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MBC Dining services is hosting it’s very own version of the popular Food Network program “Cutthroat Kitchen” at noon September 24, featuring three student competitors, mystery dishes, cooking and grocery stations inside Hunt Dining Hall-East. Dining Services Director Tracy Hiner will judge the competition, alongside a student judge and a faculty/staff judge.

micheal clay serving spaghetti

Chef Michael Clay serves up a delicious plate of spaghetti in Hunt Dining Hall, site of MBC’s version of Food Network’s popular show “Cutthroat Kitchen.” Photo courtesy of The News Leader.

Just like on the television show, competitors must prepare a dish on the fly with a twist. Each contestant starts out with money (and in the dining hall’s version, play money) which can be used to pay for the privilege of handicapping their competitors. For example, one student may choose to spend a quarter of her money to force one of her classmates to cook while wearing oven mitts the entire time. According to Executive Chef Michael Clay, there will be two rounds. Students interested in competing have been submitting their names to be drawn within the next few days.

For Professor of English Sarah Kennedy, writing the second book in her historical novel series The Cross and the Crown was completely different from writing the first. City of Ladies debuts next

“I’d [already] gone through the agony of trying to figure out how to plot events and manage historical detail and dialogue while maintaining readability,” Kennedy said, who is now writing the third novel, The King’s Sisters. “I thought that this time it would be easier yet. Wrong. The third book has been the hardest. I know the main characters pretty well now, and I can hear them talking … but plotting a third novel has been a killer. I guess it just goes to show you that a writer’s work is never quite done.”

The series is set in Tudor England during the dissolution of religious communities by King Henry VIII. Kennedy’s first novel, The Altarpiece, debuted in spring 2013, and introduces heroine Catherine Havens, a young nun who is about to be evicted by the king’s officers.

City of Ladies picks up a couple of years after the end of The Altarpiece, when the convent is closed and Catherine has married.

“I don’t want to give away too much plot, but her husband is quite ambitious — and completely Protestant — so Catherine’s doubts about the new church in England cause problems for her,” Kennedy said. “The series focuses on how one woman comes to terms with the changes in the country when England breaks away from the Roman Catholic church, which provided a place for female education and power. When the convents closed, many of these intelligent, disciplined women had to find ways to make their livings in a culture that provided them with fewer and fewer options.”

Kennedy is also author of several books of poetry, available directly from Elixir Press, as well as from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

According to The Cross and Crown publisher Knox Robinson Publishing, book three in Kennedy’s series will debut in August 2015. A November 15 launch party for City of Ladies is from 2 to 5 p.m. at Bookworks, 101 W. Beverley St. Both hardcover and paperback versions of The Altarpiece will also be available.

There is a new face at Mary Baldwin College this fall thanks, in part, to the work of the Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement.

Shiny John Vairamon, a chemistry professor from Stella Maris College in Channai, South India, is a visiting faculty fellow this semester. The Spencer Center secured full financial support of her fellowship through the United Board of Christian Higher Education in Asia.

According to Associate Professor of Chemistry Karl Zachary — who, along with Spencer Center Assistant Director Lisa Brown, will be hosting the visiting professor — Vairamon has taught courses across nearly the entire spread of subdisciplines at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Her interests include the inflammatory response and wound healing in diabetic patients.

Among her goals during the visit to MBC, Vairamon hopes to learn more about American liberal arts colleges. As a result, she plans to visit several different programs and offices around campus throughout the coming weeks.


The new director of operations at Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership is no stranger to Staunton or Mary Baldwin College.Jenkins_Paul

“I’m a Staunton native. And I’m very aware of MBC — I had family members go here. I grew up going to First Presbyterian,” said Paul Jenkins, whose interest was piqued when the college advertised for a chief of operations for the corps of cadets.

With experience as an attorney — in the U.S. Navy’s Judge Advocate General Corps, where he still serves as a reserve officer — and as a private-practice lawyer in Charlottesville, Jenkins brings nearly a decade of experience to the college.

“I’m having fun so far,” Jenkins said of his new post, which began September 8.

As director of operations, Jenkins will provide oversight of the co-curricular components of VWIL, ensuring that all cadets have the opportunity to develop leadership skills and understanding in preparation for both military and civilian careers. He will ensure effective operation of the regimental and class systems, work to maintain high esprit and morale among cadets, guide and train student leaders, work with key external constituencies to garner and organize support for the program, and assist in recruiting and retaining capable students.

In addition, Jenkins will oversee the scheduled co-curricular and military components of the VWIL program, including physical training. He will counsel students and coordinate with all college offices that support the cadet-training program.

A new academic year has begun at Mary Baldwin College with a lively group of first-year students, which is great news. But even better news, according to admissions officials, is that members of the Class of 2018 are a better fit for MBC, thanks to new print materials, a revamped website, and refreshed talking points for counselors that focus on MBC’s academic excellence, rich campus life, solid financial aid options, and personal attention from faculty and staff.

