Wesleyan Presents Prestigious Awards at Annual Founders Day Event
Rocky Mount, N.C.—North Carolina Wesleyan College celebrated its 60th year with its annual Founders Day ceremony and awards presentation in Minges Auditorium of the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts on October 20.
The event opened with Reverend Timothy J. Russell, Assistant to the Bishop/Director of Ministerial Relations of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, presenting a Resolution of Thanksgiving to North Carolina Wesleyan College and affirming the historic and vital relationship with the NC Conference and the inaugural teachings of its founder, John Wesley, for which the College is named. An excerpt of the resolution states:
“The United Methodist Church gives thanks for Dr. Clark’s visionary leadership, gives thanks for the diligent efforts of administration, faculty and staff to focus the school on its faith-based roots, celebrates the college’s recent progress and vitality, and reaffirms our connection and support of North Carolina Wesleyan College. “
Guest speaker for the event was Bishop Paul L. Leeland, Resident Bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church in Charlotte. Bishop Leeland is a 1971 graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan College, Duke Divinity School, and North Carolina State University.
Following the convocation address, Dr. Daniel Crocker (trumpet) and Mr. Tony Sawyer, NCWC Director of Bands (Vibraphones) offered an outstanding performance of “What a Wonderful World.”
The College presented its prestigious Sydney Sullivan Algernon Award to Dr. Daniel Crocker and Mrs. Brenda Crocker. The award honors the excellence in character, leadership, community service, and spiritual values of Algernon Sidney Sullivan, a lawyer, scholar, and orator prominent in New York City social and civic activities between 1857 and 1888. Dr. Crocker and Mrs. Brenda Crocker have been very involved with Wesleyan College for many years with Dr. Crocker serving on the Board of Trustees since 1997, and he continues to serve as Vice Chairman.
For the second musical selection, Wesleyan’s awe-inspiring gospel choir, Voices of Triumph, provided a moving performance of “Trust Me”.
Wesleyan’s Distinguished Staff Award went to Joni Gardner, Director of Admissions. Gardner joined the College in 2007 and has served in various positions within the Admissions and Financial Aid Departments before her current role as director.
The Wesleyan Singers delivered an inspirational performance of “Gift of Love”.
Special recognition was given to Mr. Dong Bum Jin and his wife, Jeong, who have shared their commitment to education with the students of Wesleyan through the establishment of the Ronald Stewart Scholarship and with the donation of the Rocky Mount Inn to the College. Due to the extraordinary generosity and support of Wesleyan, Centura residence hall is being renamed Dong Jin Hall.
The College awarded two honorary degrees during the ceremony. Dr. Leeland received a Doctor of Letters in Religious Studies and Mr. Jin received a Doctor in Humanities.
Rocky Mount, N.C. – Since 1999, N.C. Wesleyan College has honored 64 former athletes, administrators, and coaches by enshrining them in its Hall of Fame. These individuals have created a higher standard for Bishop athletics and were selected based on their outstanding accomplishments. This year’s class meets these same standards and will comprise the 18th group of honorees. The North Carolina Wesleyan Department of Athletics is pleased to announce that the 1999 National Champion Baseball Team, along with veteran coaches Charlie Long and Ernie Jones, have been chosen to comprise its 2016 Hall of Fame class.
The 1999 Battling Bishop Baseball Team secured the program’s second Division III National Championship with a thrilling 1-0 win over St. Thomas on June 1, 1999 in Salem, Virginia. The victory remains the only 1-0 championship win in the history of Division III baseball.
Making their 11th overall and 3rd straight World Series appearance, the Bishops put together the most successful NCAA tournament run in school history by winning eight straight games to clinch the title. NCWC opened with wins over Brandeis and Cal-Lutheran, while game three saw NCWC face off against St. Thomas for a chance to play for the title.
St. Thomas jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but Wesleyan’s bats exploded in the bottom of the fifth with six hits in a row to cut the lead to 5-4. Closer Buddy Hernandez entered the game in the bottom of the seventh with runners on second and third with no outs. Hernandez forced a short popup to center, and after an intentional walk to load the bases, he reached back to strike out the next two batters.
The momentum carried over as Jeremy Stewart homered in the bottom of the seventh to complete the comeback. The game remained tied at 5-5 until the bottom of the tenth when Stewart singled and moved to second on a David Capobianco sac-bunt. Barry Blake was intentionally walked to set the stage for Nick Buonocore, whose RBI-single to right scored Stewart and advanced NCWC to the title game.
Wesleyan would again meet St. Thomas the championship. The Bishops scored what turned out to be the lone run of the game in the top of the first. Scott Robeson’s leadoff single was followed by an Andy Jones sac-bunt, and Stewart promptly drove him home with a single up the middle. In an outstanding performance, hurler Sean Fleming made the lone run hold up by allowing just four hits.
