Spire 2022

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a magaz ine for Bluef ield Uni vers i ty alumni and f r iends



You only turn 100 once! Our Bluefield University community celebrated with great fanfare the institution’s 100th year of impacting students’ lives and fulfilling its mission of being a “Christ-centered learning community developing servant leaders to impact the world.” For alumni and future alumni alike, many memories were shared during the past year, along with remembrances of those who sacrificially gave their time and treasure to founding the institution and sustaining it over the past century. From its founding, this institution was dubbed a “lighthouse on the hill” and has lived with this moniker throughout its history. The scripture theme for the centennial year was quite fitting: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” (Ephesians 5:8-9) While not always perfect, this has been our constant aspiration and will continue to be. In the pages that follow, you will no doubt catch glimpses of light—God’s light—reflected through those whose stories of sacrifice, service, and achievement are incredible. I am continually amazed by the accomplishments of our students and alumni who are truly making a difference in our world. I certainly want you to pay particular note to the handful of faculty who have recently retired and collectively provided 103 years of instruction here at BU. Without them and the academic giants before them, our alumni and students would not be the same. Lives continue to be changed through transformational learning and service experiences at Bluefield. We are taking great strides to meet the needs of our communities, especially rural communities we serve. In addition to providing academic programs that appeal to students’ interests, we are aligning our programs with the global marketplace. This fall the new Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and the Master of Arts in Human Services Leadership programs launched! Another exciting program awaiting approval from our accreditor is the Master of Health Science in Anesthesia (Anesthesiologist Assistant) program that is another joint collaboration between the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and Bluefield University to launch in 2023. As you read these remarkable stories, I hope you are encouraged. Bluefield University is a special place and has been blessed with tremendous individuals who have attended here, graduated from here, and/ or served here. They are the bright lights who keep this lighthouse on the hill shining!

Partnering with you in faithful service,

Dr. David W. Olive President




Growing up on Bluefield’s campus in the late ’90s and early ’00s, I can remember many “memories of light.” I define these as recollections of the people and places that have made an impression on my life. These special memories include; my parents’ coworkers’ offering pieces of candy from their glass dishes, a van ride to a hockey game with the student ambassadors who were serenading everyone from the back seats, the friendly faces of the cafeteria ladies on a Sunday afternoon serving lunch, and the warmth of a Christmas party at President MacMillan’s house (now the Advancement and Alumni House). Later on, as a student, these moments became life conversations with Dr. Cindy Bascom (Professor of Communication), tennis teammates motivating me from the fence on the other side of the court, sledding down the Rish Hill on a snowy night with my then-future husband, and a desire to grow in my relationship with the Lord following a particular chapel service. As an employee, I have many more of these moments as I get to know our students and my co-workers. I’m sure you, too, have many “memories of light” as well surrounding Bluefield; the professor who encouraged you, the teammate(s) you still keep in touch with, or the chapel speaker who made an impact on your life. The stories in this centennial edition shed light on the people of Bluefield, their servant leadership, the hope they give, and the impact they have made. As you reflect on your “memories of light,” I hope they inspire you “to live as children of light.” Rebecca Kasey ‘17 Director of Public Relations & Marketing Editor, Spire

Centennial Edition

A Word from the President | 3 President Olive Talks about the Centennial Celebration and the future of Bluefield University The Grand Finale | 6 Centennial Campaign Reaches $25 Million A Legacy Set in Stone | 10 The Easley’s and Beckett’s Service to Bluefield University Reflecting Light | 14 Alumnus Aaron Peck on Sharing Bluefield Stories

Alumni Memories | 16

Special Insert - President’s Report | 19 A Note from the President | 2

2021-2022 Academic Year Quick Facts | 3 Academic Year Highlights | 4 Centennial Campaign Report | 6 Centennial Campaign Stories | 7 Centennial Campaign Donors | 8 2021 - 2022 President’s Honor Roll of Donors | 26 The Heritage Society | 34



Spotlights | 20


Broadway at Bluefield Mindfulness Space Music Alumni and Centennial Concert Retreat on Calling Professor Leslie Floyd CRJ Student Saves Elderly from Home Fire From BU to Disney World Class of 2022 Mission Trips to Ecuador and Spain BU Community Day Morgan Named Director of Alumni Relations

Spire is the official magazine for alumni and friends of Bluefield University. The magazine is published annually by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing. Available at bluefield.edu/spire.

Editors & Contributors Rebecca Kasey ‘17 (Executive Editor),

Gabe Blakman ‘20, Joshua Cline ‘09, Laura Kimzey ‘22, Sherelle Morgan ‘21, Daniel Mullins ‘22, and Aaron Peck ‘03 Alumni Board of Directors Mr. Stephen Coffman ‘97

Ms. Courtney Ellis ‘97 Ms. Lydia Freeman ‘13 Mr. Eli Hairfield ‘17 Mrs. Rebecca Kasey ‘17 Mr. Bill Knox ‘12 Mr. Morgan Lloyd ‘13 Mr. Tim Mann ‘88 Mr. Matthew Moore ‘13 Mr. Matthew Mullins ‘18

Guiding Light | 24 Alumnus Bennie White, Jr. on Persevering Through Life’s Challenges While Earning a Degree An Oxford Story | 26 Laura Kimzey on Shedding Light on New Experiences A Light in the Darkness | 30 Alumnus Serving His Home Country in War Time Finding Light | 34 BU New Opportunity School for Women and Director Mily Lusk

Mr. Wayne Pate ‘73 Ms. Sarah Pauley ‘19 Mr. Dennis Peters ‘61 Mr. Scott Polhamhus ‘11 Ms. Olivia Ray ‘18 Mrs. Sara English Rutherford ‘96 (President) Mr. William Michael Rutherford ‘98

