If you attend the Homecoming game at CNU Saturday afternoon, October 26, don't miss the halftime event announcing the winner of the Dr. Lois Wright Cup. Dr. Wright will be on the field, along with CNU President Paul Trible and a representative from the winning class.
Above is an Alumni Relations Office picture of the cup, which is currently on display in Klich Alumni House. Engraved on the cup is "The Lois Wright Cup." Engraved below it are these words: "Dr. Lois Wright, '62" and below that "Christopher Newport's First Graduate." The smaller print reads "This cup is presented each year to the young alumni class with the highest annual giving percentage." The award is not for the amount of money the class gives, but for the percentage of class members who donated to the class's gift.
Thirteen students entered CNC its opening year (1961-62) as sophomores, bringing with them a variety of credit hours. At the end of that first year, only one sophomore, Lois Wright, had all the required credit hours needed to qualify for the A.A. degree. Thus she was the first and the only recipient of the degree of Associate in Arts on June 8, 1962. To her surprise, she was literally the Class of 1962. She received her degree from then Director H.W. (Scottie) Cunningham in a private ceremony attended only by her parents.
Afterwards, Lois earned an A.B. in English at William and Mary, an M.S. in Social Work at VCU, and an Ed.Din Counseling at W&M. After a long and rewarding career at the University of South Carolina--Columbia, she retired in 2002 with the rarely bestowed title Distinguished ProfessorEmerita, having served USC as Professor, Assistant Dean, and then Director of The Center for Child and Family Studies.
RESPONSE TO HONORS
Wright Cup display in Klich Alumni House, including recent photo of Dr. Wright (Alumni Relations photo).
I asked Lois to share with our readers her response to this latest honor, as well as her earlier CNU honors. "I am delighted and humbled to have the Dr. Lois Wright Cup named after me," she began. She learned about the cup during a January 28th lunch with Baxter Vendrick, Director of Alumni Relations, who had emailed earlier that he wanted to meet with her about an idea involving her and her name. At the lunch he told her about the idea to create a Dr. Lois Wright Cup as a way to recognize and encourage young alumni class giving.
"Of course, I enthusiastically supported the idea!" Lois wrote, adding "The Cup is only the most recent in a succession of unexpected and unearned honors I have received from CNU. With each one, I have experienced awe and joy!" Her first honor was in 1986. "The occasion," she wrote, "was the 1986 commencement, honoring CNU’s 25th anniversary; I was asked to make some remarks." Her second honor, 26 years later, was being "invited back to be awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree during the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 12, 2012."
"My involvement with CNU grew," she continued, "when emphasis on the University’s early years was given a boost in the spring of 2011 through Dr. Jane Chambers’s work to recognize the First Decaders with a first ever reunion. Related to this effort, CNU built a display cabinet (photo right) and placed it in Trible Library to exhibit various objects related to my graduation—including my diploma, a picture of then Director Scotty Cunningham awarding me the A.A. degree, and my class pin. The display now resides in the Klich Alumni House. This third honor was followed by interviews and requests for articles related to my CNU experiences."
Lois at the 1969 Class Reunion Dinner, May 10, 2019 (Alumni Relations photo).
Lois feels honored also by attending the September gatherings and 50th reunions of the first decade classes. "Baxter and Jane have always given me special recognition," she wrote. "At these reunion dinners, my honor and responsibility has been to bless the food. This seemed easy enough—just a few words of thankfulness. However, finding the right words has been challenging. Each year I have struggled with what to say that was brief, inclusive, and meaningful and that reflected CNU’s values. But the reward for doing this task has been continually revisiting and rethinking what CNU and our association with it means to us all."
"And now this—not only having the Cup inscribed with my name but also being invited to help present it at the Homecoming game October 26th. I feel so blessed that CNU has repeatedly chosen to recognize and honor me for my small role in its history. I will never become blasé about these honors; I continue to be surprised, thrilled, and humbled. With each honor I used to ask if I deserved the recognition or how fate had brought it to me through no effort on my part. But now I just follow the advice of a wise friend: 'Don’t analyze it. Just say thank you!' Thank you, Christopher Newport, for all you have done for me and for other alumni. May we return your gifts through our generosity and service."
An essay by Lois Wright about her sophomore year at CNC
is on pages 182-185 of Memories of Christopher Newport College:
The First Decade, 1961-1971, by A. Jane Chambers, Rita C. Hubbard,
and Lawrence Barron Wood Jr. (Hallmark Publishing, 2008). ______________________________________________________________
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Published October 18, 2019
More Gosnold Hall Demolition Photos,
Plus CNU Information
by A. Jane Chambers
All five photographs posted here are courtesy of CNU's Alumni Society. All information here is courtesy of CNU's Executive Vice President, William L. (Bill) Brauer, who promptly replied to my evening emails. Bill's father was CNC's first Rector of the Board following the college's independence from William and Mary (1977) and Bill and his wife are CNC Second Decaders.
Bill Brauer wrote that the space where Gosnold stood since 1966 "will initially be turned into green space while we begin planning for the next addition to Forbes Hall." He further explained that "Forbes was built in two phases. The first phase resulted in the building that faces the Great Lawn. The second phase demolished the old science building [never named, it was located behind Newport Hall] and constructed a new wing in its place. The next addition to Forbes will be Phase III. This of course all depends on getting approval and funding from the state to move forward."
In this photograph and the next two, you can see a large group of boxes (white, with green and blue panels) piled up against a part of the building not yet demolished. I asked Bill if they contained material to be saved, such as printer paper. He replied that the boxes contain " old journals that we have in electronic form and no other library wanted" and that "they are being recycled." The boxes are closer in the photo below.
The visual contrasts in these five photographs--the beauty of the vivid greens of the thriving summer landscape (bushes, grass, trees) contrasting sharply with the ugly lifelessness of the debris--make me think of the closing lines of a short poem by the English poet Percy B. Shelley called "Mutability":
Are you currently FOR or AGAINST legalizing marijuana? What was your opinion on this topic in the 1960s? Has your opinion changed since then, or not? Why?
The article above, in which eight CNC students stated their views on legalizing marijuana, was published December 12, 1969, in CNC's student paper,The Captain's Log. Recently, copies of it were emailed to the four First Decaders quoted in it for whom we have contact information. They've been requested to send their current views on legalizing marijuana. So far, one of the four has replied (quoted below).
Robert (Bob) Schlagal wrote: It should be clear by now that marijuana should be legalized. There are many more reasons to use weed in 2019 than were apparent 50 years ago. These include the mitigation of pain, the improvement of sleep, the reduction of seizures, the lowering of elevated eye pressure, and the lowering of general stress--besides my earlier "aesthetic contemplation." The argument that its use is a gateway drug is no longer tenable; neither research nor personal experience support that claim. I did not go on to harder drugs nor did my friends from the 1960s. But sadly, I am no more enlightened than I was 50 years ago--perhaps because I stopped smoking so long ago?
