West Virginia Wesleyan College is gearing up for a special Homecoming celebration. This year, the College will inaugurate its nineteenth president and celebrate the closing of a successful Capital Campaign. Homecoming is set for October 12-15, and the week will offer some new and exciting programming leading into the weekend.
Opening Homecoming week is the second installment of the WVWC Faculty Lecture Series on Monday, October 9 at 7 p.m. in the Culpepper Auditorium of the Virginia Thomas Law Center for the Performing Arts (PAC). Dr. Debra Murphy, associate professor of religious studies, will present “Beauty, Terror, Mystery, Consolation: Poetry and the Aesthetics of Environmentalism.”
Dr. Murphy received a Ph.D. in theological and religious studies from Drew University, a Master of Theological Studies from Duke University, and a bachelor of science in biology from Wesleyan.
Prior to her professional time at Wesleyan, Dr. Murphy served as a part-time instructor in religion at North Carolina Wesleyan College, an adjunct assistant professor of religion and philosophy at Meredith College, a lecturer in Christian nurture and formation at Duke Divinity School, and an instructor of religion at Mount Olive College. She has been featured in multiple scholarly articles and publications. The event is free and open to the public.
On Tuesday, October 10, Dr. Ken Ramsey ’84, senior pastor of Bridgeport United Methodist Church in Bridgeport, WV, will deliver a special message to the community. He received his Doctor of Ministry in 1991 from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH; his Master of Divinity degree in 1986 from Emory University, Candler School of Theology, in Atlanta, GA; and his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan in 1984. The service is open to the public.
On Wednesday, October 11, Dr. Darrel Tenney ’64 will present a lecture as part of the Voices of Distinction Alumni Lecture Series. His lecture entitled “Structural Framework for Flight” will be held at 7 p.m. in Hyma Auditorium in Christopher Hall of Science.
Dr. Tenney is the director of the Aerospace Vehicle Systems Technology (AVST) Program Office at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. He served as chief of the materials division at the Research Center from 1987 to his appointment as AVST director in 1996. He has held positions as a group leader, head of Environmental Effects Branch, head of the Applied Materials Branch, and assistant chief of the Materials Division. Prior to his work with NASA, he was an assistant professor of Materials Engineering at Virginia Tech.
A graduate of Virginia Tech with a doctorate degree in materials engineering, Dr. Tenney graduated from the Harvard PMD Management Program. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan in 1964. The event is free and open to the public.
WVWC faculty will present an Evening of Music on Thursday, October 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Culpepper Auditorium of the PAC. College faculty will perform music from several genres under the direction of Dr. James H. Moore, associate professor of music. The event is free and open to the public.
As alumni begin to arrive on campus on Friday, registration will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the PAC Lobby. Campus walking tours will be available for interested parties at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and will depart from the O’Roark Nordstrom Welcome Center.
The Class of 1967 will celebrate its 50th class reunion with a social in the Greek Alumni Room of the PAC at 1 p.m. The 1967 class photo will be taken, and light refreshments will be served.
At 3:00 p.m., the College will celebrate Founders Day and the inauguration of Joel Thierstein, J.D., Ph.D., as the nineteenth president of Wesleyan in Wesley Chapel. Dr. Thierstein will give the convocation address. The annual Alumni Awards will also be presented to Donald Gardner ’77, Alumni Service; Dr. Sara Stankus ’85, Alumni Achievement; and Dr. Darrel Tenney ’64, Alumni Achievement.
The community is invited to the celebration immediately following the convocation at 4:15 p.m. at the tent on the Chapel Oval.
At 6:30 p.m., the Alumni Dinner and Inaugural Celebration: A Taste of Appalachia will happen at the Event Center at Brushy Fork. Dr. Thierstein’s new appointment will be celebrated as well as the closing of the “Enhancing Our Tradition, Empowering Our Future” Capital Campaign. This year features prominent local Chef Dale Hawkins of Fish Hawk Acres in Rock Cave, WV who will feature a buffet feast of the area’s best local fare. Wesleyan’s 17-piece big band will provide entertainment following dinner. The event is $35 with reservations required prior to Homecoming.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. in the Rockefeller Physical Education Center for alumni to attend Saturday events. At 9:30 a.m., “A Walk Through Time” Continental Breakfast will be held in Annie Merner Pfieffer Library. Brett Miller ’06, director of library services and archivist, will present a display on past inaugurations as well as a special exhibit of items from the Charles Aubrey Jones (Sem. 1904) Abraham Lincoln Collection. All class reunion photos will be taken.
The Emeritus Club luncheon will be at 11 a.m. in the French A. See Dining Center. Members of the 1967 class will be inducted into the Club during this time.
The All-Alumni Picnic will be held at the tent on the Chapel Oval Green at 11:30 p.m. Enjoy a picnic lunch of burgers and hot dogs. Cost is $10 per person to be paid at the tent. Cash only, please.
Activities continue at the sororities and fraternities open houses, and the Religious Studies reception will be held at 2 p.m. in Chambers Lounge of Wesley Chapel. The lives and legacies of Dr. Arthur Holmes and Debbie Leigh will be celebrated, as well as the retirement of Dr. Vicki Phillips.
The Swimming Alumni Reception will be held at 2:00 p.m. next to the football field. A light lunch will be served.
At 4:30 p.m., Cross Town Traffic from Elkins, WV will present a free outdoor concert for the community and public alike on the Chapel Oval. Formed in 2013, this rock’n’roll band plays a mix of classic rock from the 60s, 70s, and 80s featuring the sounds of Van Morrison, the Allman Brothers, and the Rolling Stones, among others. Recently, Cross Town Traffic opened up for country music star Darryl Worley. Bring a blanket or lawn chair and expect a high energy show with talented musicians.
A Decades Dinner will occur from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the French A. See Dining Center. Go “through the line” and fellowship with both old and new friends. Cost is $9 per person to be paid at the door. Cash only, please.
Big Bingo rounds off the evening at 8:00 p.m. in the French A. See Dining Center. Enjoy this tradition as alumni can vie for great prizes.
Homecoming festivities wrap up on Sunday with a chapel service at 10:30 a.m. Amy Shanholtzer ’87 will provide the keynote address. She is the Director of Evangelism and Congregational Development for the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. She is married to Craig Shanholtzer ’86, and they reside in Winfield, WV.
The athletic contests include a Friday volleyball matchup against West Liberty at 10 a.m. and a Saturday matchup against Wheeling Jesuit at 10:00 a.m., both in the Rockefeller Physical Education Center. Saturday also brings a 9:00 a.m. men’s tennis “Orange and Black” scrimmage at the Wood Street Complex; swim meet at 11 a.m. against Alderson Broaddus University in the Benedum Center; and a football matchup between UVA-Wise at 1:00 p.m. at Ross Field where the 2017 Homecoming King and Queen Coronation will be held at halftime. On Sunday, men’s soccer will play Concord at 1 p.m. at the Culpepper Soccer Stadium on Wood Street.
Alumni are encouraged to register soon for Homecoming at https://www.wvwc.edu/homecoming-17. For more information or to register by phone, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (304) 473-8509.