Bluefield University in the News


by | May 18, 2015

One hundred thirty-seven Bluefield College seniors accepted diplomas, Saturday, May 9, during the school’s 93rd Annual Spring Commencement, which also featured the conferring of the school’s first ever master’s degrees and the presentation of an Honorary Doctorate degree.

View hundreds of photos from Spring Commencement.

Outside on the campus quad against the backdrop of the majestic East River Mountain, Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive and BC Board chair Dr. David Bailey welcomed family and friends to the celebratory event. Dr. Bailey offered best wishes to the graduates and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to celebrate the “glorious day” with the seniors.


Dr. Olive recognized 20 unique seniors who had transferred to Bluefield from Virginia Intermont College this past fall. Through a teach-out plan between BC and VI, the students were able to finish their baccalaureate studies at Bluefield
College after Virginia Intermont closed its doors in the spring of 2014.


“While Bluefield College can never fully replace Virginia Intermont,” Dr. Olive told the VI transfers, “we are hopeful you have felt welcomed and appreciated here.”


The president also acknowledged the late Craig D. Bennett, a BC student from Fredericksburg, Virginia. Handicapped since birth, Bennett passed away in the final weeks of his senior year. With approval from the Board of Trustees, Dr. Olive presented a posthumous baccalaureate degree to Bennett during his funeral in April and acknowledged his impact on campus during Commencement.


“While we know Craig is enjoying his new body now in his heavenly home,” said Dr. Olive, “we miss him and wish he could be with us today.”


On a day that featured a number of milestones, the graduation of Bluefield’s first-ever master’s degree students was the most notable. The college launched its inaugural master’s degree program, an online master of arts in education (MAEd), in the fall of 2013. The first students in the program – Shellie Brown of Pounding Mill, Virginia; Megan Hardison of Yorktown, Virginia; Crystal Ramos-McCall of Pembroke Virginia; and Kalyn Dolan of Lynchburg, Virginia – completed their studies this spring and accepted the historic BC master’s degrees during Commencement 2015.


“It has been an honor to be a part of the educational journey with these first graduates,” said Dr. Donna Watson, dean of the BC School of Education. “Truly they are school leaders and educational innovators who have set a high standard for future classes of graduate students.”


The Spring Commencement program also featured the presentation of an Honorary Doctorate degree to BC alumnus Dr. Spencer Wood and recognition for retiring BC professor Dr. Wayne Massey. Dr. Massey, a 1959 BC graduate, was recognized for 27 years of service to his alma mater as a professor of English and director of international programs. He was also acknowledged for receiving the school’s professor emeritus status.


Dr. Wood, a 1998 BC graduate who went on to receive international acclaim as the founder and president of Icebox Athlete, a provider of mental skills and toughness training, received an Honorary Doctorate for his “contributions to society” and his support of the BC vision and mission. An author, teacher and speaker, Dr. Wood has worked with Olympic athletes and players and teams from the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the power conferences of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. In addition to his work with Icebox Athlete, he is co-director of the Journal Square Homeless Ministry and an active participant in Champions for Christ Sports Ministry.


“Bluefield College showed me incredible love and support,” said Dr. Wood about his experience as a student at BC. “It was one of the most memorable, life-changing experiences of my life.”


Dr. Wood also provided the keynote address for Commencement, an inspiring message to graduates to “pursue what you love,” “live without fear,” and “do whatever you do with integrity.” A business executive not long after college, Dr. Wood was earning nearly six figures of annual income. But, despite the lucrative career, he said he wasn’t content. So, he walked away to pursue his passion for sports performance. He encouraged BC graduates to do the same.


“Pursue what you love,” he told the seniors. “Your passion is God-given. Your gifts are God-given. Please don’t make the mistake I made. Pursue your dream. Pursue your passion.”


Dr. Wood also challenged the class of 2015 to take risks in pursuing what they love. “If you have the heart to put everything on the line and the courage to pursue your dreams, you risk nothing,” he said. “Don’t be afraid of rejection. Don’t fear failure. Be without fear. Very few human beings have the courage to put it all on the line.”


In the pursuit of that passion or in the quest for success, Dr. Wood urged the BC seniors to maintain integrity. “The sacrifice of a savior calls me to be better and to do better,” said Dr. Wood, who credits Bluefield College for instilling in him a desire to explore Christianity and later make a profession of faith. “Success means nothing, if obtained without integrity.”


The 93rd Annual Spring Commencement also included special music by graduating senior music major Elizabeth Decker of Martinsville, Virginia; a scripture reading from School of Nursing assistant dean Pamela Linkous; the singing of hymns and the BC alma mater, led by music professor Dr. Charles Priest; and the graduates’ induction into the BC Alumni Association, led by Alumni Council vice president Jennifer Mitchell.


Senior candidates for graduation in the spring class of 2015 included:

Rutger D. Allen, Bastian, Virginia
Tiffany Jade Allison, Christiansburg, Virginia
Samantha E. Amos, Sugar Grove, Virginia
Calvin Anderson, III, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Adam Bryant Anthony, Troutville, Virginia
Brooke Nicole Bailey, Bluefield, West Virginia
Foday S. Bangura, Sacramento, California
Benjamin Gregory Barrett, Chester, Virginia
Courtney Grace Bell, St. Marys, Georgia
ReBecca Elizabeth Bennett, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Christine Bennett, Willis, Virginia
Craig Daniel Bennett, Fredericksburg, Virginia
Christopher W. Bennett, Newport News, Virginia
Misty Dawn Beyer, Reston, Virginia
John Mark Blanks, Emporia, Virginia
Brandy Nicole Blevins, Marion, Virginia
Shellie Denise Brown, Richlands, Virginia
Ruth Payne-Brown, Northfork, West Virginia
Heather Yvonne Brush, Rocky Mount, Virginia
Dallas Brooke Burton, Hiltons, Virginia
Michael S. Callaghan, Belfast, Ireland
Hector Alejandro Camacho, Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico
Tamara Leigh Campbell, Nickelsville, Virginia
Holly Ann Carroll, Oakvale, West Virginia
Cameron Nelson Carter, Roanoke, Virginia
Lisa Yvette Claiborne, Mechanicsville, Virginia
Victoria Dawn Clark, Rose Hill, Virginia
Nacosta Denee’ Coleman, Whitewood, Virginia
Michael Wayne Collins, Louisburg, North Carolina
Jeremy Connor, Richlands, Virginia
Samantha Danielle Corker, Spotsylvania, Virginia
Monique Shantrice Nobles Cornett, Thomasville, Alabama
Laura Cheyenne Craven, Round O, South Carolina
Michael Dwight Anthony Crawley, Salem, Virginia
Nina Michelle Cundiff, Radford, Virginia
Elizabeth Wood Decker, Martinsville, Virginia
Kalyn B. Dolan, Gladys, Virginia
Brandon Ryan Dudley, Amissville, Virginia
Rebecca L. Earls, Bluefield, Virginia
Susan White Early, Baskerville, Virginia
Brayden Freeman, Fillmore, Indiana
Braley Freire, New Bedford, Massachusetts
Tanya Michelle Gaddis, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Lorenzo A. Goode, Richmond, Virginia
Michael Shane Gunter, Bluefield, Virginia
Sara E. Hair, Chesapeake, Virginia
Ashley Dawn Hall, Galax, Virginia
Kellie L. Hancock, Pulaski, Virginia
Megan Hardison, Yorktown, Virginia
Christopher Luke Harris, Dobson, North Carolina
Debra Scott Hawkins, Crockett, Virginia
Jessica Renee Asbury Hess, Tazewell, Virginia
Barbara W. Hoer, Vinton, Virginia
Kasey Michele Holcomb, Pulaski, Virginia
Julia Gail Hudler, Woodlawn, Virginia
Alison Taylor Jackson, Bluefield, Virginia
Joy Denise Jackson, Rice, Virginia
Valecia A. Jackson, Petersburg, Virginia
Vicki Denise Jackson-Wade, Kenbridge, Virginia
Brenda Lee Jennings, Ft. Washington, Maryland
Dean Johnson, London, England
Robert Allen Johnson, Roanoke, Virginia
Lisa Lorraine Johnson, Roanoke, Virginia
Shaheem Jones, Falls Church, Virginia
Rodney O’Brien Kasey, Moneta, Virginia
Michael Harold Keeling, Cantaura, Venezuela
Tiffany Renee Keller, Abbs Valley, Virginia
Dylan T. Kidd, Christiansburg, Virginia
Brian J. Lawson, Wytheville, Virginia
Rebecca M. LeBlanc, Dublin, Virginia
Joseph Thorton Lee, Ashland, Virginia
Tempestt Johanna Lewis, Pemberton, New Jersey
Sandra Patricia Sousa de Lima Argo, São Luís, Brazil
Dulcie J. Loyd, Roanoke, Virginia
Linda J. MacDearmott, Salem, Virginia
Niqko Deante Marshall, Hampton, Virginia
Christopher Michael McCollister, Fairfield, California
Tonya Renee Breeding McCoy, Coeburn, Virginia
Jade Alexandria McDaniel, Union, West Virginia
Miranda Carroll McGuire, Roanoke, Virginia
Sawyer Cale McLamb, Asheville, North Carolina
Tara Migliarese, Salem, Virginia
Teresa Pickle Mitchell, Saltville, Virginia
Ava Jean Mitchell, Marion, Virginia
Ryan D. Moody, Danville, Virginia
Cleveland Robert Morris, Roanoke, Virginia
Jessica D. Smith, Floyd, Virginia
Sara Mutter, Bristol, Virginia
Cory Allen Niten, Mesa, Arizona
Crystal L. Oaks, St. Charles, Virginia
Kerrilynn B. Oliver, Bristol, Virginia
Devin Page, Newport News, Virginia
Sharon C. Williams, Forest City, North Carolina
Stevie N. Phillips, Christiansburg, Virginia
Victoria Elizabeth Pietsch, Newport News, Virginia
Matthew Jacob Plucinski, Newport News, Virginia
Amanda Michelle Pruitt, Marion, Virginia
Steven Lyle Quackenbush, Max Meadows, Virginia
Latasha Shauntay Quick, Sanford, North Carolina
Crystal J. Ramos-McCall, Pembroke, Virginia
Libbie S. Reedy, Lynchburg, Virginia
Darin S. Riedlinger, Midlothian, Virginia
Summer Louise Rigney, Hillsville, Virginia
William R. Ritter, Dublin, Virginia
Bonnie L- R-Galvan, Fincastle, Virginia
Wully Karen Rojas, Woodbridge, Virginia
Tyler Rome, Sherwood, Oregon
Priscilla Melinda Sue Ruiz, Fontana, California
Benjamin Childress Scearce, Danville, Virginia
Kelsee Lynn Smith, Saltville, Virginia
Emily D. Smith, Buchanan, Virginia
Veronica S. Smith, Warsaw, Virginia
Donna M. Sneed, Richmond, Virginia
Sabrina Rose Spurlock, Hurley, Virginia
Rachael Whitney Stairs, Beaverdam, Virginia
Tracy Gail Morris Stephenson, Marion, Virginia
Lisa A. Stewart, King George, Virginia
Abby Rae Stiltner, Swords Creek, Virginia
Virginia S. Sutherland, Wytheville, Virginia
Kecia Lynnette Taliaferro, Newport News, Virginia
Sharonda Nasombi Monique Tate, Greer, South Carolina
Jonathan David Taylor, Bluefield, Virginia
Megan Daley Tennant, Avery County, North Carolina
Tyler Ray Timmer, La Mesa, California
Destiny S. Tolliver, Durham, North Carolina
Aline Kaori Uehara, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Michelle Lynn Vannoy, Marion, Virginia
Kahlin Villines, Durham, North Carolina
Jamiyla Kameela Walker, Roanoke, Virginia
Megan Nichole Webb, Bluefield, West Virginia
Jessica Lauren Webster, Ringgold, Virginia
Asia Wheeler, Brooklyn, New York
Terra Dawn White, Christiansburg, Virginia
Katie Elizabeth Wilkins, Woodbridge, Virginia
Melissa J. Williams. Dublin, Virginia
Jeremy Madison Williams, Christiansburg, Virginia
Andrew J. Wilson, Rancho Cucamongo, California.


Bluefield University

[email protected]276.326.4212

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Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

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Assistant Professor of Counseling

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Brandy Smith

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