Bob earned his BA in English at CNC in 1971, then his MA and PhD at UVA. He retired from Appalachian State University as professor of language, reading and exceptionalities. He and his wife, Kathy, a retired elementary school teacher, now live in Mexico, where Bob continues to teach Tai Chi.
We hope to hear the "Now" views of the other three First Decaders quoted in the 1969 Log article in time to publish those in our August 9th issue. We also eagerly await your "Then and Now" views on this topic! Please email them to email@example.com. Replies received no later than August 6th will be published on August 9th.
Published July 26, 2019
Farewell, Gosnold Hall,
Second Original CNC Building
by A. Jane Chambers
Photos and Mollick family details
courtesy of Beth Shepherd Mollick
Retired Christopher Newport couple Beth and Ron Mollick were very surprised Monday, July 8, to discover two-story Gosnold Hall under demolition. After working out at CNU's fitness center, the couple were cooling down by walking the campus when they stumbled upon the scene. Since the truck entry was open, they walked on in and Beth took these three pictures. Workers would not allow them to go inside the building, however, because of asbestos risk.
The photo above shows Dr. Mollick, surrounded by debris, peering into his former office in Gosnold. His long career in Christopher Newport's biology department began here in the fall of 1968. Gosnold had a major role in the lives of both Ron and Beth, for in the second year of his teaching, 1969, young instructor Ron taught biology to a class of Riverside School of Professional Nursing students that included an A student named Beth Shepherd, who would later become his wife.
As Beth photographed the beginning of the end of Gosnold, her mind was filled with memories not only of meeting her future husband there, but also of hours spent taking additional courses required for her nursing degree: chemistry, microbiology, and anatomy and physiology--all taught by professors other than Ron. She and Ron were married in 1972, after she completed her RN degree. After earning further degrees, Beth moved from Riverside nurse to Riverside faculty, while Ron, after finishing his PhD at N.C. State, rose up the ranks at CNC, then CNU, from instructor to full professor. He retired in 2011; she in 2013.
Built in 1965-66 and opened for classes in September 1966, Gosnold was the second building on what was then called the Shoe Lane Campus (The first building, Newport Hall, later renamed McMurran, opened in September 1964). The above photo of Gosnold is from the inside of the covers of the 1966 Trident yearbook--the only picture I have found thus far of the total structure. The two separate one-story units in front were razed about 2010, when construction began on Forbes Hall, CNU's latest science building, located immediately in front of Gosnold.
Gosnold Hall was the science building at CNC until replaced in 1984 with the unnamed "new Science Building" behind Newport Hall. From that point onward, Gosnold continued to serve the college off and on in ways many and varied--for example, providing temporary classrooms and offices for faculty and staff and being used as storage space. At one point in the early 2000s, the food and beverage cafe Einstein's was even located there.
Did Gosnold Hall once have a central role in your life? Are you sad to see the two-story building that held classrooms, labs, and offices demolished?
On Wednesday morning, April 17, 2019, 83 special tenth graders arrived at CNC on school buses from three Newport News public high schools: Warwick, Heritage, and An Achievable Dream. They had been selected by their schools to be in the inaugural class of Community Captains at the University. Accompanied by school counselors and administrators, they exited their buses with excitement and teenaged chatter. They were greeted by CNU staff, administrators, and student mentors and were followed throughout their campus adventure by Daily Press writer Matt Jones and photographer Jonathon Gruenke. Three days later, their first experience of CNU would be a front page story in the Daily Press, with the title "Paying a Lesson Forward" (Sat., April 20, 2019).
Daily Press photo by Jonathon Gruenke/DPStaff.
After registering in David Student Union, where they were given name tags and "goody bags" of assorted CNU gifts, the young visitors then gathered in the large Banquet Hall to hear an address by CNU President Paul Trible. Afterwards they met the CNU students who would be their mentors and tour guides for the day, taking them through the campus in small groups. Notice the blue and gold logo behind President Trible in the photo below, which reflects that this new program is the joint work of CNU and the Newport News Public Schools, headed by Superintendent George Parker III, who also attended this initial gathering.
Photo by CNU photography staff.
The Community Captains Program
This program was announced and described by CNU Rector Robert R. (Bobby) Hatten in his March 28, 2019 address at CNU's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon. He described it as "a comprehensive and thoughtful scholarship program to improve the impact of CNU on our Community for those who need it most ... a joint effort between the Newport News Public Schools and CNU to provide a college education to the most economically disadvantaged, but also the most academically motivated students in our public schools ...With Federal Pell grants, and a free food program from CNU, the cost of tuition and fees will be dramatically reduced ...[However] Our goal is to provide a completely free college education to each of these students."
Daily Press photo by Jonathon Gruenke/DPStaff.
Requirements for entering the Community Captains Program are explained in detail on the University's website. Basically, to be accepted into the program sophomore students from the three Newport News schools named above must have at least 3.4 GPAs or PSAT scores of at least 1150 (out of 1600), must also be first-generation college students, or must qualify for free or reduced school lunches. Those selected will then have, periodically, free, on-campus learning opportunities at CNU during their junior and senior high school years--such as educational, cultural and social events on campus, plus informative workshops on financial aid, career planning and academic success. In their senior year, they will also take a free for-credit statistics course on campus taught by a CNU professor. Each will also have a CNU student mentor for guidance and support while preparing for college.
To be accepted as CNU freshmen, these students must maintain at least a 3.4 grade average through high school graduation, score at least a 1050 on the SAT test, and fulfill all requirements at their high schools.CNU expects a total of approximately 25 students from these Newport News public high schools to qualify for admission to the University each year, with the first 25 entering the University in 2021.
In his Daily Press article of April 20, reporter Matt Jones described the Community Captains Program as being "conceived several years ago by CNU Provost David Doughty," who is pictured in the above CNU photograph talking with some of the high school sophomores during their orientation visit on April 17. Dr. Doughty "was inspired by partnerships CNU has with medical schools that help create pathways for students to attend Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg." Doughty's decision to make the GPA requirement 3.4 "was carefully chosen" in a study he made of some 125 college students "from local high schools." Comparing their high school GPAs with their college freshman GPAs, he found that "students with above a 3.4 GPA, which is lower than this year's freshmen class average GPA of 3.81, mostly continued their success in college." Doughty convinced President Trible, and then NNPS Superintendent George Parker III, to undertake the Community Captains Program.
This final photograph, taken by a CNU photographer, shows all 83 of the hopeful Newport News high school sophomores on the steps of Newport Hall at the end of their grand adventure, which also included lunch on campus at the Regattas dining hall. Differing in races and ethnic backgrounds, just as in shapes and sizes, they share two things: All are economically disadvantaged, but all are academically motivated. Will all 83 maintain that 3.4 or higher GPA their junior and senior years? Will all fulfill those additional requirements for admission to CNU in 2021? Or will their final number drop, as anticipated, to only 25? Let us wish "God speed" to all of them, whatever their futures may be.
Before Commencement 2019 began, three of the A.A. degree recipients from the Class of 1969 posed with two professors of that era, Dr. Mary Lu Royall (far left) and Dr. A. Jane Chambers (far right). The 1969 alumni are (L-R) Jesse T. Wallace, Jr., Robert E. Hines (holding the sign), and Sylvia Pearce Rumsey.
