ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College 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 College 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.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College has named Brigadier General Arnold Gordon-Bray, USA (Ret.) and Janet F. Watson as co-chairs of their annual fall fundraiser, The Wesleyan Promise Campaign. For nearly four decades, the College has held its fall giving campaign by which all gifts go toward helping fulfill and exceed the College’s commitment to students attending NCWC.
Brigadier General Arnold Gordon-Bray completed over three decades of service in the United States Army, demonstrating professional leadership skills in strategic communications, combat operations, foreign affairs and effective modernization in support of the Department of Defense and National Interests. He is now an independent consultant and owner of ANGB Consulting, LLC. He holds a Master of Arts in National Security & Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College, a Master of Science in International Strategic Studies from the Air War College and a Bachelor of Science in Art from the University of Central Missouri. Additionally, he holds an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from North Carolina Wesleyan College. A lifelong learner, he has executive training from UNC Kenan–Flagler Business School and Administrative Management from Central Michigan University.
“A quality city has to have a quality, senior college or university for the purposes of advancing the arts and sciences for the aspiration of its citizens and [local] academic institutions. I’m involved with North Carolina Wesleyan because this is my city,” stated Gordon-Bray.
Janet Watson is the owner of Coldwell Banker Watson Properties in Rocky Mount and has been a Licensed Real Estate Professional in North Carolina since 1986. She continues to conduct business as a member of the Rocky Mount Regional MLS and Triangle MLS. Janet is a lifelong resident of Rocky Mount who attended North Carolina Wesleyan College and Meredith College. She is currently a member of NC Wesleyan’s Board of Visitors and the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce. She previously served as a board member for Southern Bank and the American Red Cross.
“My parents were part of this community and church who had the vision in the 1950’s to establish North Carolina Wesleyan College here in Rocky Mount. I can remember as a small child how important it was to them to have and support an institution of higher learning here in the area,” stated Watson. “Wesleyan should continue to be an important part of our vision for this community. Our continued support ensures that Wesleyan’s strong foundation is maintained and that growth in student population, curriculum, faculty and athletic programs continues.”
The Wesleyan Promise campaign benefits NC Wesleyan students through scholarships, technology, facility improvements, lab equipment, safety gear for athletes and much more. The College has set a goal of raising $280,000 during this year’s campaign, which kicks off on Monday, September 27.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College alumna, Caroline Little ’07, has joined the College as Alumni Relations Coordinator. As an ambassador for the College, she will collaborate with colleagues to create and maintain pathways for alumni participation in order to advance the mission and vision of NC Wesleyan.
Little graduated from NC Wesleyan in 2007 with a degree in Psychology, earning President’s List and National Dean’s List honors. During her time as a student, she was a resident advisor, writing lab tutor, orientation leader and admissions/financial aid ambassador. Little was involved with student activities, President of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority, Treasurer for the Greek Council, a member of the Wesleyan Singers and participated in the music club. In 2004, Little received the James R. Hailey Leadership and Service award.
Most recently, Little was Executive Director of Teal Toes (TT), an organization dedicated to creating ovarian cancer awareness. This cause is especially important to Little, as she is an ovarian cancer survivor.
“Caroline’s love for Wesleyan and the experience she gained while working in the nonprofit world will benefit her greatly in this role. It is with great pleasure to have someone with Caroline’s experience and passion join our team,” stated Eddie Coats, Vice President of Advancement.
In her new role as Alumni Relations Coordinator, Little will be responsible for the planning and implementation of programs and events that strategically engage alumni with the College while providing tangible benefits to alumni and current students. She will work with colleagues to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward alumni giving, while also serving as a liaison between the Alumni Association Board and NCWC’s Advancement team. In addition, she will educate graduating students about alumni benefits and help increase engagement in programs.
“I’m excited to be working with the Office of Advancement to create, support and cultivate programs for all members of the Wesleyan alumni community,” stated Little.
Little has also been involved with NC Wesleyan’s Alumni Association Board since December 2018. She was most recently elected Vice President of the board and has been acting President since May 2021.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College (NCWC) recently signed an agreement that will help qualified graduates of McDowell Tech Community College (MTCC) transfer to Wesleyan. The agreement aims to provide a seamless transfer for students who enroll at Wesleyan following completion of their two-year degree at MTCC.
Leaders of both colleges signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in a virtual ceremony on Wednesday, September 15. This new agreement adds MTCC to a list of over 30 other colleges and community colleges throughout North Carolina that have a transfer partnership with NCWC.
“We are very happy to establish a partnership with NCWC. Partnerships like this are essential for our students as many of them do want to transfer after they have attended MTCC. This partnership agreement gives students a great opportunity to gain needed credentials by offering a pathway for them to transfer from one institution to another. It is imperative that students not lose time or credits in the transition, and this agreement will assure that the transfer goes smoothly,” stated Dr. Penelope “Penny” Cross, CAO of McDowell Tech Community College.