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One of several postcards that encouraged prospective students to visualize themselves at MBC.

One of the new, successful tactics developed by the design team in the MBC Office of Communication, Marketing, and Public Affairs involved encouraging prospective students to imagine themselves among the student body by taking “selfies,” during campus visits and eventually during orientation week, sharing those pictures on various social media outlets through #mbcselfie.

This year’s freshman class also brings an improved academic record with an average SAT composite 20 points higher than last year’s class. The Class of 2018 has an average high school grade point average of 3.4. The vast majority of freshmen hail from Virginia, followed by Maryland, North Carolina, and Texas, which enjoys a strong alumni base.

The most popular last name among the Class of 2018 is Williams, and the most popular first name is shared among eight students and spelled five different ways: Breanna, Breeaunna, Breianna, Briana, and Brianna. And Executive Chef Michael Clay may want to serve birthday cake in Hunt Dining Hall on May 13 because six freshmen were born on that day.

There is a 30-year span between the youngest member of the freshman class: a 12-year-old in the Program for the Exceptionally Gifted and a 42-year-old transfer student.


A leader in the field of education for many years, Mary Baldwin College is adopting a new model for its undergraduate and graduate education programs, elevating a longstanding academic strength into a flagship program.

In launching the College of Education this fall, MBC consolidates management of financial resources, deployment of faculty and staff, and development of curriculum for one of its most popular disciplines. The move enables the college to serve students at all levels more effectively and to better support faculty. It also positions the college for future growth.

The new College of Education includes four pathways that have been part of education at MBC for several years, but administered through different academic units: an undergraduate degree with teacher licensure available to students in the Residential College for Women as well as the Adult Degree Program, the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Education (MEd) graduate programs, post-baccalaureate teacher licensure (PBTL), and non-licensure certificate and professional development offerings.

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“Our most important goal is to deliver the highest quality instruction possible through the most effective and efficient programs, and to make the path clear for all of our education students,” said Rachel Potter, longtime educator and administrator who has been chosen as dean of the new College of Education.

Also new is an interdisciplinary major, liberal arts and educational studies, which will help clarify for undergraduates the courses needed to meet Mary Baldwin’s general education requirements as well as those needed to earn Virginia teacher licensure. The major likely will be most attractive to students seeking an elementary education endorsement who will need to teach a broad range of subjects.

MBC also plans to soon offer an add-on endorsement in English as a second language, which is a growing need in the Shenandoah Valley. Among the rich array of options in the MEd at MBC is Environment-Based Learning, which regularly garners media attention. Recent expansion has included new concentrations in adult and higher education and applied behavior analysis.

In the coming year, MBC administrators will explore a physical relocation of College of Education offices, which will centralize operations and improve visibility. There is also potential to add instructional spaces — including those designed to mimic an elementary or secondary classroom — with such a move.

 New Faces in Education

The College of Education welcomes two new faculty members this fall. Pamela Bailey, assistant professor of education, holds a bachelor’s degree from West Virginia State College in secondary mathematics education. She also earned a MA in education, specializing in diverse learners, from the University of Phoenix. Her PhD is from George Mason University where her degree was in mathematics education leadership with a minor in administration and supervision.



Prior to coming to MBC, Bailey worked at George Mason University as an assistant professor, teaching courses in mathematics education and secondary mathematics education. She also worked for several years as the secondary mathematics coordinator in Spotsylvania County schools and as a secondary math teacher in Stafford and Westmoreland Counties.

Emily Ely is an assistant professor of reading education at Mary Baldwin College. In addition to teaching, Ely advises graduate students and is developing a reading endorsement program. She also conducts research on teacher education and literacy instruction, and presents findings at conferences such as the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Prior to joining the faculty at MBC, Ely taught kindergarten in an extended foreign language program in Miami, trained K-5th grade teachers as a reading coach, instructed undergraduate and graduate level courses at the University of Virginia (UVa), supervised student teachers, and taught music to preschoolers. She served as chair of the scholarship and professional development committee of education council at UVa through which she organized events to improve teacher readiness and promote transfer of research into the classroom. Additionally, she volunteered her time training teachers in Rwanda.



Ely earned her BA in elementary education and her MEd in reading education K-12 from the University of Miami and her PhD in special education from UVa. Through teaching and research, she aims to improve the outcomes of students at-risk for or with learning disabilities by enhancing the quality of reading instruction in economically and culturally diverse settings. In 2013, the teacher education division of CEC granted her an Outstanding Publication Award.

Mary Baldwin College faculty and staff welcomed numerous new members of the community August 27 at the annual state of the college address in Francis Auditorium.