What a difference 50 years have made at Christopher Newport. In June 6, 1969, 16 students received A.A. degrees at what was then Christopher Newport College of the College of William and Mary--a two-year, or "junior" college. Compare that with the statistics for CNU's 2019 commencement (right), which includes the granting of masters degrees as well as baccalaureate degrees.
Two Before-and-After traditions at CNU's Commencements are shown above. Marching toward the Great Lawn to begin the program, each potential graduate tosses a penny into the fountain located near Pope Chapel (left photo). At the end of Commencement, the degree recipients then line up at the bell tower to ring the bell from the famous SS United States, completed in 1951 at the Newport News Shipyard. Dr. Sarah Forbes paid $40,000 for the bell at an auction and later gifted it to CNU.
Awards always highlight CNU's commencements. 1984 alumnus Gregory P. Klich (above right) has for years given an AcademicAchievement Award, which includes a monetary gift, to the graduate with the highest grade point average (GPA). This year, 3 students tied for that award. Mr. Klich also donated so generously to the Alumni House several years earlier that it was given his name (For more information on and photos of the Alumni House, click the Alumni House tab on this website).
The graduates shown above are the recipients of the Rosemary Trible Leadership and Service Awards. First Lady Rosemary Trible looks happy to be with these prize winners although--temporarily, we hope--being wheelchair bound. The photo below shows the graduates who are ROTC cadets as they take their U.S. Army officers' oath, administered by CNC President Paul S. Trible Jr.
This year's speaker was Suzanne Scheuble, daughter of 1981 CNC alumnus Dan Scheuble. She is only 22 years old, yet has already founded and is now operating a home for abandoned and orphaned children in Ethiopia. As a teenager, she witnessed Ethiopian babies being abandoned or suffering from starvation and diseases. After earning her bachelor's degree in child psychology in just two years at the University of North Florida, and consulting with pediatricians and child psychologists, Suzanne raised funds to develop the first specialized care homes for children in Ethiopia. For photos and more information, go to Lantu's Home of Hidden Treasures on Facebook.
As usual, CNU President Trible personally handed the degrees, one by one, to all 1,193 graduates--along with, in each case, a smile, a handshake, and a word of congratulation to each young scholar. It is a tradition he has followed for over two decades. Few institutions having over one thousand degree recipients each year include such a personal touch as this in their commencements. Also, whenever possible, CNU's First Lady Rosemary Trible stands at the exit of the stage to give each of the over one thousand happy graduates a hug, a smile, and a wish for continued success in life.
The loud booming of the confetti cannons, shooting colorful streamers skyward and into the audience, marked the end of yet another beautiful and successful CNU commencement.
The major highlight of CNU's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon this spring was a well-crafted speech by Robert R. (Bobby) Hatten, Rector of CNU's Board of Visitors. Best known for his legal work on behalf of victims of asbestos, Newport News native Hatten has long been a major supporter of Christopher Newport, influenced first by family members. As a teenager, he saw his uncle Barry Wood join the original faculty of CNC in its opening year, 1961. In 1965 he saw his grandparents Earl and Leone Hatten initiate a scholarship program with a $10,000 grant. In 1983, as a successful lawyer in Newport News, Bobby Hatten doubled that scholarship fund.
The theme of Hatten's speech to the very large group of CNU scholars and their donors was the importance of past, present, and future support of Christopher Newport. Hatten named major leaders past and present--politicians and presidents--who significantly contributed to the amazing growth and academic success of CNC, and then CNU. He paid tribute also to the numerous scholarship recipients and donors in the audience--all of whom, in various ways, are continuing the giving-and-receiving tradition resulting in lives of significance. And in the final part of his talk, quoted fully below, Rector Hatten announced and explained the following new scholarship program--"unique and ambitious"-- that will begin in 2012.
From "Just Say YES to CNU," pages 7 - 9
After a great deal of study, CNU’s Provost David Doughty and our President Paul Trible have designed a comprehensive and thoughtful scholarship program to improve the impact of CNU on our Community for those who need it most. It’s called the Community Captains Program--a joint effort between the Newport News Public Schools and CNU to provide a college education to the most economically disadvantaged, but also the most academically motivated students in our public schools. This is a unique and ambitious program, and as Rector of the Board of Visitors I am very proud to tell you about it.
Beginning in the 10th grade the Newport News Public Schools will identify students who are severely economically disadvantaged but are maintaining a 3.4 grade point average. The college will then begin working with those students, until they graduate from high school, providing tutors and mentoring, and routinely inviting them to campus to introduce them to the CNU experience.
While these students are still in high school, their parents will also be regularly invited to campus so that they can appreciate the possibilities of CNU for their child’s education. If the student maintains a 3.4 grade average through graduation and scores at least a 1050 on the SAT test, he or she will be guaranteed admission to CNU.
The University is expecting approximately 25 students from Newport News Public Schools to qualify for admission each year. The first beneficiaries of this program will enter CNU in 2021. With Federal Pell grants, and a free food program from CNU, the cost of tuition and fees will be dramatically reduced, but even a few thousand dollars of out-of-pocket expense will probably be beyond the financial reach of these families.
Our goal is to provide a completely free college education to each of these students. To start the process, I and others on the Board have already saidYESto sponsoring the cost of a student for four years. Other members of the community have also joined us.
All of you have saidYES TO CNUso many times. As you leave here today, we acknowledge and sincerely thank you for the generosity that each of you has already extended to CNU, but we also invite all of YOU to learn more about how you can contribute to the Community Captains Program.
We hope that many of you will say YES TO CNU one more time so that the University can provide a cost-free education for these deserving young students in Newport News. Best wishes and Godspeed to you all.
Christopher Newport's Bell Tower and Exedra, located between McMurran Hall and Forbes Hall, were both completed in 2014--just in time for that May's 50th Reunion of the Class of 1964 and Commencement for the Class of 2014. In October of 2014, the Bell Tower, Exedra, and the area holding them, named Hoinkes Plaza, were then dedicated in a ceremony honoring longtime CNU friends and supporters H. Dieter and Mary Elizabeth Hoinkes.
The Bell Tower and Bell
The Bell Tower initiated a new tradition. The top CNU photo, made after the closing of the 2014 Commencement, shows the roped off area at the tower and the CNU photographer (dark figure kneeling at left) waiting for the members of the Class of 1964 and then the Class of 2014 to arrive to ring the bell, one by one. Each of the over a thousand honorees were individually photographed. The photo on the right shows CNC Class of 1964 members Ray Bunn (left) and Jay Dunn holding the bell’s rope.
The Tower’s bell is from the famous 990-foot luxury ocean liner the SS United States, built with pride by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in the early 1950s, completed in 1952, and recognized worldwide as the fastest ocean liner in the world. The bell was a gift to CNU from the late Dr. Sarah Elizabeth Forbes, a great CNU friend and benefactor, who purchased the bell at a 1984 SS United States auction in Norfolk for $30,000. It was housed first in Windmill Point Restaurant in Nags Head, NC, owned by Dr. Forbes. When given to CNU, the bell was then housed in Trible Library before the tower was built for it. Forbes Hall, next to the Bell Tower, is named in memory of Mary Brock Forbes, the mother of Dr. Forbes.