The agreement will enhance and expand the educational opportunities of Associate in Arts, Associate in Fine Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science graduates by offering MTCC graduates access to the benefits of the Wesleyan Works program, pre-admission advising, generous transfer credit and a clear definition of the transfer of courses from MTCC to NC Wesleyan. This MOU allows MTCC Associate in Applied Science students to transfer an additional 15 hours of general education credits for a total of 75 transfer credits.
“NCWC is excited for this new partnership with MTCC, which recognizes the value of a community college education. This partnership will provide MTCC graduates with flexible transfer opportunities to complete their four-year degree in a supportive environment similar to their experience in their associate’s program. Our goal has always been to support the community college mission and provide their graduates with convenient and affordable transfer pathways,” stated Katie Farrell, Associate Dean of Adult & Professional Studies.
Students who graduate from MTCC and transfer under this agreement may select any of NC Wesleyan’s programs of study or may transfer to the college’s Adult and Professional Studies program, taking advantage of the Wesleyan Works program. Students are required to maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 and be in good academic standing. The agreement brings NC Wesleyan within the reach of MTCC students who may not have otherwise been able to attend the College.
Wesleyan Works is a transfer program designed for community college students who plan to continue their education at NC Wesleyan. Students who participate in Wesleyan Works will have access to academic advising and financial aid counseling through NC Wesleyan, as well as access to events on the College’s main campus. The program is ideal for students who would like to attend NC Wesleyan’s evening or online programs.
About McDowell Tech Community College
McDowell Technical Community College is a member of the North Carolina Community College System, dedicated to providing student-centered accessible, high-quality educational opportunities and services which fulfill the personal development, training and employment needs of the residents, businesses, and industries of McDowell County and the surrounding areas through an open-door admissions policy.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College’s e-sports club, The Bishop Gaming Association (BGA), recently developed a partnership with WHIG-TV to provide training opportunities for students. Future plans of the partnership include the development of a 30-minute show that will be aired on WHIG-TV, along with job shadowing and internship opportunities.
“We are delighted to be partnering with WHIG-TV. They have been the source of local TV content in Rocky Mount for years. This partnership will provide our students with a unique way to engage with the local community,” stated Chantoni Grant, Admissions Counselor and Director of the Bishop Gaming Association. “This would not have been possible without Dr. Gena Messer-Knode (NC Wesleyan’s Dean of Career Services and Business Innovation), Sandra Smith (General Manager of WHIG-TV) and Robert Morris (Technical Director of WHIG-TV) who were committed to providing Wesleyan students with a remarkable learning opportunity.”
The BGA was founded by Grant during his time as a student in 2019. The club aims to promote the culture of gaming, media and entertainment by providing experiences, advice, awareness and resources to students who are interested in growing in these fields. It has quickly become the College’s largest student organization, averaging more than 80 members over the past three years. Students within the club shoot, edit and produce a bi-weekly segment called “BGA News,” which is broadcast on televisions throughout campus and on The BGA’s social media accounts.
The BGA partnership with WHIG-TV will provide students with the ability to explore broadcast technique, filming, editing and production. Through these opportunities, students will receive hands-on experience applicable to their future career paths.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – The Mims Gallery at The Dunn Center will kick off their 2021-22 season with an opening reception featuring local artist, Ashley Fabrizio. This free, public event will take place on Thursday, September 9 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Gallery receptions provide a unique opportunity to enjoy new art, socialize and meet the artist.
Already famous in local community, Fabrizio is the artist behind the 125-foot by 30-foot CSX mural on the side of Station Square in downtown Rocky Mount. Fabrizio will discuss her experiences as a muralist, commission painter and paint party hostess, as well as a creative force in regional expressionist painting. A “fearless” artist, there is no subject she will shy away from, including portraits of friends, celebrities and dogs in vivid color and bold brushwork. You can feel the energy and excitement in her paintings, as well as envision her ideas and thoughts about her subject matter.
Educated in local schools and a student of painting and art education at Barton College, Fabrizio has found her artistic voice as an expressionist where emotion and bursts of excitement drive her vision and painting style. She is an active member of both the Wilson and Rocky Mount art communities, as well as other regional venues.
A mother of two young children, Fabrizio balances her creative life with parenting. Her determination to make a living as a career artist is to be admired. You can find Ashley at the Bel Air Art Center in downtown Rocky Mount where her lively, free-spirited mural is already a Bel Air landmark.
Don’t miss this opportunity to view Fabrizio’s work. Her studio paintings will be on display and for sale in The Mims Gallery through October 22, making a great addition for your home or office collection.
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 College, 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 Gallery, located within The Dunn Center, hosts a variety of exhibits, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture. The Gallery is open weekdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m., as well as during performances. To learn more, visit dunncenter.com and follow on Facebook.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College 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.
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.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College 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.
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 College’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.
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College 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.
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.
8th President of the College
ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College 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.
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.