Twin sisters Carolyn and Kimberly Denny were honored Monday at Virginia Military Institute with national scholarships worth $5,000, representing the best in all of Army ROTC.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation and Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association presented the awards to the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL) cadets, both senior sociology/psychology majors from Jacksonville, Florida.
Col. Wesley Fox, a Medal of Honor recipient, presented the Medal of Honor Scholarship to Carolyn Denny and Lt. Gen John Dubia presented a scholarship, founded in his name, to Kimberly Denny.
Carolyn Denny is first captain for VWIL who contracted with the Army in November 2013. Kimberly Denny is public relations officer for VWIL. Both sisters enlisted in the National Guard in June 2012 and are members of the Aviation Club and the Presidents Society, among many activities. The sisters, who want to become pilots, will commission in the Army in May 2015 and have been selected for the Aviation Branch.
Col. Wesley Fox presents the Medal of Honor Scholarship to Carolyn Denny.
Lieutenant General John Dubia presented the LTG JOHN A, DUBIA, USA (Ret.) SCHOLARSHIP to Kimberly Denny.
Eric Jones, associate professor of biology, has been named the Caroline Rose Hunt Distinguished Chair in the Natural Sciences.
Eric Jones leads a class during May Term 2013.
Jones earned a BS from Bucknell University and his MS and PhD from The Pennsylvania State University. Since he joined the Mary Baldwin faculty in 1986, Jones has been an active member of the college community, and currently serves as chair of the School of Science.
The self-described “muddy boots” professor was anonymously nominated for this honor by a colleague who said “Thanks to him, thousands of young women have graduated from Mary Baldwin with a special appreciation for the unique plants, animals, and ecosystems of our region.” An alumna, also wished to remain anonymous, said “Dr. Jones was the first professor I met when I came to visit the campus and one of the big reasons I decided to stay at MBC.”
The distinguished chair in the natural sciences is named in honor of Caroline Rose Hunt ’43, co-founder and owner of Lady Primrose’s Royal Bathing and Skin Luxuries, honorary chairman of Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, and a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame.
For the eighth year in a row, Mary Baldwin College has earned a spot on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll; but this time, MBC is recognized “with distinction” for its interfaith cooperation and community service.
This is the first year that one of the four categories of the president’s honor roll recognizes schools that include interfaith engagement as an intentional component of community service.
The MBC Office of the Chaplain, a “secular safe zone” where a diverse group of students interact on a daily basis, figured prominently in MBC’s 2014 honor roll application, as did the Quest program for academic and programmatic interfaith and spiritual exploration, and the Interfaith Explorations Gateway for first-year students. MBC’s observation of Islam Awareness Week, an annual Faith Fair, and a recent trip to the Yogaville ashram were also noted in the report.
Increased institutional awareness of interfaith engagement has led to student organizations contacting and including Chaplain Katherine Low in interfaith programming on campus projects — from students with interest in Indian religion and culture planning a Diwali celebration on campus to Muslim students arranging for a demonstration of Eid. Such connections have led to service opportunities such as a campus-wide shoe drive and Hunger Awareness Week.
MBC’s strong participation in the CROP Walk — a major fundraising event for Church World Service, a global non-profit organization that works to eradicate hunger and poverty — helped elevate the college’s interfaith service profile as well.
President Fox at the White House with Christian Peele ’05, who is the White House Deputy Director of Operations. Fox attended the President’s White House Forum on Interfaith and Community Service.
The distinction tied in with the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering at Georgetown University, where students, staff, and administrators shared experiences, learned from experts, and met administration officials who share a commitment to community service with an interfaith component. The conference included a smaller forum at the White House for about 50 college and university presidents, including MBC President Pamela Fox.
The event recognized 98 institutions of higher learning for their leadership in developing programs in interfaith community service. Thirty-eight, including Mary Baldwin College, were recognized “with distinction.”
According to MBC’s application, 433 students engaged in academic service-learning in 2013–14 and performed 35,375 hours of community service hours.