The above photo of the famous bell when housed in Trible Library is from History Scout, a blog by CNU alumnus A. J. Jelonek. The photo left below, showing the bell inside the Bell Tower, is from CNU's Captain's Log (9.18.14 issue) and was taken by Tyrus Wood. Right below is the obituary photo of Dr. Forbes, who died in an automobile accident in 2011.
The presence of a ship’s bell is very appropriate on a campus named for the famous ship’s captain who led the small fleet to Jamestown in 1607. The bell honors those early mariners as well as those who built and those who sailed the SS United States. Many Christopher Newport alumni have been and/or are now, along with their families and friends, closely connected to the Shipyard, a pillar of our community for generations. In varying ways, the Bell Tower honors the past while celebrating the present and ringing in traditions that will continue in the future at Christopher Newport.
The word exedra (ex.e. dra) comes from the Greek ex (out) and hedra (a seat), meaning an outdoor seat. Created by the Greeks and popular in ancient Greece and Rome, exedrae (plural) were stone or marble benches, usually semicircular, with high backs. They provided outdoor places for people to sit, rest, and converse. They were also popular gathering places for philosophers and their students. The photo above, by Kay Rinfrette, shows the left side of CNU's Exedra, with the first three panels filled with dates and names under the word CHRISTOPHER in gold letters. Panels to be filled in the future are under the gold words NEWPORT (middle of the exedra) and UNIVERSITY (right side). The three photos below are also by Kay.
Located just behind the Bell Tower, CNU’s Exedra is a place to sit, rest, talk, and enjoy classes outside in pleasant weather, but it was built primarily to honor retired faculty and staff who played significant roles in the history of Christopher Newport, including serving the institution ten years or more. Engraved on the panels are their names, listed in order of the years in which they retired or in which they died while in service.
The first panel, above, under the gold letters C. H. R. I., begins (top left) with retirement year 1970 and ends with retirement year 1993. Those who died in service (e.g., Mr. Usry and Dean Nancy Ramseur) are listed by year of death. First decade students and faculty will probably recognize many names in this panel. The second panel (below left), under the gold letters S. T. O., covers retirement years 1995–2006. Some people listed here served from the first or early second decade (e.g., Booker, Bostic, MacLeod, Winter, Wood). The third panel (below right), under P. H. E. R., lists retirees of 2007–2013. Few readers will find familiar names here, although Dr. Wayne Schell (also a CNC alumnus) and Dr. Mario Mazzarella are listed. Soon more names will begin to appear in the fourth panel as this historical record continues.
Hoinkes Plaza was dedicated on October 18, 2014. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend. Class of 1964 members Jay Dunn and Sonny Short agreed to take pictures and send me their reports of the event, so there was an article posted on the website, which included their photos, a few of which are posted here.
The photo above, taken by Jay Dunn, shows H. Dieter Hoinkes and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Hoinkes, holding a framed picture of the Plaza given to them by CNU's President Paul Trible (left). Mr. and Mrs. Hoinkes are longtime CNU friends and generous benefactors who have donated both financially and personally to the University. In 2014 they contributed generously to the Defining Significance campaign. They also gave CNU several gifts-in-kind and established an endowed scholarship for the President’s Leadership Program students. In addition, Mary previously served on CNU’s Board of Visitors (Voyages, Summer 2014, p. 13).
Presentation of the picture followed speeches by President Trible and Mary Hoinkes, delivered in front of the exedra, which Jay called "an excellent backdrop." Before and after the formal ceremony, guests visited the two refreshment tents providing beverages, fruits, hors d'oeuvres and desserts Sonny described as "First Class" (photo left above, by Sonny) and studied the exedra to find their names and/or the names of people they know or knew engraved on the panels (photo right, by Jay). After the program, many also rang the bell. More details about and pictures of the Dedication are in the article Dedication of CNU’s Hoinkes Plaza:Photos and Comments, located in our website's Archives (tab in left margin of Home), under sub tab Your News, a little over halfway down.
Retired U.S. Navy Captain David Spriggs (photo above) received the A. Jane Chambers Award for Volunteer Service at CNU's Alumni Awards Reception held on Friday evening, August 17th, at the Gregory P. Klich Alumni House on CNU's campus. Established in 2014 by the Alumni Society, this award is given annually to a non-graduate of CNU who has provided outstanding volunteer service to the Christopher Newport community. David entered CNC as a freshman in the fall of 1964, but moved to Annapolis after successfully completing his first semester, having been accepted at the U.S. Naval Academy there.
Chris Inzirillo, President of the Alumni Society, read the nominations for the various awards, announced the winners in each of the five categories, and posed with each recipient for official CNU photographs. Since David Spriggs was, unfortunately, unable to attend the event, his award's namesake was asked to accept the award on his behalf--hence the photo (right) of Chris and me holding the award, which is currently being held in the Office of Alumni Relations Director Baxter Vendrick. Baxter will present it to "Cap'n Dave" at the September 16th First Decaders Luncheon at CNU.
David was nominated for this award because he has ably served voluntarily as Chairman ("Captain") of the CNC First Decaders since the group's beginnings, in 2010. Using the CNC Trident yearbooks and available commencement programs from the first decade, he created and regularly updates a roster of First Decaders with contact information. He organized the First Reunion of the group, a 2- day and 2-night event held in 2011 at CNU and attended by well over 200. Shortly after that, he initiated annual September Picnic reunions, held from 2012 - 2017 at Newport News Park. Beginning this year, 2018, these reunions will be indoor events, the first one scheduled for September 16th at CNU. Such events help keep the First Decaders engaged in both our CNC past and our CNU present and future.
Two people were nominated for the Chambers Award. Upon learning via email that he was the winner, Dave sent the following email to the other members of the First Decaders Crew: I want all of you to know that whatever accomplishments were reported in the nomination and resulted in my receiving the award were only made possible by the hard work of all of you. If it were up to me, this award would be equally divided among us. Cap’n Dave
Hosted by the Alumni Society Board of Directors, the 2017-18 Awards Reception was attended by over a dozen nominees for the five awards and also by alumni leaders, faculty, staff, and President and Mrs. Trible. President Trible addressed the gathering before presentation of the awards. Delicious hors-d'oeuvre and various beverages were served before and after the ceremony. The above CNU photo shows the winners who were present and President Trible.
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Published August 31, 2018
Alumnus Dr. Michael Engs To Be Featured
in Book about African American Students
at William and Mary
by A. Jane Chambers
Michael S. Engs (Ed.D.), Christopher Newport's first black student, will be one of the African American alumni of The College of William and Mary since the 1960s featured in a book scheduled for publication in early 2019. Written by Jacquelyn Y. McLendon (Ph.D.), Emerita Professor of English and Africana Studies at William and Mary, the book will include the CNC yearbook photograph of Michael shown here, quotations from Michael's essay "Christopher Newport College 1965: A Sanctuary from the Draft," inMemories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, 1961-1971, and other information about Michael provided to Dr. McLendon through her correspondence with him and with me.
