Bluefield University in the News


by | Nov 15, 2016

Bluefield College honored five of its most distinguished alumni during an Alumni Awards Dinner, October 22, as part of Homecoming 2016.

Among the graduates honored: Rev. Rodney “Rod” Hale (’60), who received the Primitivo Delgado Christian Service Award; Sheriff Brian Hieatt (’99), who was named Alumnus of the Year; Justin Hamm (’01), who was named Young Alumnus of the Year; Fred Phillips (’88), who was inducted into the BC Athletic Hall of Fame; and Rev. Jack Marcom (’62), who was inducted into the BC Hall of Distinguished Graduates.


Established in 2004, the Primitive Delgado Christian Service Award honors alumni, faculty and staff who live a life of service and who demonstrate BC’s core values in their daily living. The award is named in honor of former BC academic dean Primitivo Delgado, who lived a life committed to Christian service and ministry. This year’s recipient, Rev. Hale, attended Bluefield College from 1958 to 1960, earning an associate’s degree. He then received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond in 1962. Pursing his calling to the ministry, he attended Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, graduating with a master of divinity degree in 1965.


Rev. Hale then committed his entire career to professional ministry, including 30 years with the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) in Richmond. Prior to his service with the BGAV, he was a minister of music and youth at Cosby Memorial Church in Richmond, pastor of College Hill Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, and a deacon at Huguenot Road Church in Richmond. He received the Virginia Distinguished Christian Educator Award in 1996 and is listed in Outstanding Young Men in America and Who’s Who in Religion. Expressing gratitude for his years at Bluefield College and to be named the recipient of the this award, Rev. Hale said he was thankful to know Dr. Delgado personally during both of their times at Bluefield.


“It is an honor to receive this recognition,” said Rev. Hale. “I was privileged to be one of Dr. Delgado’s students.”


The Alumni of the Year award, established in 1985, recognizes Bluefield College graduates who have achieved outstanding accomplishments in their field. They must display significant leadership in their community and represent the values and mission of Bluefield College. As the Alumnus of the Year, Sheriff Hieatt holds many statewide honors and was on of 45 members of a statewide task force appointed by the governor of Virginia on School and Campus Safety. A graduate of Tazewell High School, Sheriff Hieatt earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bluefield College in 1999 before earning a master’s degree from Liberty University. Now the sheriff of Tazewell County in Virginia, he he serves as a school resource officer and an officer for Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE). In addition, he is a member of the Virginia Substance Abuse Services Council and the Virginia Sheriffs Association, where he is preparing an initiative for at risk youth in Tazewell County.


“Thank you to Bluefield College and the awards committee,” said Sheriff Hieatt, who also thanked God for his family and friends and their support throughout the years and for his college professors for being an inspiration to him. “This award really means a lot to me and my family. I truly believe the experience I had here and the education I got here helped me achieve a lot of goals in my life from chief of police to teaching college classes and being sheriff. I feel very lucky to have been able to get my education here and to have been able to have the career that I’ve had.”


The Distinguished Young Alumnus award is designed to recognize Bluefield College graduates who are 40 years of age or younger who have exhibited the values and mission of Bluefield College; achieved outstanding accomplishments in their community, business, state or nation; and displayed significant leadership in their community through service. This year’s recipient, Hamm, attended Bluefield College from 1997 to 2001, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management and information technology. After BC, he received a master’s degree in information systems from Marshall University and is now the president of Belt Tech, Inc. and HP Auto, LLC in Bluefield, West Virginia. In fact, for his entrepreneurship, The State Journal named Hamm a member of its 2016 class of “Generation Next: 40 Under 40,” a program designed to “highlight the incredible things professionals under age 40 are doing throughout the state of West Virginia.”


“In life’s short journey we are but a cumulative of all the impressions left by family, friends, educators and colleagues,” said Hamm. “And my education here at Bluefield College and graduate school is not just textbooks and technology, but it’s interaction with people, co-workers, customers, friends, and sharing experiences.”


Hamm is also a certified project management professional, a member of the Bluefield Rotary Club, and a board member of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce. In receiving his award, he said that Bluefield College succeeds in its mission by preparing its students to transform the world.


Phillips, the Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, played on four Bluefield College men’s basketball teams that played in the National Little College Athletic Association (NLCAA) National Tournament and compiled a 105-47 win-loss record from 1983 to 1987. He was also a member of NCLAA All-American team in 1988, which allowed him to play competitively in Russia, Norway and Sweden. His love for sports and basketball has continued after BC as he has been the recreation director for the Town of Richlands, Virginia, head coach for girls’ basketball at Richlands High School, and now head coach for boys’ basketball at Richlands. As a teacher, coach, and leader in the area, Phillips was named the Bluefield Daily Telegraph’s Coach of the Year in 2016.


“My time at Bluefield College wasn’t always the easiest, and my four years here seemed like it was forever, but I wouldn’t have traded it for a second,” said Phillips said. “Thank you Bluefield College for taking a chance on me. This recognition is beyond my wildest imagination.”


The 2016 inductee into the Distinguished Hall of Graduates, Rev. Marcom, is a retired minister who served more than 40 years as a pastor and 30 years as a military chaplain. He now serves as a chaplain for the THEOS ministry at Fredericksburg (VA) Baptist Church and is a member of the Bluefield College Board of Trustees and the school’s campaign planning committee. The winner of BC’s Primitivo Delgado Christian Service Award in 2007, Rev. Marcom is an outstanding citizen, exhibited through his participation on countless community and service boards and through his “countless hours working tirelessly as a trustee to further the mission of Bluefield College with originality and moral strength of character.”


Rev. Marcom attended Bluefield College from 1960 to 1962. After Bluefield, he went to Carson Newman College and to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also graduated from four army schools, including Command and General Staff College.


“I just owe so much to Bluefield College,” said Rev. Marcom. “The kind of relationships you get here with professors and fellow students just has molded me into who I am, and I will never forget that. Thank you for this award. It will be treasured, to say the least.”

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