Bluefield University in the News


by | Dec 21, 2011

One hundred Bluefield College seniors accepted diplomas during the school's 20th Annual Winter Commencement, Saturday, December 18.

Hundreds of friends and family filled BC’s Harman Chapel to celebrate with the graduates in a ceremony that featured not only the granting of baccalaureate degrees, but also a keynote address from Virginia Senator Phillip Puckett, the presentation of a Distinguished Faculty Award, and the bestowing of Honorary Doctorate degrees on two retired BC professors.

Bluefield College President David Olive welcomed the capacity crowd to the traditional winter ceremony and recognized special guests in attendance, including BC trustees Tom Brewster, David Dockery, Michael Duval, Bob Houck, Ron Hypes, Jim Justice, Julie Johnson, Jack Marcom, Tem Marshall, Pearl Moyers-Dean, and Joe Tatum.

“Graduates, the focus of this day, as it has been throughout your studies at Bluefield College, is on you,” Dr. Olive told the seniors. “We celebrate your success today, but our hope is that you have been prepared not only for a successful career or profession, but also a meaningful life — one grounded in faith and in service to others.”

As a tribute and an expression of appreciation for their longtime loyalty to Bluefield College, Armbrister and Gordon received Honorary Doctorate degrees during the Commencement ceremony.
Gordon, who holds the longest tenure of any BC professor with 40 years of service, came to Bluefield College in 1962 as an assistant professor of commerce and business. During his four decades on faculty, he was promoted to associate professor of business in 1977, distinguished professor of commerce and business in 1983, and senior professor in 1997. He also served as chairman of the Division of Business and was once named a Distinguished Faculty Award winner. After retiring in 2002, he was granted Faculty Emeritus status in 2009.

Armbrister, who also attended Bluefield College as a student, came to the school in 1968 as an assistant professor of history and sociology. During his 32-year tenure, he was promoted to associate professor of history in 1978 and senior professor in 1997. He also served as chairman of the Division of Social Sciences and faculty sponsor of Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society. In addition, he received BC’s Distinguished Faculty Award and published two books on the history of the college. After retiring in 2000, he was granted Faculty Emeritus status in 2009.

“We stand on your shoulders,” Johnson, BC’s chair of the Board, told Gordon and Armbrister. “You are the cornerstone of this institution. We appreciate your Godly instruction and example.”

The Winter Commencement program also included the presentation of the school’s Wampler-Caudill Distinguished Faculty Award to the “most influential instructor in the inSPIRE degree-completion program.” Tara Garland, an instructor in the human services division of the program, won the winter 2011 award for her “classroom excellence” and “Christian character.”

“Your leadership, your enthusiasm, and the way in which you embrace your students makes Bluefield College a better place,” Dr. Larry Sinsabaugh, associate vice president for inSPIRE, told Garland. “Your success sets the standard for other faculty to model.”

Senator Puckett, who has represented Virginia’s 38th District in the State Senate since 1999, encouraged the graduates to consider the people who helped get them to where they are today.
“You have people who have invested in your life,” said Senator Puckett, who has served on 19 legislative and standing committees in the Virginia Senate. “Don’t forget them, because they are the people who helped make you who you are today.”

The senator also encouraged the seniors to consider the God who gave them the talents and gifts they needed to succeed. And, he challenged the students to return the favor of giving.
“When you have the opportunity to invest in others as people have invested in you, do it,” he said. “Follow the example of Jesus Christ. God, and do the same and invest in the lives of other individuals.”

The 2011 Winter Commencement ceremony also included special music by graduating music students Allison Deel and Keri Joyce; a scripture reading from communications professor Dr. Cindy Bascom; formal induction for the class of 2011 into the BC Alumni Association, led by alumni director Josh Cline; the singing of Christmas hymns and the BC alma mater, led by music professor Bryant Moxley; and the conferring of degrees, led by President Olive, vice president for academic affairs Dr. Robert Shippey, faculty president Mimi Merritt, and registrar Amanda Parks.