Michael Engs as a CNC freshman. 1966 Trident, p. 64.
Michael completed his freshman and sophomore studies at CNC in 1965-67. He then completed his four-year degree at W&M in 1969, one of the first African Americans to graduate from that prestigious institution. In his above-mentioned essay in Memories, published in 2008, he recalled with fondness those two years at CNC: "What struck me ... was the ease with which [CNC] accepted people of color.... There were no 'special programs' or assumptions that deficiencies in a student's educational background might exist. No suggestion that race was the basis for your being accepted. What Christopher Newport offered was a level playing field, a place where I could succeed or fail on my own merits" (pp. 197-198).
Photo of Dr. Jacquelyn Y. McLendon courtesy of William and Mary.
Dr. McLendon, who is also Director Emerita of Black Studies at W&M, has publishedscholarly books and articles on African American writers, focusing onwomen and the Harlem Renaissance, and has edited American and African American literature anthologies. The working title of her book including Michael Engs is Building on the Legacy: The Black Presence at William & Mary, with the additional subtitle: An Illustrated History of 50 Years and Beyond. The publisher is Donning, a division of Walsworth Publishing Company, which specializes in illustrated histories. She anticipates getting her manuscript to Donning in August. The turnaround time for publication will then be about six months, so the book will probably be published in early 2019. It will be reviewed on this website.
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Published August 3, 2017
Scholarship Recipients Met Professors
Wood and Chambers
at CNU's Annual Scholarship Luncheon
by A. Jane Chambers
Scholarship recipients Lydia Lorenti and Amanda Duvall met each other andemeriti professors L. B. (Barry) Wood, Jr. and A. Jane Chambers at the 26th Annual President's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon and Program held in the Freeman Center Field House on March 29, 2018. Seated together for the meal and program, the four posed afterward for the CNU photo below, showing (L-R) Dr. Wood, Lydia Lorenti, Amanda Duvall, and Dr. Chambers.
Dr. Wood attended as donor representative for the W.T. Patrick, Jr. Endowed Scholarship in Science, established in March 1985 by Mrs. W. E. Patrick, Jr., widow of Dr. Patrick, a local dentist who was one of Barry Wood's uncles. The award goes annually to the science major with the highest GPA among current CNU science majors. Doctors Wood and Chambers enjoyed meeting the winner for this academic year, Lydia Lorenti, who is a graduating senior with a major in physics and a minor in mathematics. She has had summer internships at Jefferson Lab, exposing her to "cutting-edge nuclear physics," belongs to Sigma Pi Sigma, the Physics Honor Society, and has been admitted to CNU's Master's Program in applied physics. After completing her master's degree, Lydia plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics and then, ultimately, to become a full-time researcher in nuclear or particle physics.
Dr. Chambers attended the event as donor representative for the H. Westcott Cunningham Endowed Leadership Scholarship, established in 2007 by the Cunningham family and friends of Scotty Cunningham. Doctors Chambers and Wood enjoyed meeting Amanda Duvall, one of three CNU students to receive the Cunningham scholarship this year. A junior majoring in English with a writing concentration and a double minor in philosophy and leadership, Amanda is also interested in marine biology and has been working with the Green Team to restore local wetlands. She is a member of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity International and also volunteers at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. Amanda plans to become a journalist or a lawyer. Professors Wood and Chambers enjoyed meeting these two scholarship recipients, Lydia and Amanda, and wish them well in their future endeavors.
Sharing our table at this event was also Mrs. Janie Wolf, representing the William D. Wolf Endowed Memorial Scholarship, in memory of her husband, whose death occurred during his tenure in the English Department. Having traveled from Kansas for this donor and recipient luncheon, she was disappointed that the Wolf scholar did not attend. Absent too (also for reasons unknown) were the other two recipients of the Cunningham scholarship.
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Published May 11, 2018
Mid-Size Cruise Ship Benefits
by CNC First Decader Ron Lowder
My wife Maureen and I have been on quite a few cruise ships, large and small, and have enjoyed all. But the latest cruise we took, on Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, gave us a new respect for midsize cruise ships. We took a cruise on the Navigator January 5 - 14 with a group of six of our relatives. Our Southern Caribbean 9-day cruise left from Miami, visiting Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao-- collectively known to some experienced cruisers as the ABC cruise. This cruise had a side benefit of allowing us to escape the major snowstorm that occurred at home, but we had to depart for Miami a day early in order to miss the storm. Our cruise itinerary was also affected by the storm as rough seas prohibited our stop at Labadie, Haiti, Royal Caribbean's private island (disappointing, but a small price to pay for missing the local storm).
Royal Carribean's Navigator of the Seas. Photo by Royal Carribean.
The Navigator, with a capacity of 3,807 passengers, was launched in 2002 and had its latest renovation in 2014. Having been on a number of ships of various sizes, we prefer a mid-sized ship. The smaller ships seem to become boring after a while and the larger ships (with passenger capacities pushing 6,000), while providing a greater variety of on-board venues, seem to lack the charm of a “small town” ship like the Navigator. Additionally, it can take quite a journey if you are walking from one end of a large ship to the other for an activity.
There is plenty to do on the Navigator. My favorite place was the Promenade, which is much like a downtown “main street” with shops, bars, restaurants, an ice cream stand and a stage which hosts frequent entertainment throughout the day and night. It was a great place to just sit, relax and engage in people watching.
Photo from Cruise Critic Website
My second favorite place was the Casino. Much like a casino in Vegas, this ship's casino has an exciting atmosphere with a variety of gaming tables and video machines.
The Navigator has an ice skating rink, a rare venue on cruise ships. During our cruise, there were various ice shows scheduled. The show we saw was superbly done and very entertaining. The ice rink is also available to passengers occasionally for ice skating and other activities. The floor of the rink can be covered with a platform for non-ice events--truly an engineering marvel.
Another unique activity on this ship is the Flow Rider, a wave-generating ride that simulates the shallow water near an ocean beach to facilitate surfing. For safety, only one surfer at a time can use this ride, which is especially popular with younger guests.
Photo from Cruise Critic Website
My wife, who goes to the gym every day (both at home and on a cruise), tried out the rock climbing wall, which is quite large. The object of the climb is to ring the bell (circled in yellow). The wall is about 75% of the width of the ship and about 40 feet tall. She did well, getting maybe 20 feet high--20 more feet than I could have done. Not bad for someone scared of heights!
Other interesting sites on the ship include a huge outdoor screen where movies and sporting events are shown, a multi-sport court (volleyball game pictured at left), a spa and fitness center, a solarium, a gigantic auditorium where several live shows a day are presented, and many specialty restaurants.
