BLUEFIELD, VA – To honor the life and service of the late Mrs. Margaret Newcomb Leonard, the Margaret Newcomb Leonard Excellence in Teaching Award has been created at Bluefield University. Mrs. Leonard was a dedicated educator who was keenly aware of the great power and responsibility a teacher held in the success of students.
“Since our founding, we have prided ourselves on the close and intentional relationships students build with individual faculty and members of staff,” said Joshua Cline, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Marketing. “Margaret understood this as a supporter and later trustee. Her dedication to ensuring it remained an enduring quality of Bluefield University is why it is so fitting this award bears her name.”
Candidates for the award will be nominated by Bluefield University students. These nominations will be collected by the University’s Provost. Five finalists will be selected from the nominations by the President and Provost and presented to the faculty senate for a vote. The selected recipient will be honored with the title and a cash prize near the end of the academic year. Recipients will be listed on a plaque within the Academic Affairs offices.
This endowed award was established by her loving husband, Dr. Robert “Bob” Leonard. Mrs. Leonard was a 1955 graduate of Bluefield University, then Bluefield College functioning as a junior college. She then attended and graduated from Radford University (formerly Radford College). From the beginning of her career as an educator, she dedicated her life to education, citizenship, and public service. She actively taught American history and English throughout her career. Mrs. Leonard was an active member of her community and actively volunteered to register thousands of hours in hospitals, museums, historical societies, civic groups, and assisting religious organizations. She was a dedicated and leading member of the institution’s Board of Trustees. During her tenure, she served an integral role as a member of the Presidential Search Committee that would bring Dr. David W. Olive to the institution.
Mrs. Leonard married the love of her life, and together they raised their family. Dr. Leonard served as a professor of mechanical engineering at Penn State, Purdue, and Virginia Tech. While she lived in many college towns over the course of her life, one held a particular place in her heart. She was quoted saying that being on the campus of Bluefield University allowed her to “recharge her batteries, feed her spirit, and fuel her faith” in an atmosphere of peace, fellowship, and inspiration.