Candidates for graduation for winter 2011 included:
Randi S. Akers, Newport News, Virginia
Marlene Cooper Ali, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Robert D. Bailey, IV, Pineville, West Virginia
Carolyn S. Barrett, Tappahannock, Virginia
Robert Richard Barton, Jr., Blue Ridge, Virginia
Wallicia Y. Baskerville, South Hill, Virginia
Pete J. Beavers, Bluefield, Virginia
Allan Belcher, Forest, Virginia
Robert Alan Billips, Bluefield, Virginia
Chantel L. Blunt, Youngstown, Ohio
Sean W. Blunt, Brooklyn, New York
Kasandra Lynette Board, Rocky Mount, Virginia
John D. Boatwright, Goochland, Virginia
Latasha Lyn Bowman, Galax, Virginia
Michael Wayne Brashear, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Stephanie Lee Bratton, Radford, Virginia
Mischelle Brown-Mayo, Colonial Heights, Virginia
Jacqueline F. Bunting, Richmond, Virginia
Tracy Renee’ Caldwell, Richmond, Virginia
Richard Dean Case, Abingdon, Virginia
Frederick Keith Chambers, Centreville, Virginia
Rhonda K. Compton, Richlands, Virginia
Shannon Codaire Conner, Danville, Virginia
Rose Angell Croft, Salem, Virginia
David Shawn Cruise, Blacksburg, Virginia
Dennis M. Dean, Charlottesville, Virginia
Allison Nicole Deel, Springville, Virginia
Anita A. Woodyard-Dodson, Dublin, Virginia
Candace L. Dungee, Richmond, Virginia
Marcea Petronia Renay Easter, South Hill, Virginia
Donese Jeannene Elligan, Richmond, Virginia
Stephen Marcus Fields, Chilhowie, Virginia
Zuliekia Arnela Foster, Richmond, Virginia
Takashi Monique Franklin, Aiken, South Carolina
Janice R. Gillis, Lawrenceville, Virginia
Katherine Ann Giovannini, Stafford, Virginia
Kimberly Nichole Godette, Chesapeake, Virginia
Devin Good, Baltimore, Maryland
Sarah Katherine Graetzer, Henrico, Virginia
Ashlee Nichole Grogan, Princeton, West Virginia
Brian Andre Hackett, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Emilie Hope Hagee, Bastian, Virginia
Paula N. Hairston, Midlothian, Virginia
Shanyn Kay Hansen, Troutville, Virginia
Barry Preston Harman, Vinton, Virginia
Michael J. Headrick, Frederisckburg, Virginia
Kiara LaShae Honore, Anchorage, Alaska
David Heath Hyatt, Narrows, Virginia
Shellie Belcher Ingraham, Rock, West Virginia
Christopher R. Johnson, Manassas, Virginia
Keri Elizabeth Joyce, Richlands, Virginia
Robert Michael Kennedy, Chesapeake, Virginia
Sara S. Khan, Bristow, Virginia
Patrica Carolyn Kirk, Giles, Virginia
William R. Knox, Powhatan, Virginia
Jabe Lenwood Largen, Dublin, Virginia
Timothy Michael Lavoie, Enid, Oklahoma
Kevin Philip Law, Pembroke, Virginia
Hannah R. Lawrence, Bluefield, Virginia
Patrice Michele Hayden-Lewis, Roanoke, Virginia
Kevin Kar-man Li, Chesapeake, Virginia
Ronald L. Marsh, Roanoke, Virginia
Linda Kay Meade, Princeton, West Virginia
Jessica Esther Christian Moroles, Houston, Texas
Katrina Morris, Tampa, Florida
Mark Radcliffe Nugent, Chesterfield, Virginia
Britney Fellio Olson, Chesapeake, Virginia
Lisa Yvette Patterson, Chesterfield, Virginia
David Norman Peppler, Sr., Apple Creek, Ohio
Rebecca Catherine Perry, Newark, Delaware
Dalasue Delissa Phillips, Bluefield, West Virginia
Paul B. Poff, Roanoke, Virginia
Barbara A. Quick, Prince William, Virginia
Colin Dane Rasnick, Orange, Virginia
Jeremiah D. Rasor, Christiansburg, Virginia
Adam Bradley Reedy, Troutdale, Virginia
Cynthia Jane Martin Richards, Roanoke, Virginia
Harriet L. Roane, Glenns, Virginia
Blake Edward Royal, Christiansburg, Virginia
Jennifer Whitaker Rush, Christiansburg, Virginia
James Roy Pierce Shelton, Richlands, Virginia
Wesley Michael Simms, Chesapeake, Virginia
James Eugene Smith, Roanoke, Virginia
Sarah Danielle Stevens, Tazewell, Virginia
Jennifer Reynolds Stokes, Roanoke, Virginia
Felicia Vandorea Stretcher, Richmond, Virginia
John Timothy Tapolcai, Woodbridge, Virginia
Susan Rorrer Thacker, Collinsville, Virginia
Melissa Diane Thomas, Pulaski, Virginia
Shelita Tucker, Charlottesville, Virginia
Stefany Scott Turner, Bland, Virginia
DeAndra Shunell Vaughan, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Melissa Ann White, Princeton, West Virginia
Katrina Chambers-Whittle, La Crosse, Virginia
Elesha H. Wikle, Christiansburg, Virginia
Rachel Marianne Williams, Evington, Virginia
Tyler Keith Wilson, Patrick County, Virginia
Pamela E. Wood, Portsmouth, Virginia
Elizabeth A. Wright, Richmond, Virginia
Sheena Moria Young, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

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