Mr. Zachary Smith ‘08 Mrs. Beth Swinney ‘18 Mrs. Allison Tuell ‘18 Advisory Council Dr. Randy Belt ‘94 Mrs. Kathy Berry ‘75 Ms. Cindy Carter ‘75 Dr. Don Caudill Mr. William Gilmer Dr. Bobby F. Griffin Mr. Dennis Harper ‘71 Mr. Mark Hipes ‘03 Dr. Garry Jones ‘74 Mr. Baraka Kasongo ‘16 Mr. Howard Mayo ‘88 Ms. Jennifer Mitchell ‘08 Mrs. Leann Montgomery ‘05 Mrs. Rebecca Peterson Mr. Eddie Rader ‘03 Mr. Nolan Rich ‘52 Mrs. A.J. Robinson Mrs. Cynthia Sheets ‘91 Rev. William P. Tuck ‘55 (Chair) Mrs. Jennifer Turley ‘96 Board of Trustees Mr. C. Todd Asbury ‘93 (Chair) Mr. John Beckett, Jr. Mr. Steve Bickford Dr. Jeff Bloomer Mr. Brandon Caldwell ‘02 Mrs. Teresa Cole ‘85 Mr. Gordon W. Grimes, II ‘94 Rev. Rodney Hale ‘60 Rev. Ron Hall ‘81 Dr. Michael Harris ‘97 Mr. Robert “Bob” Houck ‘67 Mrs. Julie Johnson ‘88 Mr. David Kirk ‘90 Mr. David T. Larimer, II ‘92 Dr. Christopher Lawson ‘01 Mrs. Phyillis Marcom Dr. Dixie Took-Rawlins Mr. Jackson E. Reasor, Jr.

Servant Hearts | 36 Alumni Serving Their Communities

Rams Spotlight | 38 Athletics Highlights

Into the Next Century | 40

Faculty Professional Accomplishments and Contributions | 41

Mr. John Rocovich, Jr. Mr. Thomas R. Scott, Jr. Rev. Craig Stout Dr. Jerry Turley Mr. Michael A. Wade Mr. William S. Winfrey, II Mr. Lamont Woods ‘92 Trustee Emeriti Dr. David Bailey, Jr. ‘60 Dr. Jane Duremedes Dr. T. Keith Edwards Dr. Daniel E. Grabeel, Sr. ‘55 Dr. Charles B. Nunn, Jr. Mr. David Skidmore

Master of Art in Counseling First Graduating Class | 42

Hello and Goodbye | 43 Welcoming New Faces and Saying Goodbye to Old Friends

Homecoming 2022 | 44

Class Notes | 45

The Last Word | 49 VP for Advancement and Marketing Joshua D. Cline ‘09



CENTENNIAL CAMPAIGN STEERING COMMITTEE Dr. David Bailey ’60 Mr. John Beckett Mrs. Rebecca Easley Beckett Mrs. Peggy Bickford ’71 (Deceased) Mr. Steve Bickford Dr. Thomas Brewster ’91 Mr. Brandon Caldwell ’02 Mrs. Martha Dodd-Slippy ’05 Mr. Gordon Grimes ’94 Dr. Chris Lawson ’01 Rev. Jack Marcom ’62 (Deceased) Ms. Jennifer Mitchell ’08

Historically, approximately $300,000 was raised each year for The University Fund. With an increased importance on scholarships through the campaign, over $524,000 was raised in the 2021-2022 academic year. This, coupled with several new endowed scholarships created by generous families, has provided over $3.2 million in tuition assistance to students over the past five years. The idea everything happens for a reason and always in the right season of God’s timing is commonplace among administrators at Bluefield. This influx of financial support came during uncertain times and events of the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift to online learning, and changing economic and market conditions. “Without the generosity of so many, we would not have accomplished the goals set forth in this campaign,” said Olive. “This campaign has enabled growth and development of our students and in our academic spaces at Bluefield University.” Other highlights from the campaign included the first naming of a college/school with the School of Business dedicated to Dr. Donald Caudill. A longtime benefactor, former professor at Bluefield, and advisory council member, Dr. Caudill was recognized for his generous giving and steadfast support. Renovations to the student activities center were completed providing an updated space for student life. Enhancements to the Dome Gymnasium, alongside the donation of the Keene-Beavers Building with additional workout space and an indoor court space. With a long-term lease of the Herb Sims Wellness Center space for growing athletic programs at Bluefield were attained. Final design plans for South Campus were completed for construction at a later date of a complex containing a multi-purpose field, softball complex, and centralized fieldhouse across the road from campus. “In addition to enhancing current life at the University, this campaign has set up the institution for a future with many opportunities,” said Joshua Cline, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Marketing. “We are thankful for the investment many families have taken to benefit the institution and future students in years to come.” The University honors those who have established estate plans to benefit Bluefield University, enhance its legacy, and ensure the mission continues to impact future generations of students with a special giving club, The Heritage Society. Through this campaign and its emphasis on creating an ongoing investment in the future of Bluefield, this group added several individuals to its membership roll. Cathy Payne shared her thanks for the many who not only gave to the campaign, but worked to see its success. She noted that, “without a dedicated vision and the work completed each year of the campaign by this team, we would not have accomplished, much less exceeded, our goals.”

Dr. Charles Nunn Ms. Sarah Reid ’68 Mr. Craig Stout Rev. William Tuck ’55

GO FURTHER: THE CENTENNIAL CAMPAIGN FOR BLUEFIELD UNIVERSITY COMMITTEE Mrs. Catherine C. Payne ’92 – Campaign Chair Dr. Garry Jones ’74 – Campaign Chair Mrs. Peggy Bickford ’71 (Deceased)

Mr. Steve Bickford Dr. Donald Caudill Dr. Michael P. Harris ’97 Mr. Robert Houck ’67 Mr. Thomas Scott, Jr., Esq.


