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Photographers Lindsey Walters and Patrick Smith captured the spirit of Commencement Weekend in pictures.


Class of 2015 Bell Dedication Day 04/15/2015 Class of 2015 Decorating Ham, Jam and Admin Building
Photo of the Class of 2015 in front of Admininstration - 04/15/2015 IMG_1076
Mary Baldwin Commencement Weekend 2015
Mary Baldwin Commencement Weekend 2015 Mary Baldwin Commencement Weekend 2015
Mary Baldwin Commencement Weekend 2015
Mary Baldwin Commencement Weekend 2015 Mary Baldwin Commencement Weekend 2015
Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015 Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015
Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015 Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015
Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015 Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015
Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015 Mary Baldwin Commencement 2015

More than 40 Mary Baldwin College faculty and staff were honored for their service at the college’s annual employee appreciation breakfast on May 20. Many gathered to recognize the hard work and dedication of those who reached the five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35-year milestones, collectively amounting to 600 years of service. Professor of Philosophy Roderic Owen and Grounds Supervisor Jeff Wagner received standing ovations for their respective 35 years of work.

5 Years of Service


Richard Arnold


Patricia Bennett


Sharon Bosserman


Angela Cline


Tonya Cook


Doug Davis


Doreen Liccione


Elizabeth Potts


Beverly Riddell


Joseph Sprangel Jr.


Brian Yurochko

Not pictured: Doreen Bechtol, Matt Davies, Nadine Gergel-Hackett, Erin Paschal, Theresa Rollison, Tonya Young

 10 Years of Service


Mary Almarode


Robin Dietrich


Jessie Moyers


Katherine Turner


Lisa Wells

Not pictured: Tiffany Barber, Todd Collier, Kerry Mills

 15 Years of Service


Sue Armstrong


Christy Baker


Bruce Dorries


Louise Freeman


Drema Hernandez


Morgan Smith

Not pictured: Sarah Kennedy, Christy Shelton

20 Years of Service


Billy Adkins


Allan Moye

 Not pictured: Amy Diduch

25 Years of Service


Bill Betlej


Linda Fretwell


Diane Fridley


Marion Ward

Not pictured: Edward Scott

30 Years of Service


Jim McCrory

Not pictured: Margo Leach

35 Years of Service


Roderic Owen


Jeff Wagner



photos by Patrick Smith and Lindsey Walters

Members of the Class of 2015 take part in a favorite campus tradition: using their class colors — this year, green and white — to decorate a Christmas tree in the Upper Back Gallery of the Administration Building.

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Mary Baldwin College faculty, staff, and students joined Class of 2014 officers May 16 to dedicate the senior class gift, a curved brick sign and planting bed marking the entrance to the college. Kahler Slater architects designed the sign — with assistance from MBC Director of Facilities Management Brent Douglass — and Davis Construction and Masonry built it. After the dedication, seniors decorated the Ham and Jam statues in front of the Admissions Building in their class colors, scarlet and gold.

Seniors held a series of fundraisers during spring semester to finance the gift, which harkens back to their freshman-year theme, “The Power to Be.”

“There is a special sense of power that comes when you name something. By naming something you claim it,” said Holly Johnston, Class of 2014 president. “We see the sign as a way to leave our mark and claim the importance of our undergraduate education here at MBC.”

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Greater Things Dance Ministry, the Anointed Voices of Praise, and the Rev. Frank Saunders will headline the annual Praise House Service November 17 at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Staunton, sponsored by Mary Baldwin College’s African-American Religion (REL 232) class. The service is a re-enactment of the rich worship of African-Americans that emerged on slave plantations, include the singing of spirituals and dances such as a ring shout.

Many-African spiritual practices, such as storytelling, call and response, music, and dance will be incorporated into the authentic service. Slave attire reflecting that era is suggested. A soul food dinner will follow the service.

The event begins at 11 a.m. at Allen Chapel A.M.E., 936 Sudbury Street, and is open to the public. For more information, contact the Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott, associate vice president for inclusive excellence, at

Speech for Founders Day Convocation – October 3, 2013

Brig. Gen. Terry Djuric, VWIL commandant

Seniors, faculty and staff, you all look marvelous!

Dr. Fox thank you for this tremendous opportunity to address the college.

