NCWU Announces Dates for World’s Largest Bob Ross Exhibit


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA Fantastic Little Paintings by artist, Bob Ross, is set to adorn the walls of The Mims and Gravely Galleries at The Dunn Center from November 2, 2023 through January 4, 2024. The 2023 exhibition will be open to the public. Tickets will be available for $15 per person with free admission for children under five. The University will kick off the initial sale of tickets with a Christmas Flash Sale in the near future. This will be the first time a Bob Ross exhibit has been to North Carolina. With 100 paintings, this will be the largest exhibition ever seen under one roof globally.

Robert Norman Ross, an American painter, art instructor and television host known by so many for his permed hair, showed the world how to paint fun pieces of art. He was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, CBC in Canada, and similar channels in Latin America, Europe and elsewhere. Ross subsequently became known through his posthumous internet presence.

Greg Purcell, Art Curator for the Galleries at The Dunn Center, says “there will be more to this event than just the paintings on the walls. As we get closer to the opening, there will be classes taught by Bob Ross Certified Instructors so that you can learn how to paint like Bob Ross. The excitement is already building for this exhibit which is now less than a year away. Keep checking our website regularly and join our email list to be the first to hear about all the fun plans, as well as having the chance to get early access to tickets.”

Bob Ross, Inc. will allow the funds raised from this exhibit to go directly toward bringing future artists to the Galleries at The Dunn Center. Guests are invited to come experience the joy that Ross brought to the art world. For more information, contact Greg Purcell, at gpurcell@ncwc.edu and sign up for the email list at ncwc.edu/artgalleries.    

About The Dunn Center
The Dunn Center is a premier venue for concerts, shows and conferences in eastern NC. Located on the campus of NC Wesleyan University, in the heart of Rocky Mount, The Dunn Center is proud to host the Wesleyan Season Series of cultural events and concerts. In addition to these world-class performances, The Dunn Center features a variety of campus and community events, including Wesleyan Players productions, concerts of the Tar River Swing Band and Orchestra and other various performances by nationally known artists. The Mims and Gravely Galleries, located within The Dunn Center, hosts a variety of exhibits, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture. The galleries are open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., as well as during performances. To learn more, visit dunncenter.com and follow on Facebook.

NCWU Recognized by U.S. News & World Report


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – On Monday, September 12, U.S. News & World Report released their 2022-2023 Best Colleges rankings. This report evaluates 1,500 colleges and universities nationwide based on 17 measures of academic quality. Of the reports, North Carolina Wesleyan University was ranked in the Regional Colleges (South) categories of Best Colleges for Veterans, Best Value Schools, Best Regional Colleges, Social Mobility, Most International Students and Campus Ethnic Diversity.

brick wall with NCWU letters

Again, NC Wesleyan has been ranked in the top 50 for Best Regional Colleges, coming in at #47 of 99 schools. Also, NCWU was once more recognized as a Best Value School and was one of only 12 schools chosen as Best Colleges for Veterans. This ranking pairs well with the University’s 2022-2023 Military Friendly® School Gold designation.

“Our dedication to our students, and to the communities we serve, is reflected in this year’s rankings by U.S. News & World Report. I’m proud of the work that NCWU does to ensure a quality education through meaningful, real-world experiences,” stated President Dr. Evan D. Duff.

Other notable rankings include recognition in the Social Mobility category, which considers a university enrolling and graduating large proportions of first-generation college students and disadvantaged students who are awarded with Pell Grants. The vast mix of cultures that make up NCWU’s student population is reflected in this year’s ranking for Campus Ethnic Diversity. Only six colleges and university’s in North Carolina made the list of 82 that were ranked. With students from over 40 different countries, NC Wesleyan was the only school in North Carolina be recognized for Most International Students. To learn more about this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings, visit usnews.com/college.
 

About U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives and communities. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, Real Estate, News and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit USNews.com each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

About North Carolina Wesleyan University

North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) is a small, private Methodist-affiliated institution with a liberal arts-based core curriculum that prepares students for professional advancement, life-long learning and responsible participation in their communities. NCWU offers liberal arts, professional and graduate degree programs for traditional, transfer and working-adult students. The skills cultivated by faculty and built into the curriculum include critical thinking and reflection, communication, collaboration, and information technology. North Carolina Wesleyan University delivers education that is personal, practical and purpose-driven. Personal…through mentoring and the connections that are provided. Practical…by helping students develop lifelong skills. Purpose-driven…by helping them fulfill their purpose in life. With students from all over the United States and more than 40 different countries, the University has immense cultural diversity. To learn more, visit ncwc.edu and follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok and Instagram.