Mrs. M. Ruth Blankenship Mr. Gabriel Blakman Mr. Chris Catron Mr. Joshua D. Cline

Mr. Joshua Grubb Mrs. Nicole Kaklis Mrs. Rebecca Kasey

Mr. Hal Keene Mr. Jacob Key

Dr. David W. Olive Mrs. Tonia Walker



Lansdell Hall

Shott Hall



Cruise Hall

Science Center



O n College Avenue in Bluefield, W.Va. stands a stone, Tudor style home representative of the Easley and Beckett families and their century-long commitment to Bluefield University. Built for Frank Smoot Easley and Elizabeth Tyler Easley, the home’s first two floors were constructed with stone extracted from the present-day Bluefield University campus. “My husband (John Beckett) and I live in the college,” laughed Becky Beckett, current resident and granddaughter of Frank and Elizabeth Easley. Renowned local architect Alex Mahood designed the house in consideration of the family’s handmade, rosewood furni ture. Elizabeth’s father, Walker Wilson Tyler, saw an auction listing in The New York Times and had the furniture imported from England to Lynchburg for his new wife, Ellen Rucker Tyler. It was later given to Frank and Elizabeth and brought to Bluefield. The house also incorporates a mantel from New England and an antique fountain from Lynchburg. The house includes five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and several closets that put every angle to use. Italian stone masons from McDowell County, W.Va. completed the original stonemasonry, which features a signature grouting style, using around ninety wagonloads of stone brought from the grounds clearned for the future campus. Stone for the third floor quarried from the mountain behind the house. A variety of family heirlooms are displayed throughout the house, including homemade dresses, German dinnerware from the owner of the Matz Hotel, a couch from John and Becky’s courting days, and the bed of which Tyler Easley was born and Elizabeth passed away. While touring the house, Becky has a variety of stories to share, from her grandmother saying, “Don’t ask a Virginia lady her age,” so much that her birth year could not be included on her tombstone to her mother telling the grandchildren, “No, no,” so often they thought it was her name. The Easley and Beckett family has a rich history represented in their stone home. Frank and his brother, Judge David Milton Easley, were instrumental in founding the university. Easley Library was named in their honor, where their portraits and a quilt made by Ellen for Frank from pieces of World War I era dresses is displayed. In 1919, Frank was one of the more than sixty citizens selected by the Bluefield Chamber of Commerce to attend a meeting of the Baptist General Association of Virginia and convince the Committee on a School for Southwest Virginia to locate its college in Bluefield. They offered $75,000 and fifty acres of land, asking that the college give Frank rocks to build his home. The delegation set out to secure the funds offered to the committee and to raise an additional $50,000.

Frank Tyler Easley, outside of the Easley Home, 1940

Becky Easley Beckett, outside of the Easley Home, 2022


The home is decorated in a peacock motif to commemorate the flock of peafowl that lived there from 1922 until the 1940s. Frank obtained a set of peafowl from a friend in Ohio, and his flock grew to more than twenty birds. When grain was scarce during World War II, he sold most of the peafowl to a man from Tennessee, keeping one pair. The peacock on John and Becky’s stained-glass window is named “Old Joe” after the last peacock to live on the property. The Becketts have peacock decorations from around the world through gifts and connections they made at a Rotary International Convention in Japan. Over the years, the family has welcomed many guests and hosted several events in their home, such as John and Becky’s wedding reception, a fundraiser for the Community Foundation of the Virginias, Inc., and annual receptions for trustees each fall before the board’s meeting. In some rooms, John and Becky Beckett maintain Christmas lights and Christmas trees, including one with ornaments exclusively from The White House Historical Association, for guests. Becky will sometimes play Christmas carols on their antique Knabe piano, similar to the one at the Biltmore. During her seven years as Bluefield University’s Spanish professor, Becky often invited her students into the home. She recalled even giving a test to a student-athlete in her kitchen because practice hindered them from attending her evening class. John and Becky’s service to the university continues today. They alternate serving as members of the Board of Trustees, maintaining the tradition of having a family member on the board. The family is passionate about Bluefield University Athletics, Becky shared. John never wants to miss a game, much like her mother, Eva, who believed the men’s basketball team couldn’t play without her in the Dome Gymnasium. Keith Beckett, John and Becky’s son, graduated from Bluefield University in 1999, connecting four generations to the university. “Bluefield University is grateful to the Easley and Beckett families for their faithful dedication over the past 100 years,” said President David Olive. “Their love for Bluefield sets an example for all of us.”

The first two floors of the Easley’s home were constructed with stone extracted from campus.

Groundbreaking for the new Bluefield College, 1920


Frank Smoot Easley and Frank Tyler Easley

Ole Joe, the Easley's last peacock

Frank Smoot Easley and Becky Easley Beckett

From a young age, I was always fascinated with stories. It really didn’t matter what type of story was being told. It could be fictional, biographical, cultural history… any story can be interesting. It just depends on how that story is being told. As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to embrace writing as a form of personal expression and as a means of sharing my own story with the world. No, it’s not a story that’s caught on or become viral, but it is a story that’s been told day-by-day over the past couple of decades thanks to the blog I keep called The Confusing Middle . It’s blogging that has allowed me to not only tell my own story, but to explore the stories of others. Last year, as we approached the 100th anniversary of Bluefield University, I thought it might be interesting to reach out to fellow Bluefield alumni and ask them each to share their stories on my blog. As of this writing, there have been 27 individuals who were willing to share their stories to celebrate Bluefield. For several months, once each week, I was able to share the stories of former Bluefield students. While it’s true I wanted to share these Rams’ stories with the world, selfishly I wanted to read their stories for myself. I wanted to know how life at (then) Bluefield College impacted them. I wanted to know if Bluefield’s influence was as profound on the lives of others as it had been on my life. Honestly, my first days in Bluefield were nothing special. I began life as a freshman with no idea what life had in store for me. I had come from a somewhat large high school where I had been able to blend into the background. I never made waves and was no one important. And I liked it that way. Despite the drastic change in school size, life at Bluefield College in the fall of 1998 proved incredibly similar to life in high school. And that was 100% my doing. Sure, I attended a few activities that had been put together by the Student Union Board, but I never really put myself out there. For an entire semester, I never made myself vulnerable enough to form relationships with the people around me. Reflecting Light: Alumnus Aaron Peck on Sharing Bluefield Stories


