Boldly Baldwin word mark

On the eve of the dedication ceremony for the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences (MDCHS) last week, the Mary Baldwin College Board of Trustees surprised President Pamela Fox by proclaiming that the teaching and instructional wing at the new Fishersville facility will bear her name.

President Pamela Fox (in front, wearing light blue dress) receives a standing ovation during a dinner to celebrate MDCHS.

President Pamela Fox receives a standing ovation during a dinner to celebrate MDCHS.

Jane Miller ’76, chairwoman of the Board, made the announcement at a dinner April 16 in the MDCHS atrium.

“There is a person whose contributions to Mary Baldwin are so great that we cannot let this occasion pass without mentioning and honoring them,” Miller said. “From the realization that Mary Baldwin could and should do more to cement its future, to understanding how all the pieces of the institution should come together to create synergy and strength, to creating an overarching strategy and simultaneously managing the minutest details, to sustaining what for anyone else would be a not only punishing but nigh impossible work schedule of continual intensity — our president, Pamela Fox, deserves our praise and our thanks.”

A plaque near the entrance of the wing includes Fox’s photograph and a quotation from her that reads: “We, the community of Mary Baldwin College, throughout our continuous evolution, will never lose sight of our legacy, our core values, and our strengths of perseverance, courageous patience, and innovative tradition that have and will sustain us.”

Murphy Demming Dedication DinnerThe rest of the plaque reads: “In recognition of her extraordinary vision, exceptional leadership, and deeply personal dedication to Mary Baldwin College — qualities matched by her gracious manner and caring heart — the Board of Trustees names the Teaching and Instructional Wing for Dr. Pamela Fox, ninth president of MBC, who was essential to the establishment of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences and in positioning the entire institution for a thriving future.”

Droves of Mary Baldwin College alumni and friends logged on to show their support during the college’s second annual 24-hour giving blitz, A Day to Lead the Way, April 22. An online event that promoted engagement and participation across MBC’s social media channels with the goal of encouraging new and increased gifts, the day was an indisputable success, topping last year’s total by more than $52,000. mary-baldwin-day-of-giving-website-banner

More than 655 gifts came in throughout the day, with the majority being made online, totaling $126,000. Social activity on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram was high, and the enthusiasm was contagious as Mary Baldwin supporters shared their reasons for giving and encouraged others to do the same. Timed to coincide with the beginning of May Term, many faculty and staff members also participated, sharing how donations enhance educational opportunities at MBC. Members of the Board of Trustees, Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors, and Advisory Board of Visitors demonstrated leadership as well, shaping the event’s success.

Like last year, A Day to Lead the Way featured engaging challenges and donor prizes nearly every hour, including Mary Baldwin memorabilia, books by late professor emerita Pat Menk, jewelry by alumna Susan Nolan Palmer ’67, commemorative MBC wine glasses by Tracy “Lolita” Burks ’87, tickets to the Blackfriars Playhouse, a Heifetz 2015 season pass, and a complimentary stay at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, to name a few.

“I am so thankful for the support the MBC community demonstrated during this year’s Day to Lead the Way. It is truly inspiring to see our alumni and friends join together to make such a generous overall contribution to this institution,” said Vice President of Institutional Advancement Sherri Mylott.

Mary Baldwin College will laud student research May 7 with its 10th annual Capstone Festival, which will give outstanding seniors an opportunity to present their scholarly and artistic works to the wider campus and the public.

Capstone standouts 2014.

Capstone standouts 2014.

Nominated by members of the faculty, students participating in the Capstone Festival represent many disciplines and share their research or creative work through poster presentations, presentations with multimedia support, delivered papers, and multimedia presentations. Students may be nominated for their senior projects, honors projects, or special sponsored projects.

Even though the student works are wide ranging, event organizers on occasion can spot trends among scholarly entries.

“I always find it impressive — and fun — to see how the thematic patterns emerge from across the disciplines,” said Lydia Petersson, director of Sponsored Programs and Undergraduate Research. “For instance, this year we have one panel that will deal with sex trafficking, compulsory sterilization, 19th-century workhouses, and 21st-century nursing homes. All of the presentations somehow have to do with how institutions, social expectations, and financial incentives shape the lives of marginalized people, but they are coming at this theme from a range of historical, political, and administrative perspectives.

