, the exhibition “Plowed: Eleven Drawings” by Tom Adair will be on view at Mary Baldwin’s Hunt Gallery. Adair lives and works in Richmond, Virginia. He received the BFA from Eastern Michigan University; and, he earned the MFA from Indiana University (Bloomington). Since 1968 Adair has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, including venues in New York, Texas, Michigan, Virginia, Qatar, and Canada, among others. He is an adjunct faculty member in the School of the Arts, the English Department, and the Honors College at Virginia Commonwealth University.Adair’s work is represented by the Page Bond Gallery in Richmond.
The work in “Plowed” is comprised of eleven recent drawings in which the following materials are employed: etching ink, flaked graphite, marble dust, linseed and mink oils, and gold leaf. Each of these is used with a keen respect for its unique physical and optical qualities. Attentive to the physicality of the media and the various gestures of his creative process, Adair’s goal for the drawings is for them to function self-reflexively and self-critically. He states: “[t]he drawings do not refer elsewhere. [E]ach is a referent to the actions involved in its construction.This includes the white border (joint compound) and the hand-built frames.”
A reception will be held for the artist on Monday, January 14, from 4:30-6:00 p.m. in Hunt Gallery. The public is invited to attend.Hunt Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary work in all media by regionally and nationally recognized artists. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during the College’s academic year. Hunt Gallery’s schedule for the 2012-2013 academic year can be found online at: http://www.mbc.edu/arts/huntgallery.php.
Graduation robes or “academic regalia” go back to the Middle Ages. The first European universities were started about the time the great cathedrals were being built, and they were also church-related. In those days, most men wore some form of hose (tights) with a gown — short for informal wear and long for formal wear — over them. The clergy, and the students in the new universities, wore black gowns because black did not show ink stains, and these were their ordinary garments during their days of taking notes and copying out texts with a quill pen and a horn of liquid ink.
A detachable hood was part of the standard medieval dress as well; it hung over the shoulders and could be pulled up over the head to keep the sun or rain off, or pulled off with a little rear extension called the liripipe and allowed to hang down the back. Originally the hoods too were black.
By the Renaissance, hats were in and hoods were out. Most hats were soft, flat bags like a tam. The larger ones needed a cardboard stiffener to keep them from falling down over the wearer’s eyes. In the eighteenth century in Oxford, poor undergraduates asked the tailors to leave off as much fabric as they could, so the cardboard stiffeners were all that remained. People thought they resembled the boards masons carried on their heads when working so the term “mortarboard” came into use.
Also in the eighteenth century, hoods became more colorful and were often made in colors that indicated the particular college or degree. Ornamental tassels were added to the mortarboards and generally worn (after graduation) hanging off the left side to keep a clear view of the writing hand. The whole regalia — cap, hood and gown — was worn to all lectures and at all formal college functions right up until the nineteenth century, and in many English colleges the gown is still worn by students attending classes. At Mary Baldwin, seniors put on their caps and gowns for the first time on Founders Day of their senior year, and add the hoods, which are lined with Mary Baldwin’s white and yellow colors, at commencement. The white facings represent the liberal arts. Specialized degrees all have their own different colors, but the liberal arts, like white light, is composed of all the colors.
—Lundy Pentz, Associate Faculty Marshal
Bachelor’s Degree Candidates | Master’s Degree Candidates
ROBES:Baccalaureate and master’s level gowns are usually black and are untrimmed, with the sleeves of the master’s gown generally longer. Velvet panels down the front of the gown distinguish doctoral gowns, which may be black or a school color of the university granting the degree. Three horizontal velvet bars, usually of the color representing the wearer’s degree, also mark the doctorate.
CAPS:Only doctoral caps may be made of velvet.
HOODS:The length of the hood indicates the degree, with the bachelor’s being three feet long, the master’s three and one half, and the doctoral four feet. The color of the lining indicates the university at which the degree was earned and is usually the school color.
