Local Artist, Ashley Fabrizio, Coming to The Mims Gallery at NC Wesleyan

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.

Ashley Fabrizio
Ashley Fabrizio, local 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.

Award-Winning Author to Speak at North Carolina Wesleyan College

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.

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 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.

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 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.

NC Wesleyan Welcomes New Chaplain

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.

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 College Inaugurates Dr. Evan D. Duff

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.

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.

Former Student-Athlete Joins NCWC Student Success Center

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Russell Rouse, Jr., an NCWC alumnus and former Battling Bishops football player, returns to the Wesleyan family. Russell, a 2010 graduate of North Carolina Wesleyan, has joined the College as First Year Advisor and Coordinator of Academic Intervention Services.

Russell Rouse Jr.
Russell Rouse, Jr., First Year Advisor and Coordinator of Academic Intervention Services

Russell began working for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools in 2011 where he taught 6th and 7th grade math and science at Red Oak Middle School. He also served as Head Coach for the girls’ basketball team and as Assistant Head Coach for the football team. In addition, he has been a Crew Leader at McLane Company, Inc. and a Library Associate at Braswell Memorial Library. 

“The Student Success Center is thrilled to have Russell Rouse, Jr. on the team. I know he will serve our first-year students well and provide the support, encouragement and direction they need to be successful,” stated Taylor Stone, Director of Student Success. “As an alum and former athlete, Russell understands Bishop life from a student perspective, allowing him to connect with students in a way that they can understand and appreciate.”

In this new role, Russell will be responsible for coordinating services for students on academic probation and warning. This includes workshops, creating success plans, tracking student achievement and communicating with necessary offices about Satisfactory Academic Progress of students. He will also teach three sections of Wesleyan Transition (COL 103). This one credit seminar course assists students in the transition to NC Wesleyan College and helps to further orient students to the College community. The course prepares students for collegiate success and fosters campus engagement, while providing students with a shared learning experience in an interactive and discussion-based environment. In addition, Russell will serve as First-Year Advisor for an assigned group of students.

COVID-19 Update – August 9, 2021

Please be advised that as of, Tuesday, August 10, the College will require all persons to wear masks inside all campus buildings through Labor Day, Monday, September 6We are closely watching local and regional COVID-19 trends and are primed to determine the steps necessary to protect our community as the circumstances evolve. We are closely following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. 

Those who are medically unable to wear a cloth or disposable medical-grade face covering may wear a face shield. We do have a limited supply of masks and face shields in the Provost’s Office should you need them.

Also… NCWC has signed on as part of the White House’s Vaccine College Champion program. Our purpose in being a part of this effort is to educate on and promote vaccination among students, faculty, and staff. Students who arrive at check-in fully vaccinated will get a free t-shirt and there will be weekly drawings for prizes for vaccinated students throughout the fall semester. We will announce our first winner at Rock The Mount on August 24! For more information on the Vaccine College Champion program nationwide, please visit https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidcollegechallenge/

All campus community members can pick up vaccine champion swag at Rock The Mount – including window clings, silicone bracelets, and stickers. Further, in coordination with Health Services, we will be holding a Johnson & Johnson vaccine clinic close to the start of classes – details will be out on that soon. If you’re looking for a vaccine now, please go to http://www.vaccines.gov to find a vaccine provider near you. 

We will continue to update you as we take necessary precautions to make our campus as safe as possible. 

(Please note that our COVID policy and protocols are subject to change at any time based on changes in CDC, state, or local guidelines, new data release, or local trends. We will update the college community promptly if we have to change the system or protocols.)

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 College 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. 

NCWC Holds Inaugural RN to BSN Class Celebration

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College’s RN to BSN program celebrated its inaugural class on Wednesday, August 4 in The Dunn Center on the College’s campus. Guest speaker was Dr. Susan Haynes Little, Chief Nursing Officer/Chief Public Health Nurse for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health.

The program’s RN to BSN students, along with two guests, and several community stakeholders were in attendance. All guests were welcomed with appetizers and a punch station as they entered the Garner Lobby of The Dunn Center, followed by a brief Meet & Greet and dinner as they heard from Dr. Susan Haynes Little.

Guest speaker, Dr. Susan Haynes Little, Chief Nursing Officer/Chief Public Health Nurse for the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health.