Other community service projects that helped distinguish MBC included Doenges Scholar Aurora Robson’s May term course Intercepting the Plastic Waste Stream: Art that Engages, which involved students transforming waste material into works of art and raising money for Friends of the Middle River; an alternative spring break event focused on food insecurity in the local community; and the Threads of Desegregation storytelling project with alumni from the all African-American Booker T. Washington school in Staunton.
Mary Baldwin College is recognizing the rich cultural heritage of Native Americans with an array of campus programs throughout November.
Events include a lecture with Santina Knight, professor at Central Virginia Community College, and Sharon Bryant, tribal chief of the Monacan Indian Nation who will present “Disowning and Reclaiming Native American Identities” from 6 to 8 p.m. November 20 in Lyda B. Hunt Gallery. A reception will follow in the Spencer Center.
Other events include a presentation from the anthropology club and a drumming and dance performance.
See the Native American Heritage Month events poster for more information.
Black Baby Doll Drive is in its 17th Year
Mary Baldwin College students in the Ida B. Wells Gateway and PERSIST program are collecting black baby dolls for local children through December 3 in an effort to boost confidence and self esteem.
Student Megan Edwards drops by the Office of Inclusive Excellence with donated baby dolls for the 2014 Black Baby Doll Drive at MBC.
“The dolls should look like the average African-American child,” said freshman organizer Kaelyn Dickinson. “They should have black or brown hair and black or brown eyes.”
Sounds easy enough? Not really. At least, not for many young black girls who are looking for dolls that look like them. Many dolls today are covered in tattoos, are scantily clad, or have exaggerated features. Research shows that this phenomenon is perpetuating a negative image among black girls.
“In my experience it is difficult for African-American girls to find dolls that fit the criteria,” said Dickinson, who is black. “The Clark Doll Test shows that when some African-American children were asked what doll was the prettiest and smartest they chose the Caucasian doll. Some of the African-American children thought the ugly and stupid doll was the African American one.”
Dickinson continued, it’s difficult for black girls to see that “they are just as beautiful and intelligent as others who look different,” when the vast majority of black baby dolls have unrealistic features.
“It was difficult for my parents and for me to find dolls that looked like me,” said student organizer Kirsten Goodman ’18. “The dolls either had accentuating features or they were some type of fairy or had different color eyes. The difference for me was that even though I played with an array of dolls — black, white, or princess dolls — I was fortunate enough to have supportive parents who constantly uplifted me. However, that isn’t the case in every home. Not only is it difficult to find the dolls we are looking for, they are often more costly.”
“This effort really resonates with me because I have experienced first-hand young African-American girls dealing with issues like self-confidence and low self esteem due to what our society deems ‘intelligent’ or ‘beautiful,’” Goodman said. “I think giving dolls is not only a great way to give back to the community, but also presents an opportunity where we can uplift young African-American girls.”
Student Alayah Austin with baby dolls that will inspire local children.
Organizers are asking members of the community to donate African-American dolls who have “basic” features: no blue or green eyes, no piercings, no highlights in the hair, and no princesses or fairies. The dolls must be fully clothed and must not come with cell phones. The purpose of these very specific regulations, Goodman said, is to show black girls that they are beautiful in their own skin. The students are also collecting monetary donations for purchasing appropriate baby dolls.
Participants in the drive can give dolls or monetary donations to any Ida B. Wells member or drop them off at the Office of Inclusive Excellence. Dolls can also be donated at the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement, where they will eventually be displayed. The goal is to collect or purchase 400 baby dolls, which will be distributed around the Christmas holiday to children from low-income families and to African-American girls who don’t come from lower-income families, but who simply want a doll that looks like them.
Mary Baldwin Associate Professor of Philosophy Edward Scott has been named recipient of the 2014 H. Hiter Harris Jr. Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, given by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC). He will be honored at a luncheon in Richmond today.
A member of the MBC faculty for nearly 25 years, Scott’s primary interests are the history of philosophy, hermeneutics, phenomenology, aesthetics, and African-American thought. He is well-respected among colleagues and students alike, commanding “the affection and respect of this community to an unparalleled degree,” wrote Catharine O’Connell, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the college, in a nomination letter for the award.
“It is fair to say that Edward is a force on this campus; he holds us all to the highest standards and reminds us of our duty one to another,” O’Connell wrote. “His students are amazed by him — a little intimidated too, at least at first. From his general-education introductory Philosophy classes to his upper-level specialized courses, Dr. Scott offers students the best that the liberal-arts tradition has to offer.”