That all changed when I was convinced to join the Baptist Student Union (BSU) for a spring break mission trip to New England. Looking back, it’s easy to see that is when I came out of my shell. Well, as much as a born introvert can come out of one’s shell. From then on, I was intent on getting involved in as much as I could possibly involve myself in. Life in college wasn’t just about going to class, studying, writing papers, and taking exams. Yes, it was still about all those things. But it was also about building relationships with the guys that lived across the hall on the first floor of Rish. It was about figuring out a way to tell that one girl I had a crush on her while preparing myself for the inevitable blow to my ego when she revealed she just wanted to be friends. It was about playing Spades until the sun came up the next day. It was about choir tours to Washington, D.C. and Florida with Variations and Praise Singers. It was about mission trips to Brazil and worshiping God in Portuguese. It was about comedy acts and concerts and game shows in the SAC. It was about forming the friendships that would prove to last a lifetime. That’s my Bluefield story. It’s one I look back on with incredible fondness. I constantly find myself wishing, just a little bit, that I could somehow recapture that magic… the unique opportunities that those years represented. But I have to be content with memories. Which, again, brings me back to that blog I’ve been keeping and my desire to share others’ stories. Bluefield College… Bluefield University touched my life in a profound way. And thanks to that simple list of questions, I was able to see just how much Bluefield touched the lives of countless others. In a time when life can so easily crumble into confusion and chaos, Bluefield represented a light that has drawn so many of us in. It has been so gratifying to be a part of this school’s legacy and to know that this institution has proven to be such an inspiration to so many individuals and will continue to inspire students and graduates long into the future.

Check out alumni stories and submit yours at confusingmiddle.com



"Thanks to Bluefield University, I was able to serve on three mission trips and participate in a month long internship abroad. I loved every second! I am so happy that I got to meet and work with kids all over the world. I love seeing Jesus move in the nations. Thanks to my time at BU, I feel called to become a missionary and spread the gospels." - CameronWest, '21

"The professors!! Dr. Kim Farmer and Dr. Kelly Walls were absolutely amazing. They took me in like family, taught me the ins and outs of the criminal justice system and were just overall great people. The things they taught me I use regularly in the my career now as a patrol deputy. Bluefield's Criminal Justice program is an extremely good program and has so many opportunities that prepare you for a career after graduation. Bluefield's community as a whole is great and every professor there wants to see you succeed and will do everything they can to help you!" -Travis Reynolds '19

"One of my favorite Bluefield memories centers around the FAMOUS Mud Pig Day! I had the joy multiple times to be the person running around in the suit throughout the day. But the BEST memory was definitely attempting to ride the mechanical bull in the suit..." - Sharon Cobbler '19

"Dr. Anderson’s Basic Programming class was one of my favorite classes! He helped me to have a positive attitude towards technology, which has helped me in my profession." - Yvonne Sigman '11

"Mud Pig Day!" - Kristie Ferguson '95


"For me, it was the people. Throughout your life you will meet lots of people. But the people I met through Bluefield, whether it was during my time as a student (1999-2003) or my tenure as a staff member (2005-2017), the people made a lasting impression on my life. My friends, my residents, my RA’s, my SUB members, my Alpha Delta sisters, my colleagues all became an extended family to me. While social media is a lot of things, I’m thankful for it in that it keeps me connected to my Bluefield family and the new chapters of their lives. The chapters of my life that involved Bluefield College, I think of fondly and am so grateful God led my steps to the lighthouse on a hill. Also, I met my husband at Bluefield and he is a treasure!

- Kelly Bittler (Somers) '03

"Community. A word that never meant much to me until I went to BU and gained a community of Christian friends that changed my life. The friends I gained during my time in college changed my life and still encourage me in my relationship with God. Bluefield really is a small family that you can rely on during college and after. Not to mention meeting my husband at BU which definitely is my greatest blessing I gained during my time in college. You never know how four years can change your life and the community I gained at BU impacted my life forever." - Ashley Bauer '20

"Bluefield brought me together with people from all over the world. I was about to build relationships with them that will last for the rest of my life." - Eli Hairfield '17

“Looking back, I realize the education was helpful in my journey in retail. I may not have been as successful without my Bluefield experience. The friendships made 45 years ago still stand today, as 19 of us, made the journey to Bluefield for the 100 anniversary. I wish all 300+ could have been there, and I’m looking forward to the next trip.” -Stanley Klich '75

"Bluefield University brought me to my best friends showing me my strengths and weaknesses. I love the school more than I thought, the little school tucked in the mountains, showed me that I can achieve more than I thought. I loved playing soccer, running cross country, and a member of the track and field team. One of my most fave memories is when Dr. (Marshall) Flowers and his wife (Linda) would come to cheer us on!! You can't forget Mud Pig Day, I loved it!!" - Samantha Dickens '21


Mud Pig Day 2022


2021-2022 Centennial Review

President’s Report • Centennial Campaign Report • Honor Roll of Donors

2021-2022 Board of Trustees Mr. C. Todd Asbury '93, Chair Mr. John Beckett, Jr. Mr. Steve Bickford Dr. Jeff Bloomer Mr. Brandon Caldwell '02 Mrs. Teresa Cole '85 Rev. Rodney Hale '60 Rev. Ron Hall '81 Mr. Robert "Bob" Houck '67 Mr. Allen Jessee Mrs. Julie Johnson '88 Mr. David Kirk '90 Mr. David T. Larimer, II '92 Mrs. Phyillis Marcom

Centennial Scripture

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light – for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” Ephesians 5:8-9


Dr. Dixie Tooke-Rawlins Mr. Jackson E. Reasor, Jr. Mr. John Rocovich, Jr. Mr. Thomas R. Scott, Jr. Rev. Craig Stout Dr. Jerry Turley Mr. Michael A. Wade Mr. William S. Winfrey, II Mr. Lamont Woods '92