The border of the hood indicates the academic discipline in which the degree was earned, as follows:
|Architecture and Fine Arts
|Arts and Letters
ACADEMIC REGALIA FOR GRADUATING SENIORS
BACHELOR’S DEGREE CANDIDATES
||Kente cloth stole — green and white
||Ajani (literally “she who wins all struggles") is a rite of passage and celebration for African-American students.
|Alpha Sigma Lambda
||Burgundy and gold cord
||National honor society for returning adult students
|Beta Beta Beta
||Red and green cord
||Biological sciences honor society
||Gold graduation tassel
||MBC Honor Scholars Society
|Iota Sigma Pi
||White, green, & yellow cord
||Women in Chemistry national honor society
|Lambda Pi Eta
||Red and white cord
||National honor society for undergraduates in communication
|Omicron Delta Epsilon
||Blue and yellow cord
||International economics honor society
|Omicron Delta Kappa
||White, sky blue, & black cord
||National honorary leadership society
|Phi Alpha Theta
||Red and light blue cord
||National honor society in history
|Phi Beta Kappa
||Gold key, pin, pendant, or earrings
||The nation’s oldest academic honor society
||Gold cord, blue & gold tassels
||Psychology national honor society
|Senior Class Officers
||Small scarlet and gold ribbons on lapel
||Top elected positions for the graduating class
||Gold apple charm on tassel
||Students who made a gift to MBC
|Student Class Marshalls
||Gold epaulet on left shoulder
||Top two students by GPA in each traditional class (including PEG and VWIL)
|Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership
||Pair of green and yellow cords with silver disk
MASTER’S DEGREE CANDIDATES
Gowns worn by candidates for the Master of Arts in Teaching and the Master of Letters in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance degrees are longer than the ones worn by the bachelor’s degree candidates, as are the bat wing–shaped sleeves. The hood is different, too: It is longer than the one that is worn by those who have earned the bachelor’s degree. The lining is yellow and white, Mary Baldwin College’s official school colors. The trim is white for both programs, because both are based in the liberal arts (see “ Faculty Regalia ”)
A significant contribution from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation will fund a common area on the third floor of Pearce Science Center and propel additional fundraising for the building’s multi-million-dollar renovation.
The foundation’s recent $2 million commitment — representing close to one quarter of the funds remaining to be raised for the overhaul of Pearce Science Center — will help renovate the third floor, which includes academic areas and key communal spaces that are most frequently used by students regardless of their academic major and by the wider community. The 6,500-square-foot space will require the Pearce project’s most extensive demolition and reconstruction and will be named in memory of Leona Carpenter ’35.
“The Carpenter Science Commons will signal a revitalization of scientific learning with research-oriented displays and collections showcasing the vibrant learning environment,” wrote Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dan Layman as part of the proposal to the Carpenter Foundation.
Plans call for the building’s main entrance from campus to open onto the Commons, where students and faculty can meet en route to class, labs, or the new science library. The space will demonstrate that scientific study is integral at MBC and position the college to recruit and educate young women who will contribute to medical and scientific discovery in the 21st century, according to the proposal.
“We often say that our students ‘learn by doing,’ and that is facilitated when those students can collaborate with their colleagues and professors … in receptive spaces in the science building,” said Paul Deeble, associate professor of biology.
The first phase
of renovations in Pearce — the only major change the building has seen in its 40-year history — was completed in December 2011. A $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation and $775,000 from donors made it possible to create new classroom and lab space on the second floor; update heating and cooling, electrical, and technological systems; painting; replace cabinets, floors, and light fixtures; and install a new water line, modified sewer line, and a new acid neutralization system. Work on the second, and final, phase of the Pearce renovation is scheduled to begin in summer 2014. In addition to the Carpenter Commons, Phase II will address research and classroom areas for supramolecular chemistry and materials science.
Generating approximately $8 million in new donations to ensure the completion of upgrades in Pearce is a critical component of the college’s $80 million comprehensive fundraising effort, Ever Ahead: The Campaign for Mary Baldwin College.
Established in 1975, the Carpenter Foundation is an independent organization whose main interests include the arts, education, theological education and health. Currently led by Leona Carpenter’s daughter Ann Bowman Day ’74, the foundation has generously supported MBC for decades; the most recent contribution brings the organization’s total giving to more than $11 million. The foundation’s early gifts included funds for the late-1980s renovation of Carpenter Academic Building and to establish an endowment that supports the college chaplain, the Carpenter Quest Program, and the Preparation for Ministry Program.
The foundation provided generous funding to help establish the Master of Letters/Master of Fine Arts in Shakespeare and Performance and underwrite the program for several years. In addition, it was vital in creating and endowing the Health Care Administration Program, which helps to support student scholarships as well as the Carpenter Lecture series.
Mary Baldwin College has reached a milestone in establishing graduate programs in health sciences and in the overall growth of the institution.
This week, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
(SACS) Commission on Colleges voted to clear the way for MBC to become a Level Five institution and award doctoral degrees in up to three academic or professional disciplines. The decision helps facilitate the establishment of doctor of physical therapy (DPT) and doctor of occupational therapy (OTD) programs in the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (MDCHS), planned to open in 2014.