In the bottom of the ninth with Hernandez on the mound, St. Thomas loaded the bases with one out. Hernandez proceeded to throw the biggest pitch of his career… a sharp curve that was grounded to Stewart, who started the 5-4-3 double play that ended the game and gave North Carolina Wesleyan its second National Championship and a remarkable 42-9 overall record. The Bishops had previously captured the crown in 1989, with the ’89 team garnering Hall of Fame induction in 2006. With national titles earned exactly ten years apart, it is now fitting that the ’99 team’s induction follows suit a decade later. The entire 1999 North Carolina Wesleyan Battling Bishop baseball roster follows:
David Capobianco Ryan Cramer Jim Faraci Russ Fink Sean Fleming
Buddy Hernandez Chris Johnson Daniel Johnson Andy Jones Steve Kadlick
Jon Markle Jason Maurer Andrew McFarland Kevin McNeil James Pitney
Jon Rardin Scott Robeson Dan Salay Brett Schultz Jayson Sigley
Jed Snead Jeremy Stewart Carl Wheeless Mike Wilchinski Taylor Williams
Brian Woolston Tim Wright Joel Yednock Head Coach Charlie Long Assistant Coach Ernie Jones Assistant Coach Jerry Edwards
Wesleyan’s second 2016 inductee is the head coach of its storied 1999 team, Charlie Long, who recently completed his 25th year with the N.C. Wesleyan Department of Athletics. Entering his 20th season as head baseball coach, Long has racked up 429 career wins, second only to inaugural Hall of Famer Mike Fox.
In the fall of 1991, Long joined the Bishops’ staff as head volleyball coach while serving as the school’s first full-time assistant baseball coach. In 1995, he functioned as the Bishops’ interim head coach and led Wesleyan to the Conference Championship, making it to the title game of the South Regional.
Long took over as full-time head coach for the Bishops in 1999. That championship season saw him named both the Dixie Conference and South Region Coach of the Year, as well as the North Carolina College Coach of the Year and American Baseball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year. Seven years later in 2006, the veteran skipper again earned South Region Coach of the Year honors after leading NCWC to its 12th World Series appearance. The Bishops, who received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament after winning the USA South Tournament, hosted and won the South Regional crown.
The 2009 and 2010 seasons saw Long earn USA South Coach of the Year honors for the second and third times of his career after leading NCWC to back-to-back USA South Regular Season crowns, bringing the program’s all-time total to 17. Wesleyan also secured its 6th Conference Tournament Title in 2009, as well as the program’s 21st appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Overall, Long has captured five USA South (formerly Dixie) Conference Championships, while leading Wesleyan to a 16-9 overall record in NCAA Tournament play. He has also guided four players to All-American honors, while several have gone on to play at the professional level.
The Bishops’ final 2016 inductee, Ernie Jones, served 17 seasons with the North Carolina Wesleyan College baseball program and made his mark as the longest-tenured assistant coach in NCWC history. His #8 jersey, in fact, was retired in the fall of 2015.
Jones transferred to Wesleyan in the fall of 1991 to continue his collegiate playing career with the Bishops. His two-year tenure saw the area native play in two South Regional championships and one College World Series. A first team All-Conference performer at shortstop, he is regarded as one of the best defensive players in program history, turning in an impressive .961 fielding percentage during his career.
A 1993 Wesleyan graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education, Jones made a full-time return to his alma mater in 1999 as assistant to Long, setting the stage for the team’s historic national championship run… a feat that he helped accomplish alongside his brother, Andy, who anchored second base for NCWC.
Jones teamed with Long for 16 more seasons and was a part of over 400 victories. As both a player and coach, he helped NCWC capture ten conference regular season and/or tournament championships, six NCAA Tournament berths, three regional championships, a trio of World Series appearances, and of course, the 1999 Division III National Championship.
The Department of Athletics extends sincere congratulations to each of the 2016 inductees, whose contributions to the overall mission of the college have been exhibited in their accomplishments. To these inductees, the Battling Bishops offer thanks and admiration by bestowing this honor upon them!
An official induction ceremony is will take place the evening of October 15th as part of North Carolina Wesleyan’s 2016 Homecoming festivities.
Get to know NCWC’s 7th President, Dr. Dewey Clark. Dr. Clark first joined the college as a staff member in 1982 as an admissions counselor. He returned to campus in May of 2014 as the first alumnus to serve as President.
How would you describe your job to the student body?
Being President is a very rewarding job in that I am helping to shape the minds of the future. Every student here is very important and I want each one of them to reach their maximum potential and get the return on their Wesleyan education that I have gotten out of mine.
What are your goals for Wesleyan as the president of this college?
Actually, this is a very simple question and can be summed up in the statement “Wesleyan is going to grow by 100 students a year for the next 10 years while improving quality in every area”. The founders of the college made it clear that they wanted a small liberal arts Christian college of 2,000 students. I have read this over and over in the early documents. By growing by 100 students a year, as we have over the past 3 years, we will be at 2,000 students in 2026. Additionally we will have extra revenues to improve the quality of every area on the campus.
What do you enjoy most about working at Wesleyan?
The enormous potential that is here would be the first thing. Wesleyan is on the verge of some really incredible times. Our next ten years will be the best decade in the history of the college. I also really enjoy the interaction with the students. One of my goals this year is to get to know each one of them.
What piece of advice do you have for freshmen?
You can get a great education at Wesleyan but it is up to you. Get involved in campus life and make a lot of friends. Do not be scared to try something new. There is no perfect college and parts of Wesleyan will be frustrating. However, over the next 4 years the college will be making progress every day and will be dramatically different when you graduate.
When you manage to have some free time, what do you enjoy doing?
I love to travel and have visited 41 states and 23 foreign countries. Reading is my favorite pastime and I generally average a book per week. Mostly I read about history, Christianity, and management. Lastly, I am an avid sports fan pulling for the Boston Red Sox, Dallas Cowboys and UNC basketball.
What is a fun fact about you that students may not know?
I collect Indian artifacts and coins. I have a coin from every country in the world.
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