[C]WP_Capstone_2014_071-W“I always feel that at the Capstone Festival we get to see what is really going on at MBC — it’s the reflection of the creativity and intellectual commitments of our students and faculty alike.”

The event highlights MBC’s emphasis on undergraduate research, as every student must present a senior thesis before graduating. The new tradition of the modern-day Capstone Festival pays homage to the earliest days of the Augusta Female Seminary, when, “all final examinations were held in public and members of the board of trustees and the townspeople attended to view students parse sentences, do intricate math problems, and recite soliloquies,” according to To Live in Time; The Sesquicentennial History of Mary Baldwin College 1842-1992.

Hundreds of Mary Baldwin alumni returned for delicious dinners, speed networking, to honor classmates, participate in an invigorating run at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, an afternoon of wine and design, and more memory making during Reunion 2015.

 1st Brenda Bryant 5k Memorial Run/Walk, Reunion April 2015  1st Brenda Bryant 5k Memorial Run/Walk, Reunion April 2015
 Wine and Design Class, Reunion April 2015  Wine and Design Class, Reunion April 2015
Class of 1965 Dinner at Emilio's, Reunion April 2015  Class of 1965 Dinner at Emilio's, Reunion April 2015
 Grafton Society Luncheon, Reunion April 2015 Grafton Society Luncheon, Reunion April 2015
 Grafton Society Luncheon, Reunion April 2015  President's Cocktail Reception, Reunion April 2015
 President's Cocktail Reception, Reunion April 2015 Speed Networking Event, Reunion April 2015

The annual alumni awards presentation during Reunion Weekend followed Mary Baldwin College President Pamela Fox’s remarks about the momentum and future plans of the college on Saturday morning. Alumni gathered to congratulate four award recipients.

Emily Smith Medallion
Named in honor of distinguished MBC alumna Emily McKelden Smith, this award was created by the MBC Board of Trustees to recognize alumnae/i who have made outstanding contributions to the college, their churches, communities, and beyond.

sally bingleySara Armstrong “Sally” Bingley ’60 was a dedicated and engaged student while at Mary Baldwin College, earning the Laurel Society Service Award her senior year. She graduated with a degree in history, and immediately began serving as a class leader, working to keep her classmates connected to the college and to each other. She became a well-known leader for the Richmond Alumnae Chapter, planning many festivities such as the Tulips & Juleps celebration in 1992. She worked for Aetna Life and Casualty Company for 30 years, serving as group medical claims supervisor, senior underwriter, and then account executive until her retirement. Outside of work, Bingley maintained a steadfast commitment to MBC, as well as many other civic affiliations. She served on the Mary Baldwin College Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors from 1988 until 1996, filling various roles, from president to secretary. She also served on the college’s Board of Trustees from 1994 to 1996, and again from 1998 until 2012. In addition to her service, she has been a loyal and generous donor to the college, supporting the Baldwin Fund and many other fundraising initiatives through the years. She and her husband Charles established the C. Perry Nair, Jr. Endowed Fund for Study Abroad in honor of her grandfather in 2008. A passionate gardener, Bingley has volunteered for the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden for more than 20 years. She currently volunteers in the gift shop and has served as the assistant shop manager. She received the Lewis Ginter Volunteer Leadership Award in 1999 and the Lewis Ginter Service Award in 2000. She has also served her church, and has held board memberships in civic associations, woman’s clubs, and the United States Postal Service Customer Advisory Council. MBC also recognized Sally with the Emily Wirsing Kelly Leadership Award at Reunion in 1998 for her distinguished service and leadership on behalf of the college.

Emily Wirsing Kelly Leadership Award
Artist and former Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors President Emily Wirsing Kelly ’63 passed away in 1985. Her husband, Timothy Kelly, established a leadership award and a student scholarship in her memory through the Kelly Foundation. The Emily Wirsing Kelly Leadership Award recognizes alumnae/i who have demonstrated outstanding service and excellence in leadership on behalf of Mary Baldwin College.

