ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College was recently awarded with a $300,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. This grant will help to further the College’s efforts with its Youth Theology Institute (YTI), known as “Connect- YTI” on campus.
Connect, a summer camp and year-long mentorship program, exists to connect high school and college students to Christ, community and the church. During the past four years, more than 100 students have attended the program with the help of some 35 local churches that refer students. Connect has hosted several community-wide youth events and explored different theological topics – from Justice to Jesus in the Gospels – with the belief that theology (the study of God) is a life-long journey, not merely a religious study from a book.
Connect was launched in 2016 with a grant from Lilly Endowment as part of its nationwide initiative, High School Youth Theology Institutes at Colleges and Universities.
This new grant will help North Carolina Wesleyan College continue to support Connect during the next four years. Wesleyan hopes to continue strengthening the summer institute; training and equipping college students as mentors; hosting more guest speakers and artists; helping high school and college students with their discernment process of life; and providing mini conferences on campus to empower and equip lay leaders with issues they face in ministry.
“This is such exciting news for our program! Lilly Endowment has been so generous to us. I have told many people, it’s really cool to see how the generosity of one person, family or organization can impact the lives of so many people. I think this grant is a testament to that,” stated Mikah Brondyke, Director of Connect- YTI. “The past four years have laid a great foundation for our program. It will be really neat to watch our program build upon this and continue the work of encouraging and empowering the next generation of youth.”Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. The Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. Lilly Endowment’s religion grant-making is designed to deepen and enrich the religious lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College celebrated its 63rd year with its annual Founders’ Day ceremony Thursday in Minges Auditorium of The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts.
The opening processional included an invocation by Dr. Barry Drum, presentation of the colors by NC Wesleyan’s Army ROTC and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner. North Carolina Wesleyan Interim President, Dr. Evan D. Duff, welcomed the crowd of students, faculty, staff and friends of the College.
“Today we celebrate our 63rd birthday,” noted Duff and “63 years of academic excellence.” He then followed by reading a letter dated back to 1955 from Archie W. Mclean, Co-Chairman at the time, addressed to Mrs. R.D. Gorham, Miss Vivian Braswell and Mr. Thomas J. Pearsall. The letter acknowledged the College’s deep appreciation of the four sites on the Belmont Farm gifted to develop what we now know as North Carolina Wesleyan College.
Guest speaker for the event was the honorable Judge Phil Carlton, Trustee Emeritus. Carlton has a long and generous history with NC Wesleyan, serving almost 20 years as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. He has been an instrumental financial supporter and advocate of the College since the 1970’s. Carlton has a wealth of historical knowledge of the founding and growth of the College.
Judge Phil Carlton kicked off his speech acknowledging, “One fact you may not know is that Methodist College in Fayetteville and Wesleyan opened on the same day and they are today still the youngest four-year liberal arts colleges in North Carolina.” Carlton asked, “So, what’s our future here today on our birthday?” He then noted, “We need to decide what it is that is driving higher education today and what is going to drive it in the future… If I had to pick two key words it would be collaboration and partnering… It’s called thinking out of the box, and that’s what we got to do.”
Eddie Coats, VP of Advancement, presented members of the Nash County Tourism Development Authority and the Foundation for the Carolinas with tokens of appreciation for their generosity and support of Wesleyan. In 2018, the 2.18-mile Wesleyan trail that circles campus was constructed thanks to the contributions from the Nash County Tourism Development Authority and the Longleaf Fund, managed by the Foundation for the Carolinas.
During the ceremony, two North Carolina Wesleyan residence halls were formally renamed. Nash Hall was renamed Pash Hall in honor of Mrs. Jessie “Jackie” H. Pash in recognition of her service as an elementary school teacher in the Nash-Rocky Mount School System. Edgecombe Hall was renamed after Carrol and Judy Roberson in recognition of their service to others and the values they placed upon education. These tributes were both made possible due to a generous gift to the College by the Roberson’s son, C. Saunders “Sandy” Roberson, who was also a former student in Mrs. Pash’s first-grade class at Englewood Elementary School here in Rocky Mount.
“North Carolina Wesleyan College is fortunate and blessed to have a long history of dedicated members of the Rocky Mount community who have supported the mission of the College with their time, talents and donations. We appreciate the generous gift that Sandy Roberson has made to rename these residence halls,” commented Duff.
The day concluded with an Open House hosted by NCWC Residence Life staff at the newly renamed Roberson Hall.
Thomas and Cynthia Dyer Endowment Fund Established to Support Program
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – The Battling Bishops Women’s Soccer program recently received a $10,000 endowment. This gift was made possible due to the generous support of two previous North Carolina Wesleyan College students— Thomas and Cynthia Dyer.
Women’s Soccer at NC Wesleyan started in 1983 and has grown immensely over the years. With the broadening of the program and its success comes increased costs including uniforms, travel for away games and lighting for the complex. To assist with these needs, The Thomas and Cynthia Dyer Endowment Fund was established by Cynthia Dansie Dyer of Maryland and Thomas G. Dyer ’70 of Virginia. Long supporters of North Carolina Wesleyan College, the Dyer’s remain involved with the Nu Gamma Phi Fraternity, giving to the efforts of establishing scholarships and support for the Hartness Center, among other endeavors.
“It’s a privilege to assist the Women’s Soccer program. We feel fortunate to be able to support Wesleyan and the growth that this program has experienced,” stated the Dyer’s.
It’s their desire to leave a legacy with their alma mater in the form of an endowment. When Women’s Soccer Coach, Beverly Biancur, expressed the need for additional support of certain initiatives such as her vision for a Soccer Complex Wall and other enhancements that refine the student athletic experience, the Dyer’s seized the opportunity.
“I am grateful for this extremely generous endowment from the Dyer’s for our program. These young women and those before them have exemplified academic excellence with a 98% graduation rate, acceptance into grad school and professional occupations, a competitive desire for excellence and a willingness to serve their community,” stated Biancur. “This endowment will help to provide these women with support, facilities and equipment to achieve the individual goals and team expectations now and into the future.”
The Thomas and Cynthia Dyer Endowment is one of four endowments created to support Wesleyan’s athletic programs. Wesleyan is excited about its potential growth, which will benefit the Women’s Soccer program for years to come. These benefits will make a massive impact on the quality of the program, and most of all, the life of Wesleyan’s student-athletes.
The Dyer’s met at Wesleyan in 1966. In 1967, Cynthia transferred to nursing school obtaining her degree in 1970. Thomas graduated from Wesleyan in 1970 with a degree in Economics. Shortly after graduation the two married that same year and today reside in North Carolina.
The NC Wesleyan Women’s Soccer program is home to seven All-Americans and a National Player of the Year. The program has won numerous USA South Conference Tournaments and recently received its eighth consecutive National Coaches Association Team Academic Award. The 1994 season saw the Bishops reach the NCAA Division III Final Four.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded NC Wesleyan College with a $100,000 grant to support their new Logistics and Supply Chain Management baccalaureate program that actively started this fall. This award is in addition to a grant awarded by the NC Office of State Budget and Management in August 2018.
NC Wesleyan has offered a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Logistics for a number of years. The new degree program, which kicked off this semester, offers a more comprehensive, focused curriculum designed with the needs of the local industry in mind. The program addresses cost efficiency, cutting-edge technologies and sophisticated strategies and practices as it relates to the movement of raw materials and goods in a global economy. Dr. Melanie Townsend was hired before the start of the semester as the full-time visiting professor for the program.
The program, offered on the Rocky Mount campus and online, is in response to the growing advanced manufacturing and distribution sector in the greater Rocky Mount area and eastern North Carolina. It will also address the immediate need for a well-prepared and qualified workforce for local companies such as Pfizer, Cummins-Rocky Mount Engine Plant and Eagle Transport, in addition to new companies such as the CCX Carolina Connector, Triangle Tire, Corning and FFE Transportation Services. Wesleyan’s program prepares students for middle- and senior-level management positions.
The program is targeted toward traditional students who choose to attend Wesleyan following high school, transfer students from community colleges, adult students interested in changing careers and workers who are already employed in the industry. Students can choose from traditional in-person classes, online classes or a hybrid program of both classroom and online.
Articulation agreements were signed at the beginning of August with Nash and Edgecombe Community Colleges that offer students with AAS degrees a seamless transfer to Wesleyan’s Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree program.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in Logistics and Supply Chain Management is projected to grow 7% through 2026 due to the transportation of goods in a global economy. The annual wage for logisticians with a four-year degree is $74,590.
The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to receive a portion of North Carolina’s funding received from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers. For 20 years, Golden LEAF has worked to increase economic opportunity in North Carolina’s rural and tobacco-dependent communities through leadership in grant making, collaboration, innovation, and stewardship as an independent and perpetual foundation.
We have received a commitment from an anonymous donor for the building of an indoor sports and education facility that will completely cover the cost of construction, along with a grant from the Nash County Tourism Development Authority. The vision is to provide North Carolina Wesleyan College the opportunity to enhance the scope of its educational and sports offerings, along with increasing partnerships and involvement within the local community through educational and sports programs for adults and youth. Wesleyan hopes to provide sports not readily available in this area, namely squash, indoor tennis and pickleball. Wesleyan has applied and been approved for a building permit with the Rocky Mount Planning Board. A construction start date has not been set at this time. The hope is that the facility will be completed by Spring of 2020.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Scholarship donors and their recipients came together at North Carolina Wesleyan November 1 as the college held its Scholarship Appreciation Gala at The Dunn Center for the Performing Arts. The event recognized scholarship donors who give annually to Wesleyan students, helping them pursue their academic and professional dreams.
“It is always rewarding to bring together this group of promising young people and let our generous sponsors see the powerful impact their commitments are making on these leaders of tomorrow,” stated Eddie Coats, Vice President of Development. “Many of these students would not be able to afford a comprehensive college education without this support.”
Student body president and Heritage scholarship recipient, Will Plyler, spoke about the impact of his award. “I am just a sophomore but my life has been completely changed by the funding that made it possible for me to attend Wesleyan. I now have the opportunity to learn and pursue my passion in life. I am extremely grateful,” said Plyer.
Guest speaker for the event was J. Winston Lea, owner of Action Staffing Group and President of the Gravely Foundation. In 1945 as World War II was ending, the children of Rocky Mount businessman J.O.W. and Lula Keen Gravely created the Gravely Foundation to honor their parents’ philosophy that every child should have the opportunity to advance themselves through education. Over the last four decades, the Gravely Foundation has provided approximately $803,000 to support students and programming at Wesleyan. In his speech, Lea encouraged students to give back to their communities, churches and colleges. “One thing that I have learned on this journey of life is whatever you give, you will receive back tenfold,” stated Lea.
Wesleyan presented its prestigious Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award to Lloyd Nelson ’67 and Elliott Stevenson Nelson ‘66. The award honors the excellence in character, leadership, community service and spiritual values of Algernon Sydney Sullivan, a lawyer, scholar and orator. While at Wesleyan, Lloyd was a stand-out on the hardwood as the basketball program’s first Most Valuable Player during the college’s inaugural season in 1963-1964. He went on to become a two-time All-Conference selection and earned MVP rights again his senior year. The Nelsons have been very involved in Wesleyan over the years and Lloyd served on the Board of Trustees from 1997 to May 2018.
“The Nelsons have given tirelessly and generously to Wesleyan over a long period of time,” stated President Dr. Dewey Clark. “Their love and dedication to this college and the students we serve is without comparison. There has never been two more worthy recipients than Lloyd and Elliott.”
Each year more than 180 Wesleyan students benefit from the generosity of our donors.