Olympic Gold Medalist Lined Up as NCWC Commencement Speaker


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Daniel Erwin “Dan” Jansen is set to address the newest class of North Carolina Wesleyan alumni at the College’s upcoming Spring 2022 Commencement. He is a retired American speed skater and Olympic gold medalist. A multiple world champion in sprint, Jansen won a gold medal in his final race (1,000 meters) in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

Daniel Erwin “Dan” Jansen, retired American speed skater and Olympic gold medalist

Jansen became the World Sprint Champion in 1988 and then competed at the 1988 Winter Olympics in the 500- and 1,000-meter races. In the early hours of February 14, the day of the 500-meter event, Jansen was informed that his 27-year-old sister, Mrs. Jane Marie Beres, was dying of leukemia. Hours later, Jansen was notified his sister had passed. He went on to compete in the 500-meter race that afternoon, but fell in the first turn. Four days later in the 1,000-meter event, he began with record-breaking speed but fell again, just past the 800-meter mark. He left the 1988 Olympics with no medals, but became the recipient of the U.S. Olympic Spirit Award for his valiant efforts.

In 1993, Jansen set a world record in the 500-meter event and was cast as a favorite to win gold at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Between the 1992 and 1994 Olympics, Jansen was the only skater to break 36 seconds in the 500 meters, doing so four times. In 1994, Jansen won his second World Sprint Championship title.

At the 1994 Winter Olympics he finished eighth in the 500-meter event. In preparation for the 1,000-meter event, he was coached by Peter Mueller, who won the same event in the 1976 Winter Olympics. Jansen defied expectations, finishing first to win the only Olympic medal of his career, setting a new world record in the process. He received the 1994 James E. Sullivan Award and was chosen by his fellow Olympians to bear the U.S. flag at the closing ceremony of the 1994 Winter Olympics. He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1995.

“As a longtime North Carolina resident, it is an honor to join the North Carolina Wesleyan University Class of 2022 as they mark this special occasion and embark on the next chapter of their lives. I look forward to sharing my story with them and reinforcing the ideals of perseverance and determination, while equipping them with the tools to overcome any challenges thrown their way,” stated Jansen. “My journey of sacrifice is an excellent illustration of never giving up on your dreams; a vital lesson to today’s young aspiring professionals.”

In memory of his sister, Jane, The Dan Jansen Foundation was established in 1995 to help individuals and families affected by leukemia and related cancers, support youth sports programs and assist high school seniors in the pursuit of higher education. Since its inception, the Foundation has contributed more than $900,000 to charitable causes.

“Dan Jansen’s journey demonstrates tenacity, unwavering dedication, a superior work ethic, discipline and a solid understanding that success comes from sacrifice,” stated NCWC President, Dr. Evan D. Duff. “I look forward to Dan’s message to our graduates who are at different points in their life. Many of them will be looking to attain their first job, while others are seasoned practitioners in their career. What they all have in common is that they will inevitably face that “next challenge” in life. I anticipate that Dan will share his wisdom on overcoming any challenge in life.”

The College’s Spring Commencement is planned for Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 10:00 a.m. until noon at the Rocky Mount Event Center. The time and location are subject to change based on current state and federal guidelines.

Dr. Evan D. Duff Installed as 8th President of North Carolina Wesleyan University


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University officially installed Dr. Evan D. Duff as its 8th president on Friday, September 17, 2021. An inauguration ceremony was held in Minges Auditorium at The Dunn Center on the College’s campus.

Opening remarks were given by Rebecca Mitchell, NC Wesleyan senior, double majoring in Psychology and Biology and intern in the President’s Office. “From the beginning, Dr. Duff has demonstrated his passion for helping students, offering them a voice and a place to call home,” stated Mitchell. She continued, “Dr. Duff truly cares about his students and their overall well-being.”

Greetings to Dr. Duff were given by students, faculty, staff, board members and friends. Some unable to attend sent personal greetings via video. Constance Williams, NCWC Board Member and human resource professional, offered her congratulations, stating “President Duff is by far one of the most visionary, humble and forward-thinking executives I have ever had the privilege to know. He prioritizes and operates from a position of fairness, excellence, inclusion and kindness.”

Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder/Chief Executive Officer of the ActOne Group and NCWC Board Member, also sent her well-wishes, noting “Dr. Duff’s vision for the school is only exceeded by his strong competency and his vision for what life can be like for all of us.”

Award-winning actress, Sharon Lawrence, delivered her virtual greeting saying “I know that under Dr. Duff’s successful leadership, this institution has thrived in very challenging circumstances. I also recognize that today’s installation honors the tradition of Wesleyan excellence and investment in education for our region.”