Outstanding Alum Awardees, April 2015, Mary Baldwin CollegeKnown for her vivacious personality, Elizabeth Jennings “Liz” Shupe ’70 has a zest for life that many covet but few attain. Her wit, sense of humor, and warmth have endeared her to many, and her strong leadership and dedication have been a constant asset to Mary Baldwin College. Shupe graduated with a degree in psychology before heading to Pennsylvania and then to Vietnam through the American Red Cross to provide rehabilitation and drug detoxification counseling in military hospitals. Two years later, she returned to Mary Baldwin as the assistant dean of students. She earned her master of education in counseling and human services from the University of Virginia in 1975. She spent 36 years in higher education, serving as a career counselor; guidance counselor; director and manager of alumnae/i, parent, faculty and staff relations; and program coordinator at institutions in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kansas. Shupe’s 11 years of service on the Alumnae/i Association Board of Directors, regular Reunion participation, and continued contact with many of her former professors kept her connected with the college even though she was not always nearby. She also served as the director of alumnae/i and parent relations at Mary Baldwin College for two years. Shupe made time for civic activities, such as directing children’s ministries at her church and serving on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross. She is most thankful for the relationships she’s built with friends, family, and former colleagues and students.

Service to Community of Faith Award

Outstanding Alum Awardees, April 2015, Mary Baldwin CollegeCharlotte Tyson Mewborn ’65 has gone above and beyond to serve not only her church, but to promote Christian values in her community through her own civic engagement. Mewborn participated in many activities and clubs while at Mary Baldwin College, including the choir, the Westminster Fellowship, and serving as headline editor for the college newspaper Campus Comments. She earned her degree in English and then went on to become the assistant personnel director at Richmond Memorial Hospital. She also worked as a social worker, and then a teacher’s assistant before retiring in 2000. Mewborn is a member of the Farmville Community Arts Council, Friends of the May Museum, and Friends of the Farmville Public Library. She also volunteered as a Girl Scout Leader and a Cub Scout Leader. Charlotte has been a member of Farmville Presbyterian Church since 1968. Always eager to lend a helping hand and to offer guidance and support, Charlotte has served her spiritual community through a variety of roles, including deacon, elder, and clerk of session. She is a Sunday school teacher; a member of the chancel choir; and a member of the Presbyterian Women group for which she has served as moderator, chair of the Spiritual Nurture and Creative Ministries Committees, and bible moderator for Circle 4. She also edited the church newsletter for 30 years. When she’s not involved in church activities, Mewborn volunteers for the Farmville Community Soup Kitchen and Meals on Wheels.

Career Achievement Award

Outstanding Alum Awardees, April 2015, Mary Baldwin CollegeJulie Mays Cannell ’70 definitely isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Her work ethic and dedication are admirable and have earned her a reputation that allowed her to build her own successful consulting company, J.M. Cannell, Inc. At Mary Baldwin, Cannell earned her degree in English, and shortly afterward went on to earn a master of librarianship from Emory University, and then a master of business administration from Columbia University. She was a reference librarian and instructor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs for five years before switching gears and becoming a security analyst and portfolio manager at Lord Abbett & Company, a role she filled for 20 years. Her vigorous time on Wall Street prepared her well for her next big career move of starting her own consulting practice. Today, Cannell serves the electric utility industry, advising on investor-related issues and is often called on for her expertise during regulatory proceedings. She is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts; CFA Institute, where she maintains a Certified Financial Analyst designation; the Wall Street Utility Group; and she’s a partner in CFSD Group, LLC, advising electric utilities on financing with regional and local banks. She built her company from the ground up while striking the right work-life balance for her and raising three sons who couldn’t make her prouder.

It was just three years ago that Mary Baldwin College President Pamela Fox stood with Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46 on a snow-covered hill in Fishersville, looked at the view below toward the hospital and health care clinics and beyond toward mountains, and imagined a time — in the not-so-distant future — when the institution would become an integral part of the community’s health care landscape.

MDCHS Dedication Ceremony, Fishersville VA, April 17, 2015

About 250 supporters gathered at Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences on April 17 for a dedication of the campus and programs.