As we conclude our first century of service at Bluefield University, it is important that we collectively pause for a final time to reflect on the journey that has brought us to this moment in time. Our history reflects a resilient institution. However, it is not the buildings on campus or our programs that have ultimately shaped us. It is the people. The generations of people connected by Bluefield University are the enduring feature that has caused this institution to go further. As you review this annual report, take note of the many names throughout. More so, consider the greater collective formed when counting all who have supported Bluefield through the decades. We have strived together to see God's light shine through this Lighthouse on the Hill for 100 years. Let us continue on the journey together, and welcome new supporters along the way, to see the mission of Bluefield University carried out in our second century of Christian higher education. Partnering with you in faithful service,

Trustees Emeriti

2020-2021 Advisory Council Dr. Randy Belt '94 Dr. David L. Bailey, Jr. '60 Dr. Jane Duremedes Dr. T. Keith Edwards Dr. Daniel E. Grabeel, Sr. '55 Mr. Margaret Leonard '55 Dr. Charles B. Nunn, Jr. Mr. David Skidmore

Mrs. Kathy Berry '75 Ms. Cindy Carter '75 Dr. Don Caudill Mr. William Gilmer Dr. Bobby F. Griffin Mr. Dennis Harper '71

Mr. Mark Hipes '03 Dr. Garry Jones '74 Mr. Howard Mayo '88 Ms. Jennifer Mitchell '08 Mrs. Leann Montgomery '05 Mrs. Rebecca Peterson

Mr. Eddie Rader '03 Mr. Robert Ramey '98

Mr. Nolan Rich '52 Mrs. A.J. Robinson Mrs. Cynthia Sheets '91 Mr. Peter Taylor Rev. William P. Tuck '55, Chair Mrs. Jennifer Turley '96 2020-2021 Alumni Board of Directors Mrs. Hallie Elder '13 Ms. Courtney Ellis '97 Ms. Lydia Freeman '13 Mr. Eli Hairfield '17 Mrs. Rebecca Kasey '17 Ms. Beth Kinser '18 Mr. Morgan Loyd '13, Vice President Mr. Tim Mann '88 Mr. Wayne Pate '73 Ms. Sarah Pauley '19 Mr. Dennis Peters '61 Mr. Scott Polhamhus '11 Ms. Olivia Ray '18 Mrs. Sara English Rutherford '96, President Mr. William Michael Rutherford '98 Mr. Zachary Smith, Esq. '08, Past President Ms. Allison Campbell '18 Mr. Stephen Coffman '97 Mr. Matthew Moore '13 Mr. Matthew Mullins '18

Bluefield University is a Christ-centered learning community developing servant-leaders to transform the world. University Mission Statement

University Core Values

We are Christian in outlook, Baptist in tradition, and welcoming to each person.

We are committed to academic excellence and life-long inquiry embracing the liberal arts tradition through the study of humanities, sciences, professional studies, and graduate programs.

We are a diverse community characterized by integrity, mutual respect, support, and encouragement.

We are passionate about helping students understand their life calling and become compassionate, globally-minded servant leaders.




948 76%

2021-2022 Executive University Leadership Team and Deans

Students Enrolled in Fall 2021 Census

Student to Faculty Ratio On Campus

Full-Time Faculty Hold Terminal Degrees in Field of Study

Dr. Marshall Flowers Provost Dr. Patricia Neely Executive Vice President for Online & Distance Education Mrs. M. Ruth Blankenship Vice President for Finance and Administration Mr. Joshua D. Cline '09 Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Marketing Dr. Joshua Arnold Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Development Mrs. Tonia Walker Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Mr. Chip Lambert '09 Vice President for Operations and Technology Dr. Emily Lambert Dean of the College of Sciences Dr. Jessica Sharp Dean of the School of Nursing Dr. Thomas Brewster '91 Dean of the School of Education and Social Sciences Dr. Kimberly Farmer Dean of the School of Criminal Justice Dr. Paul Bennett Interim Dean for the Caudill School of Business Dr. Darrin Martin Dean of Academic Support and ACE Dr. Paul Lemon Dean of Registration Services Dr. Tracey Stout Dean of the College of Arts and Letters




Intercollegiate Athletic Teams

Student-Athletes Made the Spring 2022 Presidents or Deans List

Spring 2022 Career GPA for Student-Athletes

Academic Programs Offered Online and On Campus 70+


Traditional Students Receiving Financial Aid 99%

Most Recent Rating by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA)

Students by State (2021-2022)

Countries Represented

Red states represent less than ten students while blue states represent more than ten

Top Ten States Students Come From 1) Virginia - 583

6) Tennessee - 23 7) Maryland - 19 8) Alabama - 15 9) Georgia - 15 10) California - 14

2) West Virginia - 136 3) North Carolina - 48 4) Florida - 34 5) South Carolina - 24

*Quick Facts are collected from Board of Trustee reports and other University sources



Bluefield University Students Go Further With Enhanced Technology Students, faculty, and staff all received the benefit of new technologies for the 2021-2022 academic year thanks to the support of key foundations supporting Bluefield University. The season of change was implemented through new enrollment plan initiatives adopted by the Board of Trustees. The RAMSConnect initiative for on-campus students partnered with Apple to provide each an iPad Air 4, smart keyboard, and Apple Pencil 2. Each iPad was preloaded with all textbooks for the student's semester. The initiative emphasized the University's commitment to providing the best opportunity for student success and equal access to technology. In the academic world, faculty were also provided the opportunity to utilize iPads as part of their instruction. A new learning management platform, Canvas, was implemented for all courses. With the assistance of instructional designers led by Executive Vice President Pat Neely, all courses are receiving a streamlined look and feel through Canvas in order to enhance the user experience students incur through their educational journey. The Admissions Office moved to a Salesforce system for managing prospective student processes and added integrated phone systems which directly input communications processes into the student's file. An updated digital communications system, Pardot, was also added for enhanced email capabilities. Finally, the Advancement team undertook a change from its Jenzabar database services to Blackbaud's Raiser's Edge NXT. The new database provides enhanced reporting for fundraising purposes. The Operations and Technology team was commended in the Spring Board of Trustee meeting for their mobility and speed in the monumental task of installing all new systems.

