Bluefield University in the News

MASSEY BIDS FAREWELL TO BC AFTER 27 YEARS

by | Jan 27, 2017

When the 2015-2016 academic year began at Bluefield College, it did so without a vital “beacon of academic excellence.” When faculty and staff returned to campus, they did so in the absence of “a beloved friend,” who “inspired [them] to be a better teacher.” And when students walked back in the classroom, they did so without the professor most devoted to their academic success, Dr. Wayne Massey, who retired from BC after 27 years of service.

Dr. Wayne Massey retires after 27 years.

 

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Dr. Massey came to Bluefield College first as a student in 1957. He studied business administration, while serving as a member of Future Business Leaders of America and a sports reporter for the student newspaper.

“My preparation in business courses was quite good and prepared me well for my further studies at Virginia Tech,” said Dr. Massey. “Mostly, however, long-term, even life-long friendships were formed right here at BC, and the foundation for Christian living was made firm through Bluefield College, where Christ is pre-eminent.”

After earning an associate’s degree from BC in 1959 and a bachelor’s degree in business from Virginia Tech, Dr. Massey decided to study English. He earned a master’s degree in English from Western Carolina University and a Ph.D. in English from Ball State University, and the rest, as they say, is history as Dr. Massey embarked upon an impressive and influential calling to teach that lasted 54 years.

“Teaching is all about helping others learn,” said Dr. Massey about the profession he dedicated more than half a century to. “When I served wisely and willingly, the glory went to God, and for this I am so grateful. In all things, to Him be the glory.”

He taught first at Tidewater Academy in Virginia and Albemarle Academy in North Carolina, where he also coached basketball and baseball. Later, he spent 12 years at Woodlawn Academy, a private school in Chatham, Virginia, where he also served as headmaster. From there, he spent three years teaching English at Danville, Martinsville and Lynchburg community colleges in Virginia, before returning to his alma mater in 1988.

“Bluefield College was the place where my heart belonged,” said Dr. Massey about coming back to BC to teach, “and when I was allowed to return in 1988, I realized that I had come full circle. God brought me to the place where I most needed to be when He brought me to Bluefield and to the profession where I could best serve Him.”

During his 27 years on faculty at Bluefield, Dr. Massey served as an assistant professor, then associate professor, and finally professor of English. Outside of the classroom, he was director of International Programs and faculty advisor for the student newspaper, The Rampage. During his time at Bluefield College, Dr. Massey also published two books: Understanding Grammar and Christian Worldview.

“More than anything, I took great pride in students’ successes, especially seeing their minds expand over the four-year academic experience,” said Dr. Massey. “My personal goal was always to develop my students to a place beyond my own when I was the same age and at the same level of learning.”

In addition to expanding students’ minds and watching “their ever-growing mental and spiritual maturity,” Dr. Massey said he enjoyed the “personal closeness” that Bluefield College offered its employees and the “fulfilling, ongoing” friendships he developed.

“This school has meant everything to me,” said Dr. Massey. “From those earliest days as a student to the present, memories flood my mind. It’s a love story that is still unfolding. I love the people here. I have seen their dedication, their work ethic, and their commitment to teaching and to our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Not long after his retirement at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, the BC Board of Trustees honored Dr. Massey with a formal resolution and the distinction of professor emeritus, recognizing him as “a model to the Bluefield College community for years to come.” The Board spoke of his keen understanding of the value of personal attention to students and the “innumerable hours” he spent with them in “one-on-one conversations.” They also acknowledged the ways in which Dr. Massey “modeled Christian behavior through many unsung acts of kindness” and “unashamedly shared the Word at the college and in the community.”

“Dr. Massey demonstrated to his students by example how a reverence for the wonder of language is the foundation for a fruitful life in the classroom and beyond,” said Dr. Rob Merritt, who served alongside Dr. Massey on faculty for 25 years. “He was a driving force as a scholar and a professor of language and literature in the Department of English.”

As far as life after Bluefield College is concerned, Dr. Massey said he is “looking into ways to meet God’s calling.” He plans to tutor, volunteer at BC, work with homeschoolers, get involved in Christian ministries, help with Hospice, and spend time with grandchildren.

“The only prayer I know to utter to such a loving and faithful God is to allow me to know His will for how I might serve Him throughout the remainder of the time He grants,” said Dr. Massey. “Go wherever, do whatever, be whatever, as He decrees.”

ADDITIONAL QUOTES ABOUT PROFESSOR EMERITUS WAYNE MASSEY

“Wayne is my beloved friend,” said Dr. Bob Boozer, a professor of psychology. “I remember my first year here when he embraced me and encouraged me. I am grateful for his friendship, his support, and the ways in which he models humility and generosity.”

“From the very first day I worked with Wayne, he has challenged me to become a better professor,” said Dr. Rob Merritt, who has served alongside Dr. Massey on faculty at BC for 25 years. “His attitude of always doing more than is expected has been inspirational to me.”

“Wayne is one of the reasons I came to Bluefield College,” said Dr. Lewis Buterakos, who was a graduate assistant and instructor of math at Virginia Tech when Dr. Massey inquired about his interest in joining the BC family. “He took me and my family under his arm from the very first day we came to Bluefield. We are really gong to miss him here.”

“His legacy at Bluefield will be well known considering there are many accolades in his honor,” said BC student Denzel Cudjoe. “His love for the English language goes far beyond teaching. He has spent many years at Bluefield College being a mentor to students.”

“Dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate are some of the words I would use to describe Dr. Massey,” said Irene Rieger, assistant professor of English. “He is an excellent mentor, and I really admire how his heart is for the students.”

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