Since that moment, Smith’s generous lead gift of $15 million has brought to the college several moments of celebration: an announcement in spring 2012 that MBC would launch the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, a groundbreaking ceremony that fall, and opening the doors of the college in June 2014. Those moments culminated in a formal dedication ceremony on April 17 — to mark the college’s first year with an inaugural class of 70 physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) students, marvel at a beautiful and state-of-the-art flagship building, recognize critical support from donors and community partners, and celebrate an exciting new chapter in the history of Mary Baldwin College.

“We acknowledge with immeasurable gratitude that this dedication is wrought from dedication. Scores of committed partners, including individuals, organizations, and institutions, united in dedication to the power of a vision,” Fox addressed the crowd of about 250 who attended the ceremony held inside the atrium at Murphy Deming. On the eve of the dedication, the MBC Board of Trustees announced that it has named the teaching and instructional wing of the Murphy Deming building for Fox, who was essential to the establishment of the college of health sciences and positioning the entire institution for a thriving future.

Se. Tim Kaine

Se. Tim Kaine

Sen. Tim Kaine joined Fox on the podium, and in his remarks, noted the important merger of a major health care initiative with an economic development strategy. Financing from the Virginia Rural Development office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been essential to the success of the project.

“I hope you feel proud,” Kaine said. “You deserve congratulations.”

MBC Vice President for Health Sciences Linda Seestedt-Stanford beamed with pride as she recounted the path that she and the growing Murphy Deming family have taken so far. With tears in her eyes, she praised the committed faculty and hard-working students whom she called “the bright shining stars in our world.”

mdchs faculty

Members of the MDCHS faculty look toward the podium.

“Regardless of where they are from and what they have done in their young lives, they share one thing in common — and that’s a passion to become a health care provider,” Stanford said. “Their academic program is their work; they put in an 80-hour week, minimum, between classes and studies, but they keep smiling because they know what they will achieve one day. And they are proud, really proud, to be part of the charter class at Murphy Deming.”

The college of health sciences will welcome new PT and OT students in June, launch the RN-to-BSN program in August, and matriculate the first class of physician assistant students in January.

OT student Sarah Laux — who, like the rest of her classmates will embark on clinical rotations during their second year — thanked Smith.

MDCHSDedictn042015_4_PS_DONOR WALL

A donor wall at Murphy Deming honors lead donor Bertie Murphy Deming Smith as well as many other health sciences supporters.

“Your generosity serves as an example to pay it forward,” Laux said. “Your gift is giving us the opportunity to pursue our dreams and also pay it forward with community involvement and future professional practice. This will allow each of us to touch hundreds of lives in our careers.”

Smith was not able to attend the ceremony, but she watched from her home in Louisiana via live stream. Her daughter Bertie Deming “Bebe” Heiner was there to deliver remarks from her mother.

“As I look over this awesome building I have watched come about on paper and then in actuality, I’m thrilled to be here, even if only electronically,” Heiner said as she read her mother’s words. “Pamela’s vision never faltered. It was followed by action in all areas. I’m proud of all of you that made it happen. And I salute those who took our beloved Mary Baldwin into the future.”

The Mary Baldwin College community will celebrate an important chapter in the institution’s history with a dedication ceremony for the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences and its flagship building on April 17.mdchs students out front

The event comes three years after announcing the new school would be named for lead donor Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46 during a ceremony on the hill in Fishersville where the state-of-the-art health sciences building is now located and nearly one year after the college opened the doors to its inaugural class of occupational therapy and physical therapy students.

In addition to the MBC Board of Trustees, donors, alumni, and friends of the college, the ceremony guest list includes state Sen. Emmett Hanger and Virginia delegates Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, Ben Cline, and R. Steven Landes. U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine will deliver remarks, along with Board of Trustees Chair Jane Miller ’76, key college administrators, and two MDCHS doctoral students.

Bertie Murphy Deming Smith '46

Smith’s lead gift of $15 million helped make the college of health sciences a reality.

There will also be a special presentation to Smith and her family, a blessing for the campus, and a ribbon cutting. The college of health sciences is also celebrating further programmatic expansion with new PT and OT students arriving in June, the launch of the RN to BSN program in August, and the first class of physician assistant students starting classes in January.

Faculty and staff are invited to attend the ceremony, which will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the health sciences building on 100 Baldwin Boulevard. RSVP to Rhonda Harwley at or 540-887-7386. The general public is also invited to visit the campus from 3:30–5 p.m.

