Bluefield University in the News


by | Dec 7, 2015

A host of Bluefield College faculty and staff were involved in a variety of professional distinctions and transitions during the fall of 2015.

Susan Allen, an instructor of music, retired from the Music Department after 15 years of service. Allen taught piano and directed the school’s Praise Singers, a contemporary Christian auditioned vocal ensemble and band. Under Allen’s guidance, Praise Singers toured regularly throughout Virginia and the region. In fact, the group performed in concert at Carnegie Hall in New York City and participated in international music mission trips to Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic.


Trent Argo, vice president for enrollment management, took on added duties as VP for student services. Argo joined the BC staff in 2011 after serving six years as dean of enrollment management at Oklahoma Baptist University, 13 years as director of admissions at Campbellsville (KY) University, and additional time as an admissions consultant for various colleges and universities. Last fall, he led the college to its highest enrollment since 1998 and its second highest student population in history.


Drew Bailey joined the Bluefield College staff full time as head coach for cross country and director of the Rams Booster Club. After serving BC part time as a pitching coach for baseball, a position he will maintain, Bailey will look to develop the young cross country program, which had its first-ever national qualifier in Kendall Haynes this past fall, and grow the Booster Club, which is the fundraising arm for athletic scholarships, capital improvements and programs.


Dr. Stephen Bird joined the BC faculty as a professor of communication. Before BC, he taught at Southern Wesleyan University, Radford University, Appalachian State University, and Lenoir-Rhyne College, and for five years served as academic director of the National Journalism Center in Washington, DC. In 2013, he began his own Institute for 21st Century Journalism. He has freelanced for the Associated Press, the Boston Herald, the Roanoke Times, the Washington Times, and Virginia Living.


Nikki Byrd joined the BC family as an admissions counselor for online degree students. She has more than six years of experience in higher education, including admissions, advising, and teaching. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in human services.


Ruth Blankenship, vice president for advancement, took on the added duties of VP for finance and administration. After beginning her professional career in accounting, Blankenship joined the BC staff in 2000 as director of corporate and foundation relations and the Annual Fund. She was promoted in 2005 to coordinator of the Advancement Office and then named associate vice president for advancement in 2007, before becoming vice president for advancement in 2009.


Chris Catron joined the BC family as director of development. Before BC, Catron worked 10 years in financial services. Outside of his work, he is president of the Bluefield Lion’s Club, past president of the Sales Executive Club, and co-chair of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce’s “Lemonade Days.”


Elizabeth Decker, a 2015 graduate of Bluefield College, joined the BC staff as an admissions counselor for traditional students. As a student, she was a member of the school’s music ensembles, Variations, Praise Singers, and Concert Band. She was also vice president of Alpha Delta sorority and an active member of Baptist Collegiate Ministries.


Jason Everson joined the BC team as an assistant coach for football, coaching primarily defensive linebackers. A graduate of Averett University, Everson’s coaching experience includes an internship at his alma mater as an assistant coach and four years as an assistant coach at the high school level.


Dr. Kim Farmer, professor and chair of the Department of Criminal Justice, took on the added responsibilities of Title IX coordinator, where she will ensure the college’s compliance with federal regulations that protect students against sexual discrimination in college programs, activities, athletics, admissions, financial aid, services, counseling, discipline, class assignment, grading, housing, and employment. Dr. Farmer has been with BC for 25 years.


Dr. Marshall Flowers joined the BC family in July 2015 as the new vice president for academic affairs and was soon after given the added responsibilities of overseeing athletics. Dr. Flowers holds more than 37 years of experience in higher education, including six years as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Montreat College, two years as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bethany University, one year as senior vice president for institutional research and 17 years as senior vice president for academic affairs at Northwest University, one year as director of development and five years as dean of students at Vanguard University, and five years as dean of students at North Central University.


Buddy Gallemore came to BC to serve as head coach for men’s and women’s volleyball after most recently leading the women’s volleyball program and serving as an assistant coach for softball at Midway College. Before that, Gallemore spent 15 years as a physical education and health instructor, 14 years as a head coach for softball, and eight years as a coach for volleyball at the high school level.


Registrar Josh Grubb was promoted to director of alumni relations. Grubb joined the BC staff as registrar in 2014 and soon after took on the added responsibilities of coordinator of BC Central. A 2007 graduate of Bluefield College, he had served the past five years as director of student finance and supervisor of the Registrar’s Office at Everest College.


Dr. Abigail Heiniger joined the BC faculty as an assistant professor of English after teaching at Lawrence Technological University, Wayne State University, and the University of Louisville. Outside of her teaching, Dr. Heiniger is a writer of such works as the book Jane Eyre at Home and Abroad: Constructions and Deconstructions of National Identity and numerous articles. She has a Ph.D. in English literature, master’s degrees in English literature and humanities, literature and art history, and a bachelor’s degree in Honors English and humanities.


Longtime BC staffer Mark Hipes, director of alumni relations, left BC for another opportunity in higher education. A 2003 graduate of Bluefield College, Hipes joined the BC staff in 2006 as an admissions counselor and worked his way up to director of traditional admissions in 2010. He became director of alumni relations in 2013, not long after earning the college’s Distinguished Staff Award.


Alex Holliday joined the BC staff as an admissions counselor for online degree programs. Before Bluefield, he worked in a wide range of business disciplines, including sales and management positions. He holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration.