“Attaining accreditation as a doctoral institution is a significant milestone in the history of Mary Baldwin College,” said Lyn McDermid ’95, chairwoman of the MBC Board of Trustees. “Through the years we have stayed ahead of the curve through hard work and with an entrepreneurial spirit. The establishment of Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, the latest demonstration of that spirit, takes the institution to a whole new level. The SACS approval of our change in status is exciting and gratifying.”
MBC President Pamela Fox first delivered the news to faculty and staff via email from Texas, where she attended the annual meeting of SACS, the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. In her message, Fox thanked the team who worked in quickly to submit the ambitious proposal by October: Lew Askegaard, dean of institutional research, associate dean of the college and registrar; Linda Stanford, founding vice president of MDCHS; Lisa Shoaf, director of physical therapy; and Martha Modlin, project administrator for MDCHS.
The last time MBC achieved a new level of accreditation was in 1991 with the advent of the Masters of Arts in Teaching program. The leap from Level Three, or master’s-level university, to Level Five is a major step, Askegaard said, adding that the process was carried out in record time and involved the addition of not one additional program, but two programs, plus the establishment of a branch campus, the first for MBC.
“This was extremely unusual and extremely ambitious and to do it in six weeks is unprecedented. Level Five is the hardest level to make,” Askegaard said.
While there is much to celebrate, the final approval from SACS won’t be official until a site visit to the new campus in Fishersville in the 2014–15 academic year. MDCHS administrators also have initiated and continue to work within the appropriate processes for each new graduate program, including a master of physician assistant studies program, to become accredited by the organizations that govern each discipline.
Mary Baldwin College alum Capt. Eva Bratschi, officer in charge of the U.S. Army ROTC unit at the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) and Texas Southmost College, recently returned from a three-week mission to the Togolese Republic
in West Africa.
“Our mission was twofold: to assist the Togolese military cadets in their English studies and to build relationships between the future leaders of our two countries,” Bratschi said.
As the mission team leader, Bratschi led 10 ROTC cadets from various American universities in the summer Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency
program that began July 4 with training and medical processing at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
“This was an opportunity of a lifetime, enabling our cadets to work on their skills to become dynamic leaders while being evaluated in an international environment,” Bratschi said. “Programs such as this cultivate teamwork, diplomacy, and peace.”
Bratschi received her B.A. in political science in 2003 from Mary Baldwin. Currently working on her master’s degree at UTB in bilingual and bicultural education, she is scheduled to graduate in December 2013. In January 2010, Bratschi was appointed ranking officer of the campus Army ROTC unit.
Bratschi and the cadets arrived in the seaside capital city of Lomé, where they met their security team that included two drivers and a medical doctor. They received a briefing from U.S. Embassy Liaison Officer Arthur Bell, and the next day boarded a van for the drive north to Kara.
“For the entire five-and-a-half-hour drive, we followed our motorbike escort with its siren blowing,” Bratschi said. “Thankfully, the road was dry, because, as we experienced later, the drive can take up to eight hours on muddy roads. Everyone was relieved to finally reach our hotel in Pya, just outside Kara. It was small and simple, yet comfortable.”
In Pya, the U.S. cadets spent a large part of each day working with the Togolese cadets studying English at the military training compound. Aside from language study, both groups of cadets participated in team building activities that included daily physical training exercises. One particularly memorable activity, Bratschi said, was accompanying the Togolese cadets in their climb up a nearby mountain, a traditional endeavor that takes place before the Togolese cadets receive their commissions.
“I think the informal time our cadets spent together outside the classroom was especially helpful for the Togolese to experience casual, conversational English,” Bratschi said. “Over the three weeks, the students became more comfortable with one another, sharing stories and photos of their families.”
Each of the ROTC cadets was assigned a specific role — chaplain, public affairs officer, finance officer, academic liaison officer, supply officer, administrative officer, evaluation officer, health officer, and event coordinator — that they maintained throughout the mission. The role of squad leader was reassigned every day on a rotating basis. In the evenings after dinner, Bratschi wrote her cadet evaluations while the cadets worked on their research papers, taking turns using the intermittent Internet connection.
At the end of their mission, the ROTC cadets and their Togolese counterparts participated in a military awards ceremony when the language students received their certificates and tokens of appreciation from both sides were exchanged.
“We returned to the U.S. on August 9 after a successful mission,” Bratschi said. “Our cadets received first-hand exposure to another culture, and I feel the Togolese cadets benefited with not only increased language skills but also by broadening their understanding of Americans.”
– Story courtesy of the University of Texas Brownsville.