Tune in: Watch the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences dedication ceremony live at 12:30 p.m. on April 17.

Mary Baldwin College will launch its second annual Day to Lead the Way on April 22, inviting the entire community to show support for the college and today’s students by contributing to the Baldwin Fund within a 24-hour period.MBC_DayToLead2015_logo

The online event will reach thousands across social media channels and showcase the wide-ranging support across the MBC community from faculty and staff and alumni of all ages to neighbors and other friends of the college.

Last year’s Day to Lead the Way was a resounding and heartwarming success. The Baldwin Fund experienced a record-breaking day of philanthropy, engaging 541 donors and raising $74,000 for the college’s annual fund, which helps retain faculty and advisors, maintain MBC’s historic campus and regional centers, support academic scholarships, and enrich student life.

“This year’s event coincides with the beginning of May Term to bring greater awareness to the fact that donor support fuels academic opportunities at Mary Baldwin. We look forward to building on this exciting tradition and inspiring students as they approach Commencement next month,” said Sherri Mylott, MBC vice president of Institutional Advancement. “We are confident that this year’s event will be even more successful as we encourage everyone in our community to participate by making a gift.”

The day will feature fun and engaging challenges, special thank-yous for participants, and prizes including Mary Baldwin memorabilia, books by late professor emerita Pat Menk, jewelry by alumna Susan Nolan Palmer ’67, commemorative MBC wine glasses by Tracy “Lolita” Burks ’87, and a complimentary stay at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel, to name a few.

To learn more, visit the college’s Facebook page about the event or contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 540-887-7011.

Making good things happen pretty much sums up the driving force behind a three-day festival sponsored by the City of Staunton, the Augusta County Office of Economic Development and Tourism, and several local development organizations. And a group of Mary Baldwin College students will be working hard to make sure good things happen at the event.innovate live large logo

Junior Betsey Suchanic is leading the MBC intern effort to provide major support for Innovate Live, scheduled for April 24–26 at The American Hotel. The “festive convergence” — as organizers call it — will bring together entrepreneurs and others with ideas and inspiration to discuss ways to support creative start-ups within the Staunton community. There will be an emphasis on local food, local finance, arts, and culture — all in a social, festive setting, Suchanic said.

“A lot of work has gone into this, a lot of mindfulness,” Suchanic said of the event. “It will be awesome so see how it takes off, to see really productive discussions.”

Attendees and speakers will discuss implementation of ideas into start-ups and eventually into successful endeavors. In addition to planned talks, there will be time set aside for an “open air” discussion, where participants are free to bring their own ideas, at any stage, for consideration.

Betsey Suchanic

Betsey Suchanic

Eleven MBC students, representing a host of different disciplines, from art history to international affairs, have been working since the beginning of semester to assist with the successful execution of the event. Recommended by faculty and staff, the students were broken into teams: social media, logistics and event planning, and organizing a public art project. They’ll earn one May Term credit for their participation.

Suchanic’s experience at the Sullivan Foundation retreat last fall boosted her confidence and helped prepare her to lead her peers in the Innovate Live experience.

“It has all sort of built on each other,” said the marketing communication and studio art double major. “Faculty members are letting me know about these opportunities and [each opportunity] is giving me skills like organizing and communicating with other people.”

Suchanic said she hopes to one day go into non-profit management, using talent she’s honed at MBC to “make good things happen and have a powerful impact.”

Registration is required to attend; visit the Innovate Live website to register or to find more information.

Thanks in part to input from many MBC students, a major campus lighting project is underway. The walkway beside Cannon Hill, connecting lower campus to upper campus, now has new light poles with LED lights, providing a much-improved light level in that area.light pole at night


According to Facilities Director Brent Douglass, the next phase of the campus lighting project will be to replace the obsolete light fixtures in the porch ceilings of Spencer Residence Hall, Grafton Library and Hunt Dining Hall, with new LED fixtures. Installation of these new light fixtures will begin next week, and when completed will significantly improve the light level in front of those three buildings on main campus. The “light-emitting diode” (LED) fixtures that are being installed are very energy efficient and require very little maintenance.