BLUEFIELD COLLEGE VICE PRESIDENT RUTH BLANKENSHIP (RIGHT) RECOGNIZES OUTGOING ALUMNI DIRECTOR MARK HIPES DURING A FAREWELL RECEPTION FOR THE LONGTIME BC STAFFER
OUTGOING ALUMNI DIRECTOR MARK HIPES (LEFT) WITH DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS DR. GARRY JONES.
OUTGOING ALUMNI DIRECTOR MARK HIPES SPEAKS DURING A TRIBUTE CEREMONY FOR THE 1985 MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM.
Hipes joined the BC staff in 2006 as an admissions counselor, not long after graduating from the school in 2003. As a recruiter of traditional students, he eventually worked his way up to director of traditional admissions.
“Mark really poured his heart and soul into Bluefield College,” said vice president for enrollment management Trent Argo. “He is one of the most positive and pleasant people I have ever met in my higher education career. He played a key role in my deciding to come to Bluefield. He is one of the few people I know who truly does everything as unto the Lord. He is a great man and friend, and we will miss his daily presence.”
Hipes served in admissions during, arguably, one of the most significant times of transition and turmoil in higher education. Despite the challenges, as director of admissions in the fall of 2010 he led the school to its largest enrollment of traditional students since 2004 and its second largest incoming class in school history.
“I was blessed to have learned from admissions directors before me, like Tim Havens, George Campbell, Dr. Robert Shippey and Trent Argo, and to have served under visionary presidents, like Dr. Charles Warren and Dr. David Olive,” said Hipes. “At Bluefield, everyone is an admissions officer. I was just the one who was fortunate to have the title after my name.”
For his leadership in admissions, his “enthusiasm for Bluefield College,” and his “passion for helping others,” Hipes earned BC’s Distinguished Staff Award before shifting his focus from prospective students to former students in 2013 as director of alumni relations.
During his two years in this position, Hipes launched a variety of new alumni giving initiatives, including BC Giving Day and the Bluefield College-Bluefield State College Alumni Challenge. He also spearheaded the most fruitful phonathon in school history and implemented new data-driven strategies in alumni fundraising.
“My greatest accomplishment was meeting our alumni and helping them reconnect with their alma mater,” said Hipes. “I’m proud to have my name associated with those that have served our alumni — a list that includes names like Doc Sutherland, Greg Sink, Teresa Stanley, Josh Cline and Josh Grubb.”
A native of Eagle Rock, Virginia, and a graduate of James River High School and Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, Hipes studied Christian studies and psychology as a student at Bluefield College from 1999 to 2003. He said professors like Dr. Eddie Stepp, Dr. Ken Lyle and Dr. Tim Crawford “poured into (his) life” said “cared about (his) purpose and calling.”
“They taught me how to organize my thoughts, to think critically and to communicate as if I were listening,” said Hipes.
Bluefield College, he added, also afforded him the opportunity “to lead by serving.” In response, he served as president of the Baptist Student Union, took part in missions abroad, and was a member of Phi Mu Delta fraternity, Greek Council, Resident Hall Council, and the Student Government Association. As a result, he earned a BC Christian Service Award.
Hipes also played baseball for the Rams for one year and served as a Student Ambassador. In addition, he was crowned Prince and Lord on the Spring Court and was a candidate for Homecoming King.
Now the director of athletic development for Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, Hipes said he will miss the people of Bluefield College — “the faculty and staff, the alumni, the students, the Virginia Baptist family, and those prospective students that I met on the road or who traveled to our campus.” And though he may not be a member of the staff, he said he will always be a part of the BC family.
“Bluefield is my alma mater,” said Hipes. “This institution was founded to impact the Kingdom through the pursuit of truth and knowledge, and I care deeply about that mission, and I care deeply about Bluefield College.”