Not all ships are created equal. Some, like the Navigator, were created with “creature pleasing” attributes that others do not possess, no doubt due to a gifted ship designer. An example of this fact is the furniture and layout of the Navigator's Viking Crown Lounge, which occupies the 14th level of the ship. Not only do passengers have a fabulous 180-degree view of the front of the ship and the waves as the ship gracefully parts them, but they can also enjoy beverages of their choice in the comfort of an exquisite living-room-like setting.
The Navigator is truly a ship with a personality and worth considering if you are planning a cruise. Further material about this ship (and many others) can be found at www.royalcaribbean.com, and www.cruisecritic.com. Another great resource for exploring cruise possibilities is Mr. Kent Fagala at www.vacationstogo.com. Kent is very easy to work with, has a wealth of knowledge regarding cruise options, and goes out of his way to ensure you have a great experience at the very best price. Happy cruising!
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Published March 30, 2018
Alumna Pam Vaughan Honored with
Lifetime Achievement Award
by A. Jane Chambers
“It was a truly amazing, truly wonderful career. I was blessed to have
worked for and with so many great people and to have
had mentors who always pushed me to get involved
and work to make a difference."
Pamela R. Vaughan
Pam Vaughan is shown receiving her award from VCUL President Rick Pillow. This and the next 2 photos in this article are courtesy of Pam.
It was, Pam Vaughan wrote, "a proud moment" and "tremendous honor" when the Virginia Credit Union League (VCUL) presented her with the James P. Kirsch Lifetime Achievement Award. The presentation took place on April 27, 2017 at VCUL's 83rd Annual Meeting in Roanoke. The award recognized not only her 40 years' career in the credit union system, but also her significant contributions to the forward movement of and charitable work of Virginia's credit unions.
Pam began her career in the credit union system while still a CNC student majoring in English in the very early 1970s. She worked during summer breaks and school holidays as a teller at the Newport News Shipbuilding Employees Credit Union (NNSECU). “I thought I was destined to be a teacher after college, but credit unions and Ed Bennett [ the general manager at the credit union] had other ideas,” she said.
During her 9 years with NNSECU, Pam served in various roles, including loan officer, collections officer, training officer and Customer Service Representative. With her first mentor Ed Bennett behind her, she became involved in public relations work and community outreach. She connected with the Virginia Credit Union League (VCUL), helping coordinate credit unions’ work with lawmakers in Richmond and Washington and serving on various chapter committees and in several leadership roles.
In the mid-1970s Pam connected with the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB), which encouraged credit unions to expand membership eligibility to the children and grandchildren of existing members. Her work with NYIB was a career highlight, as she traveled extensively in Virginia to meet with credit union boards to discuss policies to expand their memberships to young people. She thus helped bring about a major shift in credit unions' policies, allowing Virginia's credit unions to market their benefits and banking services to a large new group of people.
Although enjoying her work at NNSECU (now Bay Port Credit Union), Pam accepted an offer in the early 1980s to do public relations work full-time at Langley Federal Credit Union. “I had the opportunity," she said, " to start my career with one credit union legend in Ed Bennett and move on to work for another legend in Jean Yokum at Langley.” She stayed at Langley for 20 years. During that time, she also continued to work with VCUL, serving on various committees, and worked also with the Hampton Roads Chapter of Credit Unions and its Southside counterpart, the Tidewater Chapter, which supported credit unions in Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth and Suffolk.
She also served for 12 years on the VCUL's Community Involvement Committee, which supports the charitable work of Virginia-based credit unions. During her 12 years of service, including time as the committee’s vice chairman, Virginia-based credit unions contributed more than $2 million combined to their two key charities: Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.
Pam moved on in the 1990s to a position with Hampton Roads Educators’ Credit Union, and then took a 3-year break from the credit union system. However, when her second mentor, Langley's Jean Yokum, encouraged her to come back to credit unions, Pam accepted a position at Bronco Federal Credit Union, in Franklin, VA, in 2002. "Joining Bronco," she says, " was like coming back home." In 2017 she retired as Marketing and Human Resources Manager,
The main thing Pam learned from her 40-years' career is that “Real change [in the world] requires that you work through the process; it requires patience. Call it maturity, but I think that’s an important lesson for all of us in our professional and personal lives, and I hope that’s a lesson I passed on to those I worked with.” She also said of her career, “It’s been a great ride. I feel truly blessed to have worked with so many wonderful people over the years and to have had a hand in helping so many credit union members and the community. I had the opportunity to prove that adage that if you find a job you love, you’ll never really work a day in your life.”
PAMELA ROSE (PAM) VAUGHAN, a member of CNC's second baccalaureate class, received her B. A. in English in 1972. At CNC she was also on the second Women’s Basketball Team, 1969-70, and a charter member of the first sorority at CNC, Pi Kappa Sigma, which began in Spring of 1970. Pam and her husband, Jimmy Riddle, live in Walters, VA.
Senior photo of Pam in the 1972 Trident, p. 80.
SOURCE: In addition to Pam herself, the main source of Information for this article was "Pam Vaughan honored by VCUL," byLewis Wood, published in the May 31, 2017 issue of The Tidewater News.
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Published March 2, 2018
Alumnus Joel Lewis's Visit to Poland:
Part 1: Auschwitz, Where
His Family Members Were Murdered
by A. Jane Chambers
Note: January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which commemorates the genocide that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 6 million Jews, 200,000 Romani (Gypsies), 250,000 mentally and physically disabled people, and 9,000 homosexual men by the Nazi regime and its collaborators (Wikipedia).
Railroad tracks to the main entrance of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where 6,000 people were murdered daily in 4 gas chambers. Visible left and right are the 13-foot tall electric fences surrounding the huge complex close to Krakow, Poland. All photos here are from the Internet.
CNCalumnus Joel Lewis was always aware of his Polish roots. He grew up eating foods from "the old country" and looking at pictures of, and listening to sad remembrances of, family killed in the Holocaust simply because, like him, they were Jewish. In high school and college, studying about World War II and the Holocaust, he recalls that "while recoiling from what I read and the pictures I saw, it was still more academic than real to me"-- maybe because "the horror was so enormous" that his mind could handle it only by turning "the pictures and words" into "bad fiction."
When a woman from Poland, Kasia, who had married into his extended family, invited Joel and his wife, Gail, to spend two weeks visiting Poland with her and her husband, "We leapt at the chance," says Joel. Kasia also offered to be their tour guide, planning the trip in detail and providing histories for every stop. Joel was eager not only to find where his family roots were established, but also to "see, feel, and experience history instead of relying on academia or news reel footage."
The German words above this infamous gate to Auschwitz-Birkenau, ARBEIT MACHT FREI, translate as "Work liberates" or "Work makes one free"--a popular Nazi slogan posted in many concentration or death camps. How ironic! The few prisoners in each trainload that entered Auschwitz and were not immediately killed, male and female, labored as much as 12 hours daily on starvation rations until they died of disease or starvation or just collapsed, at which point they were shot dead. The first building on the left was a brothel for SS officers and special "hard-working" (but non-Jewish) prisoners. In his book, Auschwitz, A New History, Laurence Rees says that the women brothel workers, supposedly non-Jewish prisoners, had to have sex with approximately 6 men daily (15 minutes per man) and were given "good food" and allowed to "take walks." Did any of them believe this Arbeit would lead to their freedom?
Joel's family group did not immediately go to Auschwitz; first they enjoyed some of the country's beauty and its people, whom Joel found "industrious, friendly, and eager to engage." He found that restaurants served foods he ate as a child and people used expressions used by his parents and grandparents. "Many of the Yiddish words" his family spoke when he was a child, he learned, "had Polish as well as Germanic roots. I promptly felt I had come home." He found it "wonderful having these connections repeatedly." When the time came to visit Auschwitz," that hell on earth," he felt "much trepidation about going there," but knew he had to go.
Joel's group spent over three hours touring Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest and most infamous concentration and death camp of some dozen such camps in Poland. Originally built as a Polish army camp, the compound includes over 20 brick barracks that survived WW II essentially intact, plus numerous wooden barracks built by prisoners, most of them in ruins. The barracks were designed to house several thousand Polish soldiers, but the camp eventually had some 1.5 million souls pass through it, most to be killed and then cremated. Below is a photo of the inside of one of the wooden barracks, where men were packed like sardines into mattress-less bunks. There were skylights but no windows, no electricity, little or no heat in winter, no water, and only a few buckets at each end to serve overnight as toilets.
Joel describes how he felt during this time: " The day was very hot. I felt myself sweating both from the heat outside and from what I felt inside, my body crying for the souls that were so tortured and died in such horrible ways. As we walked from place to place, seeing more evidence of man's cruelty to mankind, the hot wind rustling the leaves of trees made me feel the dead were whispering 'Never forget what happened here, what happened to us.' The abomination of what took place there was overwhelming. I wondered how could this happen? How could some humans do such horrible things to other humans? I thought surely nothing else I could see could disturb me further. That is, until I headed into the gas chamber."
In the photo above, the opening in the thick wall (left) is where a doorway was once. The gas chamber was originally a morgue for holding bodies that were to be cremated. When prisoners exited the cattle cars that had transported them to Auschwitz, they were divided into two groups: those who were fit enough for labor, and those who were not--the sick, the elderly, mothers of young children and their children. The latter were told they were going to take showers. They undressed outside, then entered one of the 7 gas chambers at Auschwitz, each of which could hold hundreds of people. They were killed with Zyklon B, a cyanide-based pesticide. It was a horrible death, causing suffocation. Any who were still alive when the room was opened were promptly shot.
Joel remembers seeing on the walls "scratch marks that are still very visible," made by people "desperately trying to survive," to find a way out. "Touching those marks made these people real to me, as real as if I could see them struggling to get out, their way again of saying 'Do not forget what was done here and do not forget us.' I promised them I would never forget them and that I would be their voice in letting people know the monstrous evil that was done in Auschwitz."
Most of the five crematoriums and gas chambers at Auschwitz were destroyed, or partly destroyed, when the Nazis learned the allied forces were coming to free the prisoners. This last picture shows four ovens and the trolleys that moved the dead prisoners to the ovens, which operated virtually non-stop, burning hundreds of bodies daily. The ashes were removed from the doors below the openings of the furnaces. The ashes were thrown into the nearby river, or buried, or used as fertilizer.
Joel remembers that when the tour ended and he was returning to the tour bus, "I was struck by the thought of how many doctors, inventors, authors, Nobel laureates, and other wonderful people died at Auschwitz. Their needless deaths deprived humanity of countless wonders and treasures. This realization served to increase my sorrow, not just for my family's loss, but for the loss to humanity."
NOTE: Some additional coverage of Auschwitz will be in Part 2 of this article, which will focus primarily on a great uncle of Joel's who was formally executed for refusing to help the Nazis and is honored as a hero.
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Published January 19, 2018
Cunningham Welcome Center
by A. Jane Chambers
Below is a copy of the Invitation that I will be sending quite soon by email to all CNC First Decaders for whom I have current email addresses. Anyone interested in attending this event who is not on my email list should contact me firstname.lastname@example.orgASAP to get the emailed invitation. Responding to it is most important. Please note the RSVP date as well as the date, place, and time of the ceremony.
When he sent me this copy of the invitation, Alumni Relations Director Baxter Vendrick wrote that those being invited include past and present members of the Board of Visitors, donors to the Cunningham Scholarship, emeriti faculty, "a host of other folks" and of course, members of the Cunningham family and President and Mrs. Trible. The event will be, he added, "a grand ceremony."
Published November 10, 2017
Cunninghams' Daughter Visits
Brandon Heights Home:
Christopher Newport's First Presidential Mansion
by A. Jane Chambers
Photo by our webmaster, Ron Lowder. Unless otherwise stated, all recent photos in this article were taken by Ron, and all 1960s photos are from the Cunningham Family Collection, courtesy of Ann Cunningham Stachura.
Using Facebook, I was able to connect recently with the family living in what was, in the 1960s, CNC's first Presidential Mansion. It is located in Newport News at 25 Shirley Road in the Brandon Heights neighborhood next to Hilton Village (photo above). The lovely home is occupied now by Chris and Lauri Poole Nosil, who bought it in 2006, and their daughter, Sydney, a junior at Peninsula Catholic High School. Chris and Lauri were especially excited to learn their home was, in the 1960s, the home of CNC'S first president, H. Westcott (Scotty) Cunningham, and his family, because both are CNC alumni. Chris, a systems engineer in the Newport News Shipyard, earned his degree in computer science in 1988, and Lauri, the business manager at Trinity Lutheran School, earned her degree in finance in 1989.
Correspondence among the Nosils, Ann Cunningham Stachura (the Cunninghams' daughter) and me led to a meeting and tour of the home on Saturday afternoon, August 5. Ann drove down from Maryland, with a collection of 1960s family photos made at 25 Shirley Road, and her nephew Todd Waddell Cunningham, Jr. drove down from northern Virginia. He is a senior at George Mason. Shown above on the front steps of the one-time Cunningham home are (top) Lauri and Chris Nosil and (bottom) Ann and Todd.
Ann's collection included (above left) another 4 people posed on these same steps (minus the black railing) circa 1961--(front) Cecil Cary (Cecy) Cunningham with daughter, Ann, and (back) Cecy's parents, Doris and Cecil Waddell, who lived in Gloucester, VA. Notice the decorative white shutters on each side of the front door--not there now. They matched the white shutters at the front windows in the photo above right of Cecy and Ann, posed left of the porch. Based on their clothing, these two pictures were apparently taken on the same day. The house still has decorative window shutters, although not white (see first photo).
The photo above shows the group of us socializing in the living room, located on our left as we entered the front door. Clockwise from bottom left are Ann C. Stachura, Lauri Nosil, Todd Cunningham, Jr, Chris Nosil, note-taker Kay Rinfrette, and me. Present also but taking the picture was Ron Lowder, our webmaster and photographer. The wide opening next to Chris leads into the dining room. The main feature in the living room is the fireplace with, on each side, built-in bookcases and with low cabinets. These were there when the Cunninghams purchased the house, as shown in the two photos below of young Ann and her little brother, Todd.