Seniors, I’m so pleased to speak with you today.  This past month at Mary Baldwin has been full of special events recognizing the freshman class and enriching their first-year experience…with leadership gateways, candle lighting ceremony, induction parade, charter day, apple day.  No doubt many of you had a guiding hand in planning and executing those events.

Well today we shift the focus to you.  That’s right, it’s all about you, and I plan to make your lives easier by sharing my thoughts on the Power of Empowering.

Do you remember that sense of pride you felt this semester when you helped someone new to find their way on campus, or chairing your first meeting of the SGA or club, or the pride you felt helping your coach rebuild your athletic team, or helping the director retune the marching band, or the sense of pride in helping the VWIL corps train the new cadets … and new commandant.  If you’ve had a hand in helping our newest college members, myself included, then you’ll remember the invigorating energy you felt.  Not only is it the right thing to do, but you feel good helping others learn their way.  That’s the beginning of Empowering our Future locally and globally.

Here’s how true empowerment works … You demonstrate your enthusiasm in whatever task you’re handed.  Attitude is key to growing an empowered culture that motivates others.  Why do we want a positive, motivated, high energy workforce?  Because positive, motivated, energetic people achieve the high degrees of success.  Next we need to take time to teach and model how to do the task because while it may be easier to get the job done yourself it’s paramount to empowerment to train your replacement.  That may sound odd to you, you may say, “train my replacement, then what am I going to do,” but the most successful and evolving organizations rely on people that are trained to cover or fill in at a moment’s notice to ensure mission success.

After you teach and model, you need to watch and listen for feedback and answer questions, maybe even reteach and demonstrate.  Then you encourage your team members to come up with their own solutions when faced with obstacles.  What’s amazing to watch for is the high energy and positive attitude that will ignite if you resist the temptation to provide your own solution.  Let the team solve the problem.

The final step of empowerment is very important: recognize members for a job well done or for their participation.  People love to hear “good job” or receive a thank you note.  For example, military veterans love to hear from local citizens “thank you for your Service” it’s inspiring to know our citizens support the military because it hasn’t always been that way.  That recognition step of empowerment will inspire others to do their very best and help them achieve their goal, your goal, “our” goal.

We can all imagine what happens when you attempt to give “power” without Educating, Mentoring, Inspiring, eNergize, Guiding (EMpowerING).  If we put a sign out that says, “I’m in charge now,” but don’t invest the time and energy of truly empowering the team, then you’ll be running solo and never experience all that empowerment can offer.  We want people to feel they are personally contributing to the teams’ success, that their efforts are recognized, and their accomplishments are rewarded.  When we energize people to tackle challenges, we’re all rewarded by their commitment to increase quality and achieve high degrees of success.  That’s the real power of empowerment…and as competitive as our world is…we need to empower our future.

Given the challenges facing our world today, educated people are essential in creating a better world.  These are complex issues like diversity, governance, poverty, human rights, environment, economy … these issues are local and global. These issues affect everyone and by empowering people we will proactively address what seem to be impossible problems.    We need to be critical thinkers, change agents, lifelong learners, and empowered citizens.

Dr. Rufus Bailey, he understood this, he dedicated his life toward empowering young women with an education.  Rufus Bailey understood that knowledge empowers people to move forward stronger and wiser.  And Dr. Bailey even trained his replacement, he may not have had that exact vision.  But, Mary Baldwin was one of his students and Dr. Bailey and his faculty empowered her with an outstanding education.  Many years later, when Mary Baldwin assumed the leadership role of this school, she was so committed to this mission, not even the Civil War could stop her.  I love that today embraces the college’s rich history.

Seniors, faculty, staff … I am eager to work by your side as we build upon the foundation laid by the great women and men who came before us, like Mary Baldwin and Dr. Rufus Bailey.  And this Founders Day is an opportunity to take time and reflect on our college legacy and recognize that you are a collection of America’s best.  When I look out at the Seniors, I believe I see a future one-star general and future college president.

Thank you for your attention and good luck this year training your replacement.  Remember, you have the power to Empower Our Future.

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.

Thank you.


Read the full article, originally published on here

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.

Christmas Cheer 2012 Christmas Cheer
Christmas Cheer Las Posadas
Christmas Cheer Las Posadas
Las Posadas Las Posadas
Las Posadas Las Posadas