A surprise, handwritten letter from Governor Roy Cooper was presented to Dr. Duff on his accomplishments. It read, “Rocky Mount is proud to be home to North Carolina Wesleyan University and the outstanding programs and experiences it offers to its students. I know under your leadership, it will continue to grow and be an important North Carolina institution of higher learning. On a personal note: thanks Dr. Duff— this is my home area and I know how important this great College is.”   

Dr. Dan Crocker, Chairman of NC Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, conducted the Investiture of the President. Afterwards, Paul Bauer, Vice-chairman of the Board of Trustees, presented Dr. Duff with a Presidential Medallion, a symbol of authority and a token of esteem and confidence. One side displays the President’s name and date of Inauguration, the other the College seal. The Seal includes five symbols – an owl is shown for wisdom, a lion for courage, a triangle for the Trinity, a budded cross for Christianity and a lamp for learning.

Dr. Duff was then joined on stage by his wife of 23 years, Marcy, and their four children – Tyson, Landon, Peyton and Chloe – as Rev. Laura Wittman gave a blessing of the presidential family.

Immediately following the Inauguration, a luncheon honoring Dr. Duff was held at the Rocky Mount Event Center for family and close friends.

Award-Winning Author to Speak at North Carolina Wesleyan University


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University will welcome award-winning author and political columnist, Rob Christensen, on Tuesday, October 5. Rob plans to share a glimpse of Eastern North Carolina with his latest history, “The Rise and Fall of the Branchhead Boys,” at the free event starting at 6:00 p.m. in Minges Auditorium at The Dunn Center. With a career spanning over 45 years as a political journalist with The News and Observer out of Raleigh, Christensen brings to life the multi-generational story of the Scott family— one of North Carolina’s most influential political families.

Award-winning author and political columnist, Rob Christensen

Released in 2019, “The Rise and Fall of the Branchhead Boys” is the recipient of the prestigious Ragan Old North State Award for Nonfiction. Through investigative journalism that weaves together interviews paired with archival research, Christensen steps back in time to offer an engaging historical account of an important turning point for North Carolina’s political scene.

“I am looking forward to speaking at NC Wesleyan because Branchhead Boys is to a large degree about Eastern North Carolina and the continuing struggles with North Carolina’s urban/rural divide. Nash County, in particular, figures heavily in my book,” commented Christensen.

Christensen shares the story of the Scott family legacy and how race and populism influenced the political landscape of the twentieth century during a period known as the era of progressive politics in North Carolina. Three generations of Scott’s held statewide office overcoming racial stereotypes. W. Kerr Scott, Robert Scott and Meg Scott Phipps were able to gain the support of rural North Carolinians who were colloquially known as the Branchhead Boys, a group of grassroots rural voters. Christensen recounts the hardships faced by the Scott’s to help develop rural North Carolina and introduce modern amenities such as having electric and telephone power lines extended and to have roads paved. Instrumental in their own downfall, Christensen concludes to what ultimately led to their demise.

Christensen retired in 2018 after a successful career in journalism. He has appeared as a political analyst on over 600 television and radio programs including the CBS Evening News, Fox News, MSNBC, CNN, ABC’s Nightline, C-Span, PBS, NPR and the BBC. He has been interviewed by Don Imus, Mitch Albom, Diane Rheems, Jeff Greenfield, Chris Matthews, Cokie Roberts, Al Franken and more. He has shared his insights and industry knowledge through hundreds of talks across the state to colleges, libraries, bookstores, civic and political clubs.

Local Businesswoman and Author Welcomes NCWC Class of 2025


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University held its 65th annual New Student Convocation today in Minges Auditorium at The Dunn Center. President Dr. Evan D. Duff welcomed the Class of 2025, congratulating them on taking the next step in their educational journey.

“Get involved. Get connected. You never know who you may network with while you’re in college that might help you in your future. Have fun, but remember to study and stay safe— take care of each other,” stated Duff.

Etaf Rum, local businesswoman and novelist.

Keynote Speaker for the event was Etaf Rum, local businesswoman and novelist. She is the author of A Woman Is No Man, a New York Times bestseller, which hit the ninth spot on Amazon’s Bestseller List and was selected by Jenna Bush Hager as her book club’s May 2019 read. Rum is part-owner of three local businesses in Rocky Mount—Barley & Burger, a bold and refined kitchen and bar, and Tipsy Tomato, a premier Italian pizza restaurant. Her newest venture, Books and Beans, centers around two of Rum’s favorite things: writing and coffee. Outfitted with a counter and handful of tables, Books and Beans also serves breakfast, lunch and coffee from a North Carolina roaster.