Professor of Philosophy Roderic Owen has worked alongside Scott throughout Scott’s time at MBC, which includes service as department chair and assistant dean of the college. President Pamela Fox also appointed Scott interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college for three academic years before O’Connell arrived at MBC in 2009.
“[He] embodies the abilities and attitude that bring ethical commitments to the forefront, that make it right to seek both knowledge and the ‘good life,’ and that reveal the power of public speaking directed toward an empowering liberal education,” Owen said of his colleague.
Scott’s work also extends outside the MBC campus. He has served on the Staunton City School Board, the board of advisors for the local branch of the Salvation Army, and as a member of the board of trustees for the American Shakespeare Center. He is also devoted to the ordained ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
His influence has also resonated with hundreds of MBC alumni, including Aubrey Sparks ’13.
“He seamlessly integrated life into teaching and teaching into life until the sun in my window in the morning reminded me of Plato and the tree changing colors outside of our classroom window inspired me to contemplate Kierkegaard,” Sparks said. “He incorporated his own experiences into his lectures, letting us learn from him in both an academic as well as a personal sense, while also allowing us to understand philosophy through the world so that we could understand the connections between education and experience.”
Scott earned his BA in philosophy from Slippery Rock State University and his MA and PhD at Duquesne University. His first teaching job in philosophy was in 1977 at an urban satellite for the Community College of Allegheny County. He also taught at the University of Calabar in Nigeria; Carlow College in Pittsburgh; Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio; and Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois.
The H. Hiter Harris Jr. Award, which includes a stipend to support the recipient’s scholarly research or professional development activities, was created at the VFIC in 2008 through an endowment gift from the family of the late Hiter Harris Jr., a leading Virginia banker who was a member of the VFIC’s board from 1973–98. His son, H. Hiter Harris III, joined the board in 2000.
Seven Mary Baldwin College students representing various majors attended the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation’s weekend workshop for social entrepreneurism and civic leadership at Kanuga Retreat in Hendersonville, North Carolina, connecting with other college students and learning how to network, launch ideas, and build careers out of a passion for service.
Holly Johnston ’14, Mwazomela Mbewe ’15, and Allie Ellmauer ’15 at Kanuga Retreat. (Photos by Betsey Suchanic ’16)
Junior Betsey Suchanic, student leader for the fall retreat, said classes that she had already taken at MBC helped provide a strong foundation for the weekend and that the experience will enrich her future coursework as well.
“[The retreat] was rewarding on an individual level, and getting to know and collaborate with other passionate students, both from Mary Baldwin College and other institutions across the United States, was inspiring and empowering,” said the marketing communication and studio art major. “I’m grateful for the opportunity [to have taken part in this] learning experience and the faculty members that work to make it possible for students to attend.”
Math major Mwazomela Mbewe ’15 already had an idea of what she was passionate about: math, clean water, poverty, and education. “But after being around other people my age who are so passionate about social problems,” she said, “I found myself really wanting to go out and make changes.”
In the “Launching an Idea” session at the retreat, Mbewe said she ended up with a business idea that would involve partnering with or starting an engineering company in Zambia to build water-related infrastructure to help prevent flooding during monsoons. A large number of students in Zambia, especially in impoverished areas, are unable to attend school because of flooding.
“Even if I never carry out that exact idea, I learned a lot about how to develop an idea and execute it,” Mbewe said. “I also learned that I could apply my skills to come up with creative solutions for social problems — the definition of social entrepreneurship. I’m already pursing engineering, but being made aware and thinking about my passions has helped me decide that I want a career to integrate my passions.”
Allie Ellmauer ’15 said she found inspiration among her peers at the conference.
On the road with Dr. Dorries.
“Although I only spent a couple days with them, I know that I now have a reliable network of people to contact when I need to bounce ideas off of somebody for a project I am working on,” said the political science major. “I realized that anything is possible with a little bit of hard work and a whole lot of spirit, and as cliché as it may sound, maybe one day I will change the world.”
