Bluefield University in the News


by | Feb 8, 2010

Created by Ralph, who lives in Bluefield, Virginia, in memory of his wife, Jane, who passed away in 2003, the Patsel Scholarship will not only preserve the legacy of Jane Patsel, but also provide vital scholarship assistance to Bluefield College students for years to come.

“This is an endowed scholarship, which means it is designed to last forever,” said BC’s Ruth Blankenship, vice president for advancement. “It will protect Jane’s memory perpetually and provide scholarship awards to students indefinitely.”

Ralph attended Bluefield College from 1955 to 1957. “It was heaven!” he said about his experience as a student. “All who went here in the 1950s — I don’t know how to explain it — could never imagine going anywhere else. No school ever compared to Bluefield College.”

After his student days at BC, Ralph attended Baylor University in Texas and the University of North Carolina, before coming back to Bluefield College in 1961 to serve on staff in the Alumni Office. He worked his way up to Director of Alumni Relations and later Director of Admissions, before ending his career with BC as Director of Development.

Jane earned her degree from Bluefield College in teacher licensure in 1951. She later attended Concord University before coming back to BC to as a business professor in 1957.

“She had high standards for herself and for her students,” Ralph recalled about his wife’s teaching days at BC. “She demanded perfection, and the students gave it to her. She was a lady. She had an air of self-assurance, and she tried to instill that same confidence in her students.”

In addition to her classroom duties, Jane served as a faculty advisor for the BC Business Club and the Yearbook staff. Her career with the college lasted 18 years, but more importantly introduced her to Ralph while they both were on staff in 1961. They were married a year later by then President Charles Harman, and they lived on campus in married-student housing and on Faculty Row for 10 years.

“Our son, Neel, was never happier than when we lived on campus,” Ralph said. “It was like a hundred acre playground. It was such a community. Everybody was family.”

Ralph left Bluefield College in the early 1970s to teach at Southwest Virginia Community College, a position he held for 17 years before becoming the registrar at Bluefield State College. He retired from BSC in 2001, just two years before his wife’s passing in 2003.

When asked why he decided to create the scholarship for BC students, Ralph responded, “Because Jane loved Bluefield College every bit as much as I did. Bluefield College introduced us and set us on a path for life. It was a special place. She always wanted to do something like this, but we never did…until now.”

Preference for Patsel Scholarship awards will be given to BC juniors and seniors who are graduates of Graham High School. The idea, Ralph said, is that the scholarship awards will help meet the financial needs of local students, particularly since scholarships made it possible for him to attend Bluefield College.

“I know how important it is to receive scholarship assistance,” he said. “I hope this scholarship will make it easier for some students to attend college and in some small way honor Jane.”

Bluefield University

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Do I only apply once?

  • No. Students must apply each academic year for the fall semester and submit the necessary documents.

Do I have to take the classes specified in the Associate's Degree tracks as they are listed on the information sheet?

  • No. Students may take any of the courses that are offered in a given term.

Where do I find the textbook listing, and where do I purchase the books?

  • Log in to myBU, and under the "Student" tab, you will find a list of the textbooks required (if any) for each course. Students are responsible for purchasing their own textbooks.

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  • Our semesters are divided into two 8-week terms.

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  • Yes. Students can attend an orientation session that explains how to access courses, how to register for classes, and answers other questions.

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Does the student need to take the SAT or ACT in order to take Dual Enrollment classes?

  • No. If a student decides to study at BU full time, BU is currently test-optional for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle.

Are the classes live? Do students need to log in and participate at certain times?

  • Classes are offered online, so a student can log-on and study at their convenience and their own pace. Students have assignments due each week; you can complete your assignments at any point in time before the deadline.

Does an Early College student need to come to campus for anything?

  • No. However, we would love to have you visit our campus if you are interested in continuing with traditional on-campus study. Students who complete their associate's degree have the option to walk at our commencement ceremony.

Are Early College students able to receive Financial Aid?

  • No. However, Early College courses are very affordable compared to other options. The cost for an online Dual Enrollment course is $100 per credit hour.

How do transferring credits work?

  • Each College or University completes a transcript review in order to decide which courses transfer. Sticking to general education classes generally makes transferring credits simple. All Early College courses at Bluefield University are general education classes that should transfer to another accredited institution.

Is an Early College student considered, and treated, as a transfer student when they become a full-time college student if they have earned enough credits to be a Junior?

  • No. Since they have not graduated from high school, they are considered a first-time college student regardless of how many credits transfer. However, by transferring credits when they enroll as a full-time student, they will have to take fewer classes to receive their bachelor's degree, which shortens the length of time to earn the degree.

Can I speak to someone if I have more questions?

  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Admissions by email or you can call them at 276.326.4231


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