While addressing the new class of Bishops, Rum shared tips to encourage discipline and goal-setting throughout their college experience. She also spoke about learning how to overcome adversity for success, transforming through suffering and developing the mindset of a winner.

“We often forget that college is a place where we learn how to learn. If there’s anything that you can take with you throughout these four years, it’s how do you develop the mindset of a winner?” stated Rum. “There are three things that I think are very important for you to foster before you leave Wesleyan…go after what you want, be disciplined and transform through suffering. It’s really important for everyone here to understand that you have the power to learn from your adversity.”

Rum grew up in a Palestinian-American household as the oldest of nine children in Brooklyn, New York. While raising her two children, she enrolled at North Carolina State University, where she earned a B.A. in English Language and Literature, a B.S. in Philosophy, and an M.A. in American and British Literature and Philosophy. In addition to speaking at North Carolina Wesleyan University’s New Student Convocation, Rum also addressed educators at Faculty Convocation on August 17.

After New Student Convocation, students exited The Dunn Center and were immediately greeted by a cheering crowd of returning students, faculty, staff and friends of the College forming a time-honored tradition— the Bishop Tunnel. As they proceeded through the tunnel to enter the annual Rock the Mount event, they were each welcomed by President Duff and his wife, Marcy. Rock the Mount is an annual tradition for NC Wesleyan to welcome new students to campus and to the community. It takes place the day before the College’s first day of classes, serving as the official kick-off event for the new academic year. Local businesses and organizations are given the opportunity to come and celebrate the start of a new school year with food, music and advertising. This year, nearly 80 community organizations lined the street in the center of campus to celebrate Wesleyan’s Class of 2025.

NC Wesleyan Welcomes New Chaplain


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University recently welcomed Rev. Edwin Ferguson as the new Chaplain. Rev. Ferguson assumes the role from former Chaplain, Dr. Barry Drum, who will transition this fall to full-time faculty after filling the role since 2003.

Rev. Edwin Ferguson, new Chaplain of the College

Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Rev. Ferguson is currently the pastor of Invitation at A.M.E. Zion Church in Snow Hill, NC. He has also served as pastor to young adult populations as the Youth/Young Adult minister at his home church, the Washington Metropolitan A.M.E. Zion Church in St. Louis. While there, he also held the role of St. Louis District YACM (Young Adults in Christian Ministry) Director. In addition, Rev. Ferguson helped to lay the foundation for a college ministry while serving at Mt. Zion A.M.E. Zion Church in Elizabethtown, NC. He set up group chats for spiritual development for young adults while they were in college and care packages were sent to them. He was also invited to share with the Minority Male Mentoring program at Bladen Community College. 

“As an institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church, we are excited to welcome to our chaplaincy someone with Rev. Ferguson’s background of service to young adults. Spiritual exploration is a key component of the college experience for most students, and spirituality is a foundational element in their holistic development,” stated Dr. Jason Modlin, Dean of Students. “As our students seek to become the person they were created to be, our campus ministries play an integral role in their search. Rev. Ferguson is an ideal fit for NC Wesleyan as he shares the College’s mission of preparing students for all aspects of life.” 

Rev. Ferguson has a passion for helping young adults achieve their potential. He looks forward to strengthening existing partnerships, as well as creating new ones, between the College and local faith-based organizations for the mutual benefit of students and the community. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Concordia University and a Master of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary where he is currently pursuing his doctorate. 

NC Wesleyan University Inaugurates Dr. Evan D. Duff


8th President of the College

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University will officially celebrate the appointment of Dr. Evan D. Duff as its 8th president in an inauguration ceremony Friday, September 17, 2021. The NCWC Board of Trustees named Dr. Evan D. Duff President of the College on June 10, 2020, after serving in the interim role since June 14, 2019. Due to the global pandemic, his inauguration has been delayed until now. This allows family and friends to attend, along with the campus community as they return for the fall semester.

Duff has served the College in many leadership roles since 2011 including Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Vice President of Adult & Professional Studies, adjunct professor and Provost. In these roles, Dr. Duff was responsible for leading the effort to approve new majors, co-writing the College’s first graduate application to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools- Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) and creating seven new offsite instructional locations. He was also responsible for facilitating the development of partnerships with 20 two-year and four-year colleges, which led to articulation agreements or memorandums of understanding between those colleges and NC Wesleyan. Most recently, he worked with Dr. Chaunté Garrett to develop an ROTC partnership with Rocky Mount Prep.

Dr. Evan D. Duff, President of the College

He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Mount Olive College, holds a Master’s in Administration from Central Michigan University and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Along with his formal education, Dr. Duff also completed certificate programs with NC State University and Cornell University. 

