Members of the Bluefield College Board of Trustees gathered for their annual fall meetings in October, and during the two-day session the trustees approved two new academic programs, appointed new officers, elected new members, and heard reports on the state of the college.
In the wake of the creation of two new master’s degrees just months ago, the Board approved two new academic minors for the school in cybersecurity and worship leadership. With approval from the Board in the spring of 2017, the college introduced its first cybersecurity courses this past fall as a concentration under the business administration degree. Now that the curriculum has been approved as a minor, the hope is to eventually grow the program into an academic major.
The worship leadership minor was designed for students who sense a call to use their musical gifts to lead worship in a formal setting. The program will provide training in music and ministry and pastoral skills in an effort to prepare students to lead worship for the church.
During the fall session, the trustees also elected Todd Asbury as vice chair of the Board and re-elected Chris Lawson as secretary of the Board. Asbury, a 1993 BC graduate and executive vice president and chief financial officer for New Peoples Bank in Honaker, Virginia, joined the Board in 2015. Lawson, a 2001 BC grad and executive pastor of Reynolda Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has served as trustee since 2013. Gordon Grimes, a 1994 BC graduate and financial advisor and senior vice president for SunTrust Private Wealth Management in Raleigh, North Carolina, remains in place as chair of the Board. He has served as a trustee since 2012.
In addition, the Board elected a new member to its group – Joe Johnson of Abingdon, Virginia, a retired attorney and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who has been a longtime advocate for higher education in southwest Virginia – and reelected longtime member Rev. Jack Marcom to a new term of office. A 1962 BC alumnus, Rev. Marcom last served as a trustee from 2003 to 2012 during which time he was secretary of the Board and a member of the Student Services and Enrollment Management committees.
Outgoing trustees Charlotte Sacre and Ken Russell were recognized for their service to the Board. Sacre is a certified corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant from Macon, Georgia, and formerly of Bramwell, West Virginia. In addition to her contributions to the Board, she served 17 years as an associate for Thompson and Litton. A former chair of the Board, Russell became a trustee in 2010. An attorney from Abingdon, Virginia, he is the chief executive officer of Cottages Group, an organization of real estate developers and contractors.
During the fall meetings, President David Olive also provided his biannual institutional update for the Board. Dr. Olive spoke about recent accomplishments on campus, including record enrollment for new traditional students, the development of two new master’s degree programs in business administration and biomedical sciences, and two new bequests in the amount of $125,000 for football facility improvements.
The president also shared progress on a number of key administrative projects, including: 1) fundraising for a proposed student activities and wellness center, 2) the development of recreational space on land across College Drive on the south side of campus, 3) efforts to improve internal communication, transparency and collaboration, and 4) the development of a policy that supports freedom of speech and furthers the college’s mission and core values.
In addition, Dr. Olive communicated leadership goals for the coming year, including efforts to overhaul online programs, strategies to adjust the school’s financial aid matrix, and plans to begin construction on the expansion of the Science Center. In closing, Dr. Olive shared a video of the baptism of a BC football player and spoke about the evidence of student spiritual growth on campus.
“We are in a very good place,” said faculty president Rebecca McCoy-Reese, who also shared a report to the Board on behalf of the faculty, “and we are all well aware of how blessed we are to be here.”
McCoy-Reese also passed along concerns from her fellow colleagues, specifically in the areas of internal communication, faculty personnel and academic resources, while Student Government Association president Jacob Key shared his fellow students’ pleasure with the addition of new student clubs, improvements to the Academic Center for Excellence, increasing engagement in student activities, and the installation of new classroom technology.