According to Associate Professor of Communication Bruce Dorries, a faculty fellow of the Sullivan Foundation, MBC sends between four and 10 students every year to the Sullivan retreats. Faculty who are interested in nominating students for a similar spring retreat should contact Dorries for more information.
For the past 85 years, the Sullivan Foundation has supported efforts across the South to promote service learning and social entrepreneurship.
New team members joined Mary Baldwin’s Office of Institutional Advancement this fall, infusing the college’s fundraising office with renewed energy.
Marcell Mallette came on board in October as associate vice president of Institutional Advancement. She oversees four staff members across advancement services and will manage Baldwin Fund strategy to build momentum for the college’s annual fund drive, in addition to providing fundraising expertise on all aspects of Ever Ahead: The Campaign for Mary Baldwin College. Prior to coming to MBC, Mallette served as a major and planned gifts officer at Paul Smith’s College in New York. Over the course of her 18-year career in higher education, she filled a number of key director-level roles in the areas of annual fund, donor relations, and alumni relations at colleges in Pennsylvania and New York. Mallette joins MBC at a pivotal time as the college implements a new strategic plan and works to complete the Ever Ahead campaign.
“I am honored and delighted to join Mary Baldwin College as it launches Mary Baldwin 2020,” she said. “I am looking forward to partnering with my colleagues in Institutional Advancement to achieve the fundraising goals of the new strategic plan, including a successful completion of the Ever Ahead Campaign.”
Another fresh face at Mary Baldwin, Elizabeth “Liz” Lewis ’79 is thrilled to return to her alma mater as director of development. She started her position in September and supports major gifts development, meeting with and building relationships with prospective and current donors across the country. Lewis was regional director of development at Washington & Lee University, where she managed a portfolio of hundreds of alumni donors and traveled across 13 states to cultivate relationships with the institution before joining MBC. Lewis looks forward to visiting with alumni and friends to share updates on the college.
“I’m so happy to be back at Mary Baldwin at such an exciting time in our college’s history,” she said. “I have read and heard so much about the Ever Ahead campaign, but to witness firsthand the impact that the collective generosity and vision of our community has already had is very inspiring.”
Rhonda Harwley and Gin Chandler have also joined the IA team in recent weeks. Harwley will serve as executive assistant to the vice president and comes to MBC from Wells Fargo where she was administrative assistant to the regional president. Chandler, IA’s new database manager, previously worked for Harrisonburg City Public Schools, as coordinator of assessment and accountability.
Mary Baldwin College hosted Staunton’s Food Day on October 23 with a mini-farmers market, cash bar, and dinner featuring locally sourced ingredients. Vendors included Queen City Brewing, Bold Rock Hard Cider, Devils Back Bone, Red Beard Brewing, and Barren Ridge and Ox Eye vineyards, Aleta Springs, Cool Breeze Stables and Farm, Dancing Star Farm, Malcom’s Market Garden, Mt. Crawford Creamery, Nu-Beginning Farm, True & Essential Meats, White Barn Company, Sunrise Farm, Buffalo Creek, and Jan’s Jams Inc.
Co-sponsor of the event, Staunton Creative Community Fund hosted a similar food day event downtown last year but because MBC is recognized as a community leader in partnering with local farmers and vendors, the college was invited to host this year’s event on campus.
Mary Baldwin College will host a public lecture by visiting novelist Angie Cruz at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 in Francis Auditorium, in the Jesse C. Pearce Science Building. The lecture, titled “The Possibility of Fiction,” is free and open to the public.
Cruz is the college’s Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Doenges Fellow for 2014–15, with a one-week residency scheduled for Nov. 3 – 7 and a three-week residency scheduled for later in the academic year, when she will return to teach a May term course, Writing and Leadership.
A faculty member in the creative writing program at the University of Pittsburgh, Cruz has published two novels, Soledad (for which she has also written a screenplay) and Let It Rain Coffee. Her work tends to focus on the experience of Latina Americans, particularly Dominican Americans; and she has been a contributor to numerous journals, anthologies, and conferences devoted to the topics of ethnic identity and Latina American literature. Copies of her novels will be available for purchase at the lecture, and may also be purchased from the Mary Baldwin bookstore and from Bookworks downtown.