During his career, Dr. Duff has authored or co-authored a great number of academic publications and presentations. He serves on many community boards and was awarded the volunteer of the year award with the Triangle Literacy Council in 2014. He has been honored with a variety of awards for service to the College and the community. He and his family most recently attended Hope Community Church in Cary, NC. Prior to this, Dr. Duff and his family were active members of Covenant UMC in Greenville, NC, where he served on the Pastoral Personnel Committee. Dr. Duff and his wife of 23 years, Marcy, have three sons and a daughter – Tyson, Landon, Peyton and Chloe. Their household is completed with five furry loved ones—three dogs and two cats—all of which are rescues.

The NCWC Board of Trustees cordially invites the public to Dr. Evan D. Duff’s Presidential Inauguration. The ceremony will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17 in Minges Auditorium at The Dunn Center.

Positive Mental Health Resources Offered to NC Wesleyan Students


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – In order to enhance the mental health resources offered to students, North Carolina Wesleyan University recently welcomed two new members to their Counseling Center staff. Fonda Porter joins the College as the new Director of Counseling and Accessibility Services and Lee Tyson as Counselor.

“Positive mental health for college students is critical for success. We are pleased to offer additional resources to our students in the Counseling Center with the addition of Fonda and Lee.  They both bring a passion for student service and their combined experience and skillset will be an asset to our students,” stated Dr. Jason Modlin, Dean of Students. “Along with personal counseling services, the Counseling Center will also be able to provide proactive educational programs for students, as well as faculty and staff.”

Fonda Porter, new Director of Counseling and Accessibility Services

As Director of Counseling and Accessibility Services, Fonda will proactively engage with the campus community to coordinate services which create accessible and inclusive living and learning environments. She will also provide basic mental health counseling opportunities for students, develop campus policies that promote inclusive physical and intellectual environments, and ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In addition, Sophie, a miniature longhaired Dachshund, will occasionally accompany Fonda on campus to spread joy and comfort as an emotional support dog. 

Fonda comes to NC Wesleyan from Louisburg College where she served as the Associate Dean for Health and Wellness. Her experience includes nearly 16 years in higher education counseling and mental health services, with a total of 22 total years in higher education. A certified Mental Health First Aid trainer, she holds certifications from FEMA Emergency Management and the National Behavioral Intervention Team Association. While at Louisburg College, Fonda developed several student education programs, created a substance education initiative, developed and implemented employee training on mental health issues, chaired the Behavioral Intervention Team and served on the Title IX team. She was also an advisor for the Louisburg College chapter of SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), which she started, and was recognized as the NC State Advisor of the Year. Fonda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Baldwin Wallace University and a Master of Arts degree in Education with a concentration in Counseling Psychology from Seton Hall University. 

Lee, in her role as Counselor, will educate and assist students with mental health management, especially as it relates to the concerns that accompany college life. She will also conduct intake and crisis assessments, provide individual counseling sessions, serve on the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) and provide educational programs and materials for students, faculty and staff. 

Lee Tyson, Counselor

Lee most recently worked in the Wilson County School system where she served as School Counselor for the past eight years. She is a certified Resilience Educator and assists trauma survivors in overcoming challenges. She specializes in suicide risk assessment and intervention.  Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from UNC-Greensboro and a Master of Science degree in Counselor Education from East Carolina University. 

Visual Art Enhancements Coming to The Dunn Center


ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Greg Purcell has been selected as the new Art Curator for The Dunn Center at North Carolina Wesleyan University. Starting in August, he will be taking over the reins from Everett Adelman, current Wesleyan Art Professor, who will be retiring this summer. Adelman has filled this role since the opening of The Dunn Center in 1996.

Greg Purcell, Art Curator for The Dunn Center

As Art Curator, Greg will work with The Dunn Center staff to plan art exhibits and opening receptions for the Mims and Civic galleries located within The Dunn Center. He will present five art shows throughout the year.

“We are very excited about the passion and experience that Greg brings to The Dunn Center staff. For 26 years, the Mims and Civic galleries have played an integral part in our ability to build a bridge from North Carolina Wesleyan University to the region that we serve,” stated Sheila Martin, Executive Director of The Dunn Center. “Our visual and performing arts patrons have supported the College for almost 65 years. Greg’s knowledge and energy will grow and strengthen those relationships.”

Greg graduated from Catawba College, a private college in Salisbury, NC, with a B.A. in Theatre Arts and holds an Internship Certificate from the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University. He brings a wealth of knowledge to The Dunn Center with 24 years of experience including television, staging, lighting and maintenance.