During her speech, Dr. Little encouraged Wesleyan’s nursing students by reinforcing the importance of obtaining their BSN degree. “When I talk to nursing administrators, they tell me that their BSN-prepared nurses are better leaders. They tell me that they are also better at program management, data-informed decision making, writing and communicating. With current challenges facing public health, health equity, social justice and health economies—to name just a few—nurse leaders are positioned to shape the future of healthcare.”

This group included nurses entering the three cohorts of NCWC’s RN to BSN Program during its first full year of operation, which began August 2020. The 100% online, 34-credit hour program allows students to finish in as little as 12 months.

“Our Battling Bishop Nurses made a choice to earn their baccalaureate degree during a time of uncertainty due to the implications set forth by COVID-19 and now the Delta Variant,” stated Dr. Brittany Bass, NCWC’s Director of RN to BSN. “Thank you, Battling Bishop Nurses, for stepping to the plate during these times to expand your knowledge and nursing practice. It’s because of you that our communities will continue to thrive and be safe.”

A highlight of the event was a special scholarship announcement by Mark Hinson, NCWC’s Director of External Affairs and Annual Giving, reporting that among the nursing students actively taking courses at this time, the two students with the highest GPAs in the program will be receiving scholarships in the amount of $1,000.00 each. The remaining students will be receiving scholarships worth $500.00 each. This was made possible by two anonymous donors.

Stephanie Promish, the program’s first recipient of The DAISY Award

In addition, Stephanie Promish, the program’s first recipient of The DAISY Award, was honored and provided with a bouquet of daisy’s. Promish, who works as a Registered Nurse at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, was presented with The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nursing Students in May 2021, where she received a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and “A Healer’s Touch” sculpture symbolizing excellence and a love for nursing that is hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. She is the first recipient at NC Wesleyan since the inception of the College’s new partnership with The DAISY Foundation. This award is part of The DAISY Foundation’s mission to express gratitude to nurses with programs that recognize them for the extraordinary, compassionate and skillful care they provide patients and families.

Calling All Entrepreneurs: Bring Your Best Pitch to NCWC

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan College will host their first Nancy A. Shaw Entrepreneurship Competition on Tuesday, October 19 from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in the Garner Lobby at The Dunn Center. This competition is open to residents of Nash and Edgecombe counties, as well as faculty, staff and students at NC Wesleyan.

Participating entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to showcase a product, service or idea that they have created for domestic cats and/or dogs. The competition is judged in two parts. All participants will have their initial application and video reviewed by a panel of judges. These will then be narrowed down to the five best entrepreneurs, who will then present their pitch on October 19. Prizes will range from $1,500 for third place to $4,000 for the grand prize. There is no entry fee and the deadline for applying is September 23. The community is invited to come hear the presentations and enjoy light refreshments.

Dr. Nancy Shaw

“Dr. Nancy Shaw was a pioneer in health care and a life-long animal advocate. With the help of her endowment, NC Wesleyan will be able to establish its first endowed Professorship for its Pre-Vet major. Along with that, we now have the opportunity to host our new ‘Make Your Pitch’ Competition. What better way to honor an animal lover than to highlight pets and the importance they play in our lives,” stated Dr. Gena Messer-Knode, Dean of Career Services and Business Innovation.

The College announced in October 2020 that it had received $2,500,000 from the Dr. Nancy Shaw Trust. In addition to establishing its first endowed Professorship, the funds will create a highly-selective endowed scholarship, develop additional living and learning space and upgrade equipment in the College’s Biology, Biomedical, Environmental Science and Chemistry programs. The primary focus of Dr. Shaw’s trust is to benefit the health and care of felines, which was a passion of hers.

Dr. Shaw attended Brown University where she graduated magna cum laude and entered Brown University Medical School graduating in 1983. She completed her Internship at Framingham Union Hospital, Framingham, Massachusetts in 1985. Her Residency in Internal Medicine was completed at the Hospital of St. Raphael, New Haven, Connecticut in 1988. She became Board Certified in Internal Medicine in 1989. Dr. Shaw resided in North Carolina from 1992 -2012. During that time, she established the Hospitalist Programs for both Cabarrus Memorial Hospital, Concord, and Boice-Willis Clinic in Rocky Mount. She and her mother resided in Rocky Mount during these years.

Those who are interested in applying can visit bit.ly/ncwcpitch. For further information, please contact Dr. Gena Messer-Knode at gknode@ncwc.edu.