Andrew Lawrence, director of online programs, was promoted to associate vice president for online and distance education. Lawrence joined BC in 2012 as an online course maintenance specialist and instructor of information technology. He was promoted to director of online programs in 2014, before becoming an associate VP. In his new position, he will lead collaborative efforts related to marketing and recruitment strategies for the school’s online programs.


Jon Leftwich joined the BC staff as a campus safety officer. Leftwich studied criminal justice at Bluefield College and graduated in 2012.


Eric Lester joined the BC family as a support and systems analyst for Information Systems and Technology. Before BC, he provided technical support for WeCan, a foster care program in Princeton, West Virginia. Lester has a bachelor’s degree from Concord University.


Eric Mason came on staff to serve as an administrative assistant for the Office of Academic Affairs after working as a front desk agent for Hampton Inn and Suites, an interpreter for Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, and coordinator of the Study Abroad Program at Longwood University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.


Dr. Tara Matthews, instructor of human services, earned a Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision from Capella University. In her eighth year of teaching at Bluefield College, Dr. Matthews also holds a bachelor’s degree in human services counseling and a master’s degree in professional counseling. A licensed professional counselor who works with people struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, goal attainment, gender issues, relationships and self-esteem, she has facilitated therapeutic groups for more than 10 years.


Sherelle Morgan joined the BC family as director of online admissions where she will be responsible for the recruitment and admissions process of online students. Her professional background consists of nearly two decades of human resources leadership experience in the areas of training, recruiting, diversity and inclusion, and talent management. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and certifications in 360 Degree Feedback Coaching and Diversity Awareness Training.


Shelley Newton joined the BC family as head coach for women’s softball after serving as an assistant coach for softball one year at Alderson-Broaddus University and six years at the University of Virginia at Wise. Newton was actually a four-time All-Conference player for UVA-Wise.


Deanna Odom joined the BC staff full time as division manager for Athletics after working part time as an assistant coach for Lady Rams basketball. Before BC, Odom was an administrative assistant for women’s basketball at East Tennessee State University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Tennessee, where she also worked as an administrative assistant for athletics.


Rachel Price joined the BC family as an administrative assistant for the School of Nursing. A 2011 graduate of Bluefield College, Price worked two semesters prior as an assistant teacher for BC biology labs. Her work experience also includes time as a receptionist at a local doctor’s office. While a student at BC, she was the winner of the school’s Biology Award and a frequent member of the President’s List.


Meg Quinn joined the BC family as director of community service and the New Opportunity School for Women (NOSW), a month-long residential program designed to provide hope for the future and skills for success to disadvantaged women of Appalachia. In fact, Meg graduated from the NOSW and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Lees-McRae College. She is the first NOSW graduate to become a director of the program.


Bob Redd came to BC to serve as sports information director after more than three decades as a journalist, including the last 15 years as a sports reporter. A journalism graduate of West Virginia University, Redd has served as an award-winning sports writer and editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph and sports director for Adventure Radio Group. His experience also includes time as a broadcaster for high school football and basketball, work with the Federal News Service in Washington, and a stint as press assistant for United States Congressman Nick Rahall.


Evan Sherman, an admissions counselor for traditional students, was promoted to director of traditional admissions. Sherman joined the BC family as an admissions counselor in 2014 after working as a claims representative in insurance. A 2011 graduate of Bluefield College, he was a resident hall director and a member of the men’s varsity tennis team, Beta Chi Delta fraternity and Phi Beta Lambda business society while a student at BC.


Kelley St. Clair, controller, was promoted to director of finance and administration. A certified public accountant, St. Clair joined the BC staff in the fall of 2013 after serving in various financial roles in the public sector since 1998.


Brianna Stephens joined the BC staff as an admissions counselor for online degree programs Counselor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from Bowling Green State University where she also worked in admissions, recruitment, and leadership. A member of Zeta Phi Beta sorority, she will work out of BC’s Richmond, Virginia, and recruit students in Greater Richmond, Northern Virginia, and Hampton Roads.


Amy Walker came to BC to serve as an admissions counselor for traditional students after working for a non-profit organization promoting mental and spiritual wellness in teens. Walker has also served as a volunteer youth and young adult ministry leader. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Concord University.


Laura White retired from her position as vice president for finance and administration. She served the college for two years as its chief financial officer, maintaining the financial and administrative structures of the school. Before BC, White was finance director for Central Presbyterian Church in Bristol, Virginia, and in a similar role for People Incorporated of Virginia in Abingdon. She spent her early career in the U.S. Army in military intelligence and Special Forces.


Brenda Workman, an admissions counselor for online degree programs, was promoted to assistant director of the school’s Academic Center for Excellence. She first joined the BC family in 2007 as coordinator of the Fine Arts Community School. She has also served the college as a homeschool liaison for Admissions and an administrative assistant for Admissions.


Dr. Maria Zalduondo, associate professor of languages and director of global education, was one of only 15 college professors worldwide to be selected for a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Seminar in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There, she studied Latin American theatre and how history, politics and psycho-dynamics inform Argentine plays, while attending 13 productions written by some of the most revered playwrights in Argentina. In addition, Dr. Zalduondo received a $6,000 Faculty Fellowship award from the Appalachian College Association (ACA) to research the golden age of journals, edited and produced by Mexican women, in particular La Siempreviva. She will present her findings at the ACA Summit in the summer of 2016.


Sharon Ziegler, an instructor of music, retired from the Music Department after eight years of service. Ziegler taught piano and voice and was also a longtime instructor in BC’s Fine Arts Community School.









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