Bluefield University students have a new space for indoor athletic practice and winter activities at the Keene-Beavers Building in Bluefield, West Virginia. The building was generously donated by Keene Carpet owners Harold "Lynn" Keene, his wife Charlotte, and Annette Beavers. The former carpet store was previously transformed into indoor recreation space with a court used for tennis and pickleball courts among other uses.

A legacy family with generations of graduates from Bluefield University, the Philpott family have long supported the institution. The University celebrates the life of the late Curtis "Joe" Philpott. As a proud member of The Heritage Society, the University's planned giving club, his estate will provide ten years of gifts to The University Fund for annual scholarships and create an endowed scholarship.

#RiseUpRams is the dedicated fall fundraiser for Bluefield University Athletics. Thanks to leading gifts from corporate sponsors and generous support from annual donors, the campaign had a banner year. Sponsors included Gigabeam Networks for The Rammies, an evening celebrating the achievements of student-athletes, and Swope Construction Co. for their sponsorship of the 20th Annual Golfer's Challenge which raises athletic scholarship funds.


Centennial Entryway Project Commemorates First 100 years To commemorate the University's centennial year and the success of Go Further: The Centennial Campaign for Bluefield University, the Board of Trustees approved an enhancement plan for the main entrance of the school. The redesigned entryway will be constructed in two phases beginning in the Summer of 2022. Phase One improvements include two new Bluefield University cast stone entry signs surrounded by brick enhancing the visibility of the entrance for both eastbound and westbound travelers along College Avenue. The center circle will showcase a feature planting bed and new flag poles. Phase Two of the project will connect Van Dyke Circle, the entryway behind Harman Chapel, to the main entryway. This closes the duplicate entryway and improves traffic flow while providing additional parking for the Chapel and Rish Hall residents. Bluefield University thanks the contributors to Phase One of the project:

Centennial Entryway

Dr. and Mrs. Stephen H. Blaydes Drs. Jeff and Joan Bloomer Town of Bluefield, Virginia Mr. and Mrs. Ronald L. Campbell

The Stelio & Betty Tracey Corte Charitable Foundation Mr. and Mrs. John Newton Ferree, Jr.

Mrs. Dafney K. Peters Mr. and Mrs. Michael R. Shott Mr. and Mrs. Smokey Shott Mr. Joseph R. Ruddell

Rev. and Mrs. Rodney J. Hale Dr. and Mrs. Michael P. Harris Mrs. Joyce Johnston Dr. and Mrs. David W. Olive

Estate of W. Paul Cole, Jr: Mr. William P. Cole, III; Mr. Charles M. Cole; and Mr. Thomas J. Cole

The Senate of Virginia presented a resolution honoring the University's centennial year to President Olive, trustee emeritus David Bailey, and Jack Reasor, vice chair of the Board of Trustees for the presentation. The Tazewell County Board of Supervisors also presented a resolution during a luncheon hosted by the University to celebrate the mutually-beneficial relationship with the local community.

The Town of Bluefield, Virginia Town Council, as a gift of appreciation for the century-long relationship between Bluefield University and the town, made the first gift of $100,000 to the Centennial Entryway Project. Council members also donated funds for the University to purchase new University light pole banners to hang along Stadium Drive, Commerce Drive, and College Avenue to show community Rams pride.

Made possible with a grant from the Virginia Counselors Association Foundation, the institution's first Mindfulness Space on campus was created. Located on the second floor of the Science Center, the space provides dedicated space for quiet reflection and prayer. The University remains dedicated to student mental health through its own counseling center with licensed counselors.

Find these headlines and more at bluefield.edu/news-events



Go Further

$25,026,707.23 The $18 Million Centennial Campaign for Bluefield University

Donors by Category

Total Donors 2,705

Gifts Made 11,073

$ 2,598,286.93 $ 2,308,999.05 $ 4,036,939.00 $ 3,299,858.22 $ 2,550,083.93 $ 4,711,296.27 $ 5,521,243.83

Health and Wellness Initiative Science Center Planned Giving


The University Fund Endowment Growth Campaign Unrestricted Restricted Giving

Total Campaign Giving

$ 25,026,707.23

Each spring and winter as graduates line up for the processional, I have the privilege to offer well-wishes and hear of the plans of our newest alumni. During these moments, I draw graduates' attention to the nomenclature intentionally chosen to title the day. You see many title this as graduation, which is technically the conferral of the degree. It implies an ending and that the work is done. However, at Bluefield, we purposefully designate the ceremony as a commencement: a beginning, or a start. As we celebrate the successful conclusion of Go Further: The Centennial Campaign for Bluefield University, we too should not consider this the ending. Likewise, it is a strong start to our second century of Christian higher education. As we have stood on the shoulders of those who founded and built this venerable institution in the past 100 years, future generations will benefit and build upon the noble efforts of this campaign. Thank you for your steadfast support. We invite you to continue with us as we ensure "Bluefield University is a Christ-centered learning community developing servant leaders to transform the world.” Joshua D. Cline '09, Vice President for Institutional Advancement



A world traveler who recently visted Antartica, alumnus and trustee Bob Houck recently completed a visit to all seven continents. However, his favorite trips are reserved for Bluefield each year. As active supporters of The Heritage Society, Bluefield University's planned giving society, he and his wife, Shirley, established The Houck Scholars. This scholarship award will benefit students in the Caudill School of Business or the School of Education and Social Sciences with need. "God has been very good to me. It is an honor to serve and to share a portion of what He has given me with Bluefield University." - Mr. Robert "Bob" Houck '67

"We believe in supporting the community that supports us. That is why we are proud to be members of the Rams Club at Bluefield University. Ensuring student-athletes can go further in their studies and life ensures a brighter future for us all."

- Mr. Ron Mallory, President

In addition to their support in constructing the third-floor addition of The Science Center of Bluefield University, SWOPE Construction has served as a long-time supporter of scholarships for student-athletes through the Rams Club. As title sponsors of the annual Golfers' Challenge, they have assisted the University in raising over $50,000 for athletics in recent years.

