BC Presents 2012 Alumni Awards
Bluefield College recognized three distinguished graduates with alumni awards and honored a longtime staff member with an Honorary Alumna distinction during Homecoming festivities on campus, October 27.

BC Presents 2012 Alumni Awards

By Chris Shoemaker | November 9, 2012 | RSS

View more photos from the Alumni Awards ceremony.




President David Olive (left) and Alumni Association President Sharon Knick (right) recognize alumnus Richard Norman, the latest inductee into BC's Hall of Distinguished Graduates.




Alumnus Spencer Wood (center), winner of the 2012 Distinguished Young Alumnus award.




Honorary Alumna Ruth Blankenship.



View more photos from the Alumni Awards ceremony.

Alumnus Richard Norman from the class of 1978 was inducted into the BC Hall of Distinguished Graduates. Considered the college’s highest honor for alumni, the Hall of Distinguished Graduates is reserved for alumni who have achieved “outstanding accomplishments in their profession or career” and who have displayed “significant leadership in their community” and to the BC Alumni Association.


A resident of Loudoun County, Virginia, Norman is the president and founder of The Richard Norman Company, an award-winning political campaign fundraising company in Northern Virginia. In this capacity, he has been a vital part of six presidential campaigns and dozens of congressional and gubernatorial campaigns. In fact, he is one a handful of fundraising professionals to raise more than $1 billion on behalf of his clients. In 2001 and 2012, Norman was named a “Mover and Shaker” by Campaigns and Elections magazine, “Republican Fundraiser of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants, and the “Andrew Jackson Champion of Liberty” award winner by the U.S. Taxpayer’s Alliance.


“In addition to his work in campaign fundraising, Richard dedicates numerous hours to his church, various charity boards, organizations, and to the Bluefield College Board of Trustees,” said Alumni Director Josh Cline, who joined President David Olive and Alumni Association President Sharon Knick in presenting the alumni awards. “It gives me great pleasure to award the ninth Distinguished Hall of Graduate honor to Richard. He is certainly deserving.”


Norman, who studied political science at the University of Richmond after earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Bluefield College, also owns and operates the Robertson Mailing List Company, Patriot Data Services, and Active Engagement. Before his fundraising career, he worked as a congressional staffer on Capitol Hill for Congressman Robert W. Daniel, Jr. (R-VA) and as a staff supporter for the George H.W. Bush Presidential Campaign.


Alumnus Spencer Wood from the class of 1998 earned BC’s 2012 Distinguished Young Alumnus award, reserved for younger grads who achieve “outstanding accomplishments early in their profession,” while also displaying “significant leadership and service in their community.”


An author, teacher and speaker on mental skills and toughness training, Wood is the president and founder of Icebox Athlete, a premier provider of mental toughness instructional programs and speed, agility and quickness training plans for athletes. In that position, he has impacted championship teams and programs in the NCAA’s Big East, ACC, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, and Colonial conferences, among others. He has worked with college athletes at Virginia Commonwealth, Kansas, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, Boston College, Clemson, and Florida. He also has spoken twice at the Nike Football Coach of the Year Awards program, three times at the National Soccer Coaches Association’s National Conference, four times at the Women’s NCAA Final Four, and once at the Men’s NCAA Final Four.


“Spencer is quick to count three major heroes in his life,” said Cline, “The first being his wife, Lysha, a ‘gifted licensed therapist, dedicated mother, and loving wife.’ The second being his mother, Stella Sotiria Papageorgio Wood, who overcame significant hardships to instill in her children ‘the value of education, hard work, honesty, and a never-quit attitude.’ Finally, Spencer states that his greatest hero is his Savior, Jesus Christ. In fact, he became a Christian less than a year after graduating from Bluefield College as a result of the influence of faculty and staff.”


In addition to his projects with Icebox Athlete, Wood, who lives in Bluefield, Virginia, co-directs the Journal Square Homeless Ministry in New Jersey and participates with Champions for Christ Sports Ministry, a coaching, sports instruction and church-planting ministry in South America.


Alumnus Roger Roller from the class of 1981 earned BC’s 2012 Delgado Christian Service Award, designed to recognize graduates who display continual service and compassion in ministry and leadership and named in honor of former BC academic dean Primitivo Delgado who lived a life committed to Christian service and ministry.


A full time evangelist from Forest, Virginia, Roller is the founder of The Roger Roller Evangelistic Association, where he leads 25-30 revivals each year, along with more than 500 evangelistic meetings annually. In fact, over the past 20 years, he has preached overseas on mission trips in Hungary, Cuba, Panama, the San Blas Islands, India, Brazil, Honduras, and South Africa.


“His evangelistic association has provided the funds to build seven churches overseas and partnered with another ministry to build a training center in Uganda,” said Cline. “The association also supports college and seminary students who are going into full-time Christian service, including students at Bluefield College.”


A graduate of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina, Roller’s career also includes pastorates at Calvary Baptist Church in Floyd, Virginia, and Rustburg Baptist Church in Rustburg, Virginia.


Longtime Bluefield College vice president for advancement Ruth Blankenship was named an Honorary Alumna, an award designed to honor individuals who are not BC alumni, but who still represent the value and mission of the school and who greatly impact the institution through service and support.


A resident of Thompson Valley, Virginia, Blankenship has served as a fundraiser for Bluefield College since 2000, during which time she has raised millions of dollars for BC causes, including most recently a new nursing program, a new intercollegiate football team, and a new Campus and Community Wellness Center. As VP for advancement, she also developed a strong corporate donor base, established a grant-writing program, and developed a planned giving strategy.


Outside of her fundraising duties, Blankenship has served as an advisor for BC’s Phi Beta Lambda and Students in Free Enterprise business organizations, as a volunteer for the school’s Bonner Leaders Program, as coordinator of the campus AmeriCorps Vista workers program, as an adjunct instructor in accounting, and as lead strategist in the college’s partnership with Tazewell County to launch a new dental school.


“Her bright ideas and caring heart have also been recognized by her peers,” said Cline, “as evidenced in a Bluefield College Distinguished Staff Award, a 4-H All-Star honor, a Paul Harris Fellow distinction with Rotary International, and a Sam Walton Free Enterprise Fellowship. Service above self is not just a lofty idea for Ruth, but a lifestyle.”


Off campus, Blankenship is a board member for the Bluefield, Virginia, Economic Development Committee, the Emory and Henry Alumni Association, and the Tazewell County Fair Association. She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Bluefield, Virginia, chair of the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Virginia, and a volunteer with Tazewell County 4-H, Boy Scout Pack 92, and Thompson Valley Fire and Rescue Auxiliary.



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Chris Shoemaker, Director of Marketing and Public Relations