Ann was born in May of 1960, while Cecy and Scotty were still living in Williamsburg. Their son, Todd Waddell Cunningham , was born in June of 1962. The photo left shows the children at about ages 2 and 4, probably during Christmas, since there are some Christmas decorations on the mantelpiece and a decorated stocking hanging from one corner of the fireplace screen. the photo right shows them at about 1 and 3.
The dining room, adjacent to the living room, was the second room we explored. Here we looked at Ann's collection of 1960s photos and an interesting newspaper article about Cecy circa 1961-62, based on the photos and content in it. Left to right in the above photo are Ann, Chris, me and Lauri. Behind Chris is the entrance to the kitchen.
The half-century-old pictures showed how very little had changed in the house since the Cunninghams lived there. For example, the old photo of the dining room (right), looking toward the living room, could almost be mistaken for a current photo. As Ann said often during the tour, the house was exactly as she remembered it, except for changes in paint colors and furnishings. Because she had lived there from her toddler days through grade three at Hilton Elementary School, 25 Shirley Road was still her first home, thus etched forever in her memory.
Entering the kitchen, Ann noticed that aside from newer appliances and a different floor covering, nothing major had changed (photo above, with Lauri). The same built-in cabinets were there, still white, and the stove and refrigerator were located in the same places. The windows still looked out on the same screened porch and beyond it, the same back yard. And the laundry room entrance was still to the right of the stove.
The picture below left, of Cecy and Todd, circa 1964-65, shows the same locations then as now of the stove and laundry room entrance. The other photo, of Ann and Todd at their own little kitchen table, shows the same white cabinets with black (or very dark) tops.
Next to the screened porch, and adjacent to the dining room, is a room the Cunninghams called the Sun Porch and the Nosils call he Sun Room, because of its numerous windows looking out on the back yard. The photo left, dated 1965, was made in that room, according to Ann, on a very special Christmas day, when at age 5 she got her aqua-colored E-Z Bake Oven, which she was proudly showing off in this picture. Todd, unimpressed, was more interested in his new cowboy outfit.
The last downstairs room, the Nosils' den, located to the right of the front door entry, has the paneled walls that were quite popular in mid-20th century America. Now painted white, and with light-colored carpeting and a new white ceiling, the room is very light and airy. The photo above shows Ann (left) sharing her memories of the room with Lauri and me.
Dens were always dark in the sixties. That was the style. In this 1965 photo (right) of 3-year-old Todd happily making a mess at the couch, almost everything in the room is dark green--carpet, couch, window trim and walls. The Cunninghams called this room the Play Room. It was the children's favorite place to play, and when their parents were entertaining adults such as CNC faculty or Peninsula leaders, she and Todd played here until bedtime.
Part 2 of this article will be a continued tour of 25 Shirley Road, focusing on the upstairs rooms and the back yard, with more then and now photographs and some editorial observations.
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Published October 13, 2017
Cunninghams' Daughter Visits
Brandon Heights Home:
Christopher Newport's First Presidential Mansion
by A. Jane Chambers
How many of us older citizens, after half-a-century, have had an opportunity to visit our first childhood home? In too many cases, that home has been demolished, or has fallen into a state of decay, along with its neighborhood. Happily, no such sad fate has befallen the Brandon Heights home of CNC's first president and his family. Ann Cunningham Stachura found 25 Shirley Road very much as it was in the 1960s, and occupied by the warm and welcoming Nosil family, Chris and Lauri Nosil (both CNC alumni) and their teenaged daughter, Sydney.
Part 1 of this article focused on the downstairs of this lovely home; this part shows the upstairs and the backyard, with then and now comparisons. The above photo, by Ron Lowder, shows Ann in the master bedroom, sharing a happy memory with everyone, including her nephew Todd Cunningham, Jr., to the right. This room, with front and side yard views, was her parents' bedroom for eight years of her early childhood.
The room next to the master bedroom, with side and back yard views, was Ann's bedroom from toddler hood until she was five or six. It is now the Nosil family's guest room (photo by Lauri Nosil). Next to it is a room (not shown) that is currently a craft room but earlier was a playroom for Sydney, the Nosils' daughter. In the 1960s, it was young Todd's room.
Sydney's room, which looks out on the backyard and the other side yard, was young Ann's "Big Girl Room"--special because it had an adjoining bathroom. An edge of the entrance to this bathroom is visible in the bottom right corner of the above photo, also taken by Lauri. Like most of the rooms in the house, Sydney's has bright touches of color that create a warm atmosphere.
The main bathroom is conveniently located across the hall from the guest bedroom and adjacent to the master bedroom. The above photo, by Lauri, could have been made in the 1960s or earlier, when black and white wall tiles and floor tiles were very popular. The trend then for all white bathroom fixtures is also currently enjoying a revival in America.
Why is there no half bath downstairs? When this house was built, in 1941, bathrooms were always located close to bedrooms--never near living rooms, dining rooms, or kitchens. In two-story houses, the bathroom (usually only one) was upstairs, like the bedrooms. Having a half bath was not yet imagined--except, perhaps, in the homes of the extremely wealthy.
The above second-story view of the backyard (photo by Ron Lowder) shows some similarities and differences since the 1960s. The yard is still enclosed by a fence, although a different one, and there is still a large grassy area. Where the small shed is now, at the far right corner at the back, there was a play house. Where the brick patio is (a small piece visible, lower right) was a play area with swing set, sliding board, and sandbox.
These remaining pictures, from the Cunningham Family Collection, were made in the 1960s. The photo left is a view of most of the back of the Shirley Road house circa 1961, with toddler Ann sitting in the grass. The screened porch (left) still looks the same. The sun room (partly visible, right) had louvered glass windows, later replaced.
The backyard was the favorite outdoor play area. Since Ann's birthday was May 19th and Todd's June 5th, their birthday parties were always held there. The left photo below shows young Todd (seated) opening one of his birthday presents. The view includes part of the house (behind the tree, no longer there) and the playground area with sliding board, swing set, and sandbox. The right photo, from one of young Ann's birthday parties, shows Ann (the short girl left) and her "Maypole" birthday cake. Ann recalls that her mother and grandmother Waddell "did great birthday parties for us every year. Always with a theme."
Christopher Newport's first presidential home, although not really a mansion, was an upper-middle class colonial-style home located in a most desirable Newport News neighborhood that was ideally located a very short drive (or walk) from a thriving shopping center northeast (Warwick Blvd.) and the magnificent James River southwest (River Road). Further, its next door neighbor was historic Hilton Village, with its English cottage style homes, fine shops, restaurants, churches, and a school on the banks of the river. Brandon Heights was for many decades a wonderful place for families to bring up their children. And it still is.
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Published October 27, 2017
In late 1968, their eighth year of living in Brandon Heights, CNC President H. Westcott Cunningham and his wife decided to relocate in a neighborhood closer to the College, so they put 25 Shirley Road on the market. Their daughter, Ann Cunningham Stachura, recently discovered the LISTING of the house, reproