ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – On Saturday, December 8, North Carolina Wesleyan College held its winter commencement at the new Rocky Mount Event Center. A large crowd of family and friends gathered to honor the approximately 200 graduates.
This is the first time in the school’s history that commencement was not held on campus. “This is our 76th graduation with the first 75 being held on our campus but this one today is in this beautiful new event center,” stated Wesleyan President Dr. Dewey Clark. The decision to hold the ceremony at the event center was two-fold according to Clark. “With our enrollment growth over the last few years, we have outgrown the Dunn Center. Secondly, we want to solidify our relationship with the City of Rocky Mount. This is becoming a true college town.”
Congratulating the graduates on their accomplishments, Wesleyan President Dr. Dewey Clark noted, “It is through intelligence, discipline and hard work that you have earned your degrees at North Carolina Wesleyan College. As we celebrate learning and academic achievement, let us not forget that few worthwhile things are achieved without the help and support of others.”
In his baccalaureate address, Reverend Dr. Barry Drum, College Chaplain, spoke about the importance of respect. “As Aretha Franklin’s powerful voice rings through the decades, find out what R.E.S.P.E.C.T. means and live it out,” challenged Drum. Quoting the late great scientist George Washington Carver, who lived his life by a simple set of rules centered on the concept of respect, Drum encouraged the graduates to “take your share of the world and let others take theirs.”
The commencement address was given by David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, a national organization that seeks to exert a positive influence in government, education and the family. A seasoned author and speaker, Barton serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators on historical and constitutional issues.
In his speech, Barton told the graduates they are facing a world that is rapidly changing through technology. In order to be successful, he encouraged them to “be committed to growing and learning new things, be a thinker and ask questions to seek the truth, be an individual and know what you stand for and be good stewards of God’s stuff in your profession.”
Wesleyan will hold its spring commencement on Saturday, May 4, on the front lawn of campus.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College took the American College Health Association’s Healthy Campus Pledge and is now considered a Healthy Campus 2020 Partner. This pledge demonstrates a campus’ commitment toward achieving the Healthy Campus 2020 goals and objectives. NC Wesleyan has joined a growing group of diverse, motivated institutions and organizations working every day to move campuses across our nation toward better health.
Healthy Campus 2020 is the companion framework to Healthy People 2020, the federal government’s health promotion and disease prevention initiative for achieving better health across the United States. Healthy Campus 2020 provides a framework for improving the overall health status on campuses nationwide. Strategies extend beyond traditional interventions of education, diagnosis, treatment and healthcare at clinical levels. Wesleyan is working to embed health into all aspects of the campus culture, across administration, operations and academics.
“It’s with great pride that we join forces with other fellow institutions and organizations as part of being a Healthy Campus,” said Wesleyan President Dr. Dewey Clark. “We are committed to educating and providing health and wellness opportunities for our students, faculty and staff in an effort to live longer, healthier lives.”
While no two Healthy Campus initiatives are exactly alike, most include a network of people working toward a common vision, priority health needs of your community, a plan with clearly defined strategies and action steps, community- and individual-focused interventions, and tracking progress. For more information about Healthy Campus 2020, please visit www.acha.org/healthycampus.
Becoming a Healthy Campus Partner reflects North Carolina Wesleyan College’s commitment to health and well-being while joining the national movement to create healthier campuses. Wesleyan has been working on Healthy Campus goals and objectives since April 2018. Since that time, they have worked to increase the number of students receiving health education services and to improve access to immunizations, such as the flu shot, to help prevent illness on campus. For more information or to get involved, please visit ncwc.edu/bishop-life/resources/health-services.
North Carolina Wesleyan College’s Sullivan Reece, studying Teacher Education, has been awarded a NASA North Carolina Space Grant Scholarship for STEM Pre-Service Teacher Education. Sullivan will complete a series of three NASA STEM Digital Badges, participate in professional seminars and attend a cohort field trip to NASA Langley Research Center. This will equip him with STEM-fields understanding, as well as NASA content and tools as he enters into K-12 science classrooms.
Visit https://ncspacegrant.ncsu.edu/2018/11/13/teachers2018/ for the official announcement.
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.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College recently received a $100,000 grant from The Cannon Foundation. The College recognizes the need to provide students, faculty and staff adequate mobility around campus to meet its mission of preparing students for professional advancement, life-long learning and responsible participation in their communities. The grant will be utilized to repair and replace sidewalks and curb ramps throughout the College.
Most of Wesleyan’s buildings and infrastructure were built between 1956 and the mid-70’s. As new buildings and infrastructure have been added or renovated, NCWC has strived to meet all legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Fair Housing Act. However, sidewalks on campus are deteriorating due to age, tree roots and weather. The cracks, divots, spall areas and raised edges can make it difficult for all pedestrians, particularly to those with mobility restrictions.
Many of the crosswalks do not have curb ramps, and those that do are not ADA-compliant. Those with mobility difficulties either have to alter their route or place their personal safety at risk when navigating through crosswalks. This project involves the excavation and replacement of 1,821 feet of sidewalks and 180 feet of curbing, along with the installation of four handicap ramps with mats.
“This grant is vital to providing all students with equal access to all buildings, institutional programs and activities. Removing architectural barriers and making the campus accessible continues to be a priority for Wesleyan. It was recently determined that the repair and replacement of sidewalks, as well as curb ramps at crosswalks, were our most critical needs for accomplishing this,” stated Linda Jones, Grant Writer for NC Wesleyan’s Office of College Advancement.
The Cannon Foundation, Inc. is part of the philanthropic legacy of Charles A. Cannon, industrialist and humanitarian, who was President and Chairman of Cannon Mills Company for more than half a century. The Foundation continues Mr. Cannon’s philanthropy through funding in healthcare, higher education, human services and community.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Lt. Col. James Mercer, US Army (Ret.) was recently named as one of twelve to be inducted into the 2018 Twin County Hall of Fame. He will be honored during the 15th Annual Induction Banquet at the Rocky Mount Event Center on Thursday, November 8, 2018.
Mercer is currently the Director of Military Studies at NC Wesleyan College and also coordinates the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program for the college. Lt. Col. James Mercer was born in Edgecombe County and raised in Nash County. He joined the US Army after graduating from North Edgecombe High School. He retired with 30 years of military service in the US Army, US Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. During his distinguished civilian career, he served in multiple roles including: police officer and firefighter for the City of Rocky Mount, Deputy Fire Marshal for Nash County Emergency Services, Public Safety Instructor at Nash and Edgecombe Community Colleges, Director of Public Safety Training for Nash Community College, Director of Emergency Management and Fire Marshal for Edgecombe County, Director of Emergency Management for Fayetteville State University and later for the City of Raleigh, where he retired in 2012.
“This is a big deal for me and pretty cool, I must say. What an incredible honor it is to be recognized by my community. I want to thank all those who mentored me, impacted me and helped me along the way. It was a village that got Lt. Col. (Ret) James Mercer from Battleboro, North Carolina, to where I am today,” stated Mercer.
The Twin County Museum and Hall of Fame’s mission is to celebrate the history, culture, people and accomplishments of Edgecombe and Nash counties in eastern North Carolina. For more information about the Twin County Hall of Fame and for tickets to the 15th Annual Induction Banquet, visit www.tchof.org.