Academic Affairs

Full-time faculty: 

Pamela Bailey, assistant professor of education

Emily Ely, assistant professor of education

Barbara Merk, assistant professor of biology

Patricia Ryan, instructor of health care administration

Administrative appointments:

Lisa Brown, assistant director of the Spencer Center

George Guba, instructional designer


Anaya Jones, information literacy librarian

Paula Kiser, instruction and electronic services librarian


Kimberly D. Robinson

Business and Finance

Physical Plant:

Deborah Allen, housekeeper

James Daggy, groundskeeper

Darren Dawson, housekeeper (MDCHS)

Susan Martz, housekeeper (MDCHS)

Charles Reed, maintenance technician (MDCHS)

Houston Rohr, campus support

Cindy Smith, housekeeping supervisor

Dustin Smith, assistant grounds supervisor

Adam Sprouse, groundskeeper (MDCHS)

Dining Services:

Tyler Burch, cook

Patty Ergenbright, catering manager

Matthew McGann, dining room orderly

Security and Switchboard: 

Kathy Orebaugh, security officer

Albert Tkacik, security officer (MDCHS)

Victoria Wiles, switchboard operator

David Zullig, security officer

Administrative Support:

Liz Hylton

Enrollment Management

Whitney Altizer, admissions counselor

Alison Burch, campus visit coordinator and customer service representative

Matthew Jones, admissions counselor

Tory Maupin, admissions counselor

Tanisha Paegar, admissions counselor

Institutional Advancement

Kim Hutto, director of alumane/i engagement

Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences

Allison Ellington, instructor and director of clinical education, occupational therapy

Sherry Secrest, assistant professor and director of clinical education, physician assistant program

Drew Strong, associate professor and director, RN to BSN

Lisa Burns, assistant professor, occupational therapy

Bess Maxwell, assistant professor, physical therapy

Administrative Support:

Shannon Brown, contracts and administrative support

Miriam Burrows, executive assistant

Office of Information Technology

Michael Dunaway, MDCHS technology support specialist

Michelle Gregory, data integration analyst

Lee Reid, data integration analyst

Laura Sheffey, MDCHS technology support specialist

Office of the President

Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric, commandant, Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership and special assistant to the president

Lois H. Williams, vice president of enrollment management





Highlighting the achievements of the past year and providing a glimpse into the future, Mary Baldwin College President Pamela Fox officially opened the 2014-15 academic year August 27 with the annual State of the College Address. This year’s theme was “Deep Roots, Bold Future: Our Next Chapter.” (Read the text of Fox’s speech.)


Photo by Sera Petras.

“The deep roots of our legacy and your commitment anchor us firmly to embark on our next chapter,” Fox told the crowd of staff and faculty gathered inside Francis Auditorium. The president used the event to debut the college’s new strategic plan, Mary Baldwin 2020.

“The plan proclaims our ongoing conviction that an education grounded in the liberal arts is in the 21st century still the best foundation for a life well lived,” she said. “The plan affirms our core values: first and foremost, teaching and learning that is academically rigorous, that is personalized, that transforms lives, and that fosters productive and ethical citizenship and leadership development.”

After the address, faculty convened at the new Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences for a retreat. Classes begin on September 1.

Starting from sunrise over the nearby Blue Ridge mountains, photographer Woods Pierce captured the hustle and bustle of the opening day at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.

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OT, PT Students Start Class in State-of-the-Art Facility

Just two and a half years after announcing that it would pursue graduate programs in health sciences, Mary Baldwin College on June 16 welcomed its charter class of occupational and physical therapy students to the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at a brand-new satellite campus in Fishersville.[C]WP_MurDem_TEMP_03-W

All 70 students started the day having breakfast with MBC President Pamela Fox and other MBC administrators inside the building’s spacious atrium. Throughout the daylong orientation, students also heard from Vice President for Health Sciences Linda Seestedt-Stanford, met with faculty and staff, and learned the basic information they’ll need as classes begin. The day ended with tours and a reception at the main MBC campus in Staunton.

Fox talked with students about the history of the college, its degree pathways and special programs, and the lasting legacy of the institution — devotion to each student, across all programs. “You can help us forge the next chapter for Mary Baldwin College,” she said.

“We always pride ourselves on maintaining the cutting edge of what our programs, our students, and our society needs,” Fox said. “You coming here to begin your classes this week is just one very important manifestation — yet again — over the 172-year history of the institution.”

On June 17, students began class in the human anatomy lab, where they’ll spend much of their summer study learning critical, fundamental information about the human body.

The state-of-the-art lab is just one component of the 55,000-square-foot health sciences facility that will prepare student for successful careers. Classrooms are outfitted with large screens to help enrich faculty and student interaction. A simulation suite offers important insight into real-world patient care. A life skills laboratory will help students visualize the needs of future clients in their homes. There are plenty of collaborative learning spaces throughout the three-story building as well, lending to an interprofessional focus among the disciplines, which, in 2015, will include physician assistant studies and a degree-completion program for nurses.

The opening of Murphy Deming is the result of several years of studying and planning and by the hard work of Trustees, administrators, faculty, and staff. The construction of the building — located at the heart of the Augusta County medical corridor — was accomplished in just two years by the construction firm Kjellstrom + Lee. The project was made possible by a $15 million gift from Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46.