Former Alumni Association President Shirley Meador created a scholarship over a decade ago with the goal of helping future teachers with tuition aid. Each year she has faithfully committed gifts to this scholarship and with market growth, this endowment fund has nearly tripled in size further benefiting the students it was created to serve. "A little here and there goes a long way in creating an endowed scholarship. It doesn't take much to get started and to benefit so many for a lifetime." - Mrs. Shirley Chapman Meador' 73

"We give online during #RiseUpRams and BUGiving Day because it is an easy way to support my alma mater and we know students immediately receiving scholarship support they need."

- Dr. Michael Harris '97 and Mrs. Heather Harris

Mike and Heather Harris have served as matching gift supporters during several of the University's giving day campaigns. Through their challenges, which offered dollar-for-dollar matches to other alumni and friends, additional scholarship support was raised for students at Bluefield University. Mike is fond of telling other alumni and community members that "everyone can give something because they were given something from Bluefield."



4imprint.com Ms. Susan M. Aaron Mr. Evan M. Abbey Mr. and Mrs. John Mark Abbey Ms. Donna Abbott Rodney R. Abrahams, D.D.S. ACE Adventure Resort

Mrs. Judith D. Angles Mrs. Vickie J. Angus Anheuser-Busch Foundation Mrs. Bobbie M. Anker Anytime Fitness Appalachian College Association Appalachian Community Fund Applebee's of Bluefield, VA Mr. L. Herbert Apsley, Jr. Ms. Kim Arguello Mr. Blair M. Armbrsiter Dr. and Mrs. David M. Armbrister Armistead Avenue Veterinary Hospital, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Chadrick L. Arnold Dr. and Mrs. Joshua R. Arnold Mrs. Natalie Arnold Arvil V. and Mary A. Adams Charitable Fund Mr. and Mrs. C. Todd Asbury Mrs. Julia B. Ashley Mr. Michael Ashton Mrs. Tina M. Ashwell Mr. David A. Ashworth Mr. and Mrs. Lamar K. Atkins, Jr. Mrs. Melanie Dawn Atkins Mrs. Rennie B. Atkins Mr. Jeffrey A. Atwell Mr. and Mrs. William T. Atwell Auburn Hills Golf Club Rev. and Mrs. David E. Ausby Mrs. Floriene A. Austin Mrs. Sarah B. Austin Ms. Sarah E. Austin Mr. and Mrs. Steven J. Austin Ms. Vera L. Austin Ms. Jennifer C. Avellino Mr. and Mrs. Samuel B. Avery Mr. John A. Ayers Mr. and Mrs. John L. Ayers, II Mrs. Marsha C. Ayers Mr. Reginald L. Ayers Mr. Wayne A. Ayers Mr. and Mrs. Fred S. Ayscue Ms. Patricia Babbitt Back of the Dragon Ms. Randa Bahmed Ms. Dorothy Baier Mr. Barry L. Bailey Miss Betty G. Bailey Ms. Brooke N. Bailey Drs. David L. and Judith B. Bailey

Mr. and Mrs. Dennis L. Bailey Mrs. Dorothy O. Bailey Mr. and Mrs. Gene F. Bailey Mr. Jeffrey A. Bailey Dr. Judith B. Bailey Mrs. Karyl L. Bailey Mr. and Mrs. Michael W. Bailey Ms. Ramona A. Bailey Ms. Shannon Bailey Mr. Thomas L. Bailey, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Howard Hardy Bailey-Kirk Funeral Home, Inc. Mr. Allen W. Baker, Jr. Ms. Dianne H. Baker Mrs. E. Carole Baker Rev. and Mrs. David N. Baldwin Mr. Steve Baldwin Ms. Beth Ballance Mr. Andrew Balthaser Mr. and Mrs. David P. Balthaser Ms. Jeannette R. Balthaser Ms. Rebekah Balthaser Ms. Sheila Balthaser Mrs. Virginia N. Balthaser Bandy Auto, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. W. Michael Bandy Mrs. Jean H. Bane Mr. and Mrs. William D. Bane, Sr. Bank of America Foundation - NationsBank Bankers Insurance, LLC Mr. Britton Banks, Jr. Baptist General Association of Virginia Barbara A. Custalow Living Trust Mrs. Mary Susan Barge Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson R. Barker Mr. Phillip H. Barker Ms. Margaret Barnes Mrs. Phyllis B. Barnes Ms. Sharon Barnes Mr. Benjamin Barnett Mr. and Mrs. Henry W. Barnette Mrs. Donna B. Barnum Mrs. Andrea R. Barr Mr. Benjamin G. Barrett Mrs. Euna T. Barrett Ms. Ana G. Barros Mr. Darron M. Barrus Barter Theatre Mrs. Lynnette M. Bartlett Mr. and Mrs. Joseph J. Bartnick Barton Ford Suffolk

Mr. and Mrs. William B. Acken Dr. and Mrs. Arvil V. Adams Mr. Thomas W. Addison Mr. David B. Adkins Rev. Coan G. Agee Rev. and Mrs. Dan W. Agee Mr. Charlie M. Agnew Rev. and Mrs. George T. Agnew Mrs. Jessica R. Akers Aladdin Food Management Services, LLC Mr. and Mrs. Larry T. Albright Mr. and Mrs. John I. Alexander Mr. and Mrs. S. Tyrone Alexander, Sr. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin I. Allen Mr. Christopher J. Allen Mr. Mark W. Albini Mr. Chuck Albrecht Altizer & Associates Company Mr. and Mrs. Alfonso Alvarez Ms. Tamara J. Alvarez-Espinal Mr. and Mrs. Nick Ameli, Jr. American Electric Power American Online Giving Foundation American Shakespeare Center Mr. and Mrs. Richard A. Ammar Mr. J. Craig Amos Mr. and Mrs. James C. Anders Ms. Jessica L. Anders Mr. and Mrs. James C. Anders Mr. William C. Anders Mr. Danny T. Anderson Mr. Donald Anderson Mrs. Elizabeth C. Anderson Mrs. Mary Kathleen Anderson Mr. and Mrs. P. Warren Anderson, Jr. Mr. William G. Anderson Mr. and Mrs. Willie E. Anderson Mrs. Katrina L. Allen Mrs. Kimberly C. Allen Mrs. Susan L. Allen Mrs. Shelley Allmond Mr. Kyle E. Almond Mr. Attilio S. Aloia Alorica Mrs. Theresa L. Altice




Dr. Cynthia L. Bascom Mr. and Mrs. James T. Bascom Mrs. Verna C. Bascom Mr. Roger S. Baskin Mr. and Mrs. Robert B. Bass Mrs. Carolyn R. Bassett Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc. Ms. Audrey Bast Mr. and Mrs. Gerard A. Bast Mr. Jaxon L. Bast Mr. Jeffrey M. Bast Mr. Mark P. Batoon Battlefield Golf Club Mr. and Mrs. Bradford J. Bauer Mr. and Mrs. Gavin J. Bauer Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Beamer Mr. L. Dale Beane Dr. and Mrs. Paul W. Beasley Ms. Paula J. Beasley Beaver Lions Club Mr. and Mrs. Bryan E. Beavers Mrs. Cynthia L. Beavers Mr. Kaimen A. Beavers Mrs. Wendy S. Beavers Mr. and Mrs. Gary J. Becker Mrs. Rebbecca T. Becker Mr. and Mrs. John P. Beckett, Jr. Rev. Carl D. Belcher Mrs. Laura E. Belcher Belk of Mercer Mall Mrs. Erika E. Bell Mrs. Donna F. Belote Drs. Randall L. and Whitney L. Belt Mr. and Mrs. Neal D. Bennett Dr. and Mrs. Paul H. Bennett Ms. Michelle Bentley Mr. and Mrs. Tony E. Bentley Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth E. Berger Mr. and Mrs. Bruce H. Berget Berkeley Plantation Rev. J. Andrew Berry Mr. and Mrs. Bill A. Berry Ms. Sarah Bertsch Beshears Holdings, LLC Bethel Baptist Church of Lebanon Mr. John T. Betterton, Jr. Ms. Linda J. Bickford Mrs. Lois N. Bickford Mr. and Mrs. R. Steven Bickford Mr. Branden Belush Mr. Douglas Belush Mrs. Doris D. Bender

Mr. and Mrs. Carl Bolch, Jr. Mrs. Mary M. Boni Ms. Courtney Booth Mr. Jacob B. Booth Mr. and Mrs. Jim Booth Mr. Jerry W. Boothe Dr. and Mrs. Robert K. Boozer Mr. Harry F. Bosen, Jr. Ms. Aleshia M. Boshers Mr. Harold W. Bosserman Mr. and Mrs. Douglas J. Bourne Ms. Hilda D. Bower Mrs. Jane M. Bowerman Mr. Kevin Bowers Ms. Leslie A. Bowers Mrs. Gloria L. Bowman Mrs. Lucy W. Bowman Mr. William M. Bowser Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Boyd Mrs. Andrea Brade Mr. Neal R. Brade Mrs. Mary L. Bradley Mr. and Mrs. William S. Bradley Mr. Steven H. Brady Brainerd Gallery Mr. Joseph P. Brake Bramwell Chapter of the Eastern Star Mrs. Ashley C. Branch Mr. and Mrs. J. Travis Branch Mrs. Pamela C. Branch Ms. Megan C. Brandl Mr. and Mrs. William Brandl Mr. Raymond E. Branson Ms. Kaija L. Bratcher Mr. and Mrs. Gary E. Breeding Mr. and Mrs. Jerry R. Brewer Mrs. Kimberly D. Brewer Mr. Harold D. Brewster, Jr. Dr. Thomas M. Brewster Mr. William H. Bridges, Jr. Mr. Eugene F. Brieck Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Briggs Mr. Craig Brawley Ms. Sharon Braxton

Ms. Bonnie T. Bierer CWO Timothy Bigler Bill Cole Auto Mall Biltmore

Mr. & Mrs. William C. Bird, M.D. Birthplace of Country Music Museum Ms. Janice M. Bishop Mr. and Mrs. Caleb A. Bittler Mr. and Mrs. Gary Black

Dr. and Mrs. Joe R. Blackstock Mrs. Lauren Faith Blackwell Mr. Matt J. Blake

Mr. Richard A. Blakeley Mr. Gabriel A. Blakman Bland Street United Methodist Church Mr. and Mrs. J. Ted Blankenship Mr. and Mrs. John W. Blankenship Mr. and Mrs. John Blankenship Mrs. Sally J. Blankenship Mr. Stephen P. Blankenship Ms. Tonia L. Blankenship Mr. and Mrs. William M. Blanton Ms. Margit Blaschitz Dr. and Mrs. Stephen H. Blaydes Mr. and Mrs. Mark C. Blevins Mr. and Mrs. James E. Blevins Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club Bluefield Baseball Club, Inc. Bluefield Inn Bluefield University - Baseball Department Bluefield University - Football Department Bluefield University - Golf Department Bluefield University - Men's Soccer Bluefield University - Softball Department Bluefield University - Women's Volleyball Ms. Alandra L. Blume Ms. Stephanie L. Blume Mr. Jeffrey L. Boatwright Bob Evans Restaurant of Bluefield, VA Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Bochtler Mrs. Meghan L. Bohach Mr. and Mrs. John-Michael Bohon Mr. Sy Bohon Ms. Mary W. Boitnott Mrs. Rita P. Blevins Ms. Bernadette Bliss Drs. Jeff and Joan Bloomer Blue Hills Golf Club Bluefield University Art Club Bluefield University Bookstore


Bristol Motor Speedway Mr. Michael D. Britain Dr. Lewis O. Brogdon, Jr.

Ms. Jessica L. Brokaw Mr. James A. Brooks Mr. James S. Brooks Mr. and Mrs. Marquis Brooks, Jr. Dr. Sheila J. Brooks


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