Bluefield University in the News


by | Nov 10, 2015

Bluefield College honored three of its most distinguished graduates and one of its most faithful supporters during an Alumni Awards Dinner, October 24, as part of Homecoming 2015.

Among the graduates honored: Dr. Tim Sharp (’74), who was inducted into the BC Hall of Distinguished Graduates; Dr. Jennifer Jones Powell (’93), who was named Alumna of the Year; and Dr. Wayne Massey (’59), who received the Primitivo Delgado Christian Service Award. Longtime BC friend Steve Bickford was also recognized during the Homecoming Alumni Awards Dinner with an Honorary Alumnus award.


Considered the college’s highest honor for alumni, the Hall of Distinguished Graduates is reserved for former students who have achieved “outstanding accomplishments in their profession or career,” displayed “significant leadership in their community,” and “represented well the values and mission of Bluefield College.” As a 2015 inductee into the Hall of Distinguished Graduates, Dr. Sharp spoke of the mission of the college and the purpose of alumni: “to spend our lives living up to the values of the institution.”


“It is an honor to be inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Graduates from an institution that means so much to all of us,” said Dr. Sharp. “To receive this award makes me feel very satisfied, if it says that I have lived up to the values of the mission of Bluefield College.”


After completing his associate’s degree at BC, Dr. Sharp earned a bachelor’s degree in music at Belmont University and a master’s degree and doctoral degree from the School of Church Music at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. In addition, he completed post-doctoral studies at the Aspen Music School, the NEH Medieval Studies Program at Harvard University, and at Cambridge University, where he is a Clare Hall Life Fellow.


Today, Dr. Sharp is the executive director of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), the preeminent association for choral conductors. The ACDA represents more than 22,000 choral directors and more than one million singers across the United States. As the head of the ACDA, Dr. Sharp represents the United States to the International Federation for Choral Music. Before the ACDA, Dr. Sharp was dean of the College of Fine Arts at Rhodes College. Prior to Rhodes, he was director of choral activities at Belmont University.


The Alumna of the Year Award is designed to recognize alumni who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in their profession, displayed significant leadership in the community, and represented well the values and mission of Bluefield College. As the 2015 Alumna of the Year, Dr. Powell worked as a kindergarten teacher assistant after completing her teacher education studies at Bluefield College. Later, she became a third and fourth grade teacher before earning a master’s degree and a doctorate in reading education from the University of Virginia. While earning her doctorate, she taught teacher education students at the University of Georgia, and in 2003 she joined the faculty at Radford University, where she still teaches literacy education to both pre-service teachers and practicing teachers who are working on their graduate degrees.


Now entering her 13th year at RU, Dr. Powell just recently received a Governor’s Outstanding Faculty Award, sponsored by the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia and presented by Governor Terry McAuliffe. Considered the Commonwealth’s most prestigious honor for college professors, the award recognizes faculty members for excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration, and public service. In accepting her Alumna of the Year award, Dr. Powell spoke about the friendships, the faith, and the love for learning she acquired at Bluefield College.


“I have so many happy memories here,” she said. “The faculty at Bluefield College inspired me, motivated me, but most importantly, believed in me. It is such a blessing and honor to receive this award. I give Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, the honor and glory.”


Established in 2004, the Primitivo Delgado Christian Service Award is designed to recognize former students, faculty or staff who exhibit continual service and compassion in ministry. The award is named in honor of former BC academic dean Primitivo Delgado, who lived a life committed to Christian service and ministry. In accepting the Delgado Christian Service Award, Dr. Massey spoke of the man for whom the award is named.


“He gave me great insight and wisdom. That was Dr. Delgado,” said Dr. Massey. “He represented all the positive attributes a college professor should have. I am honored to receive this award in his name.”


In addition to being a graduate of Bluefield College, Dr. Massey taught English at BC for 27 years before retiring at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. While teaching, he also served as director of International Programs, and upon his retirement was named Professor Emeritus. Before BC, he taught English and business and coached basketball and baseball at Tidewater Academy in Virginia and Albemarle Academy in North Carolina. He also served 12 years as headmaster and administrator of Woodlawn Academy in Virginia, before serving as a professor at three Virginia community colleges. His entire teaching career spanned 54 years.


After earning an associate’s degree from Bluefield College, Dr. Massey earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Virginia Tech, a master’s degree in English from Western Carolina University, and a doctorate in English from Ball State University. He has published two books: Understanding Grammar and Christian Worldview.


Bickford, a loyal BC friend and supporter, was also recognized with an Honorary Alumnus award, designed to honor individuals who are not alumni, but who still have greatly impacted the school. A founding member of Bluefield College’s new Advisory Council, Bickford is co-creator, along with his wife, alumna Peggy Emert Bickford (’71), of two endowed scholarships designed to benefit BC students for perpetuity.


A native of Buckingham County, Virginia, Bickford played multiple sports in high school before earning a scholarship to play baseball at Old Dominion University. After college, he worked 33 years for Virginia Power before retiring. Through the years, he has continued to participate in and support team and individual sporting activities, including the establishment of the scholarship funds at BC that provides student-athletes the opportunity to “enhance their skills and abilities for success in life through faith, education and participation in sports.”


“Peggy is the reason I am receiving this honor,” said Bickford about his wife and the BC award, “because of her love for Bluefield College. She is the greatest advocate for this school. She’s my love, and whatever she loves, I love.”

View more photos from the Alumni Awards Dinner.


Read more coverage of Homecoming 2015.










View more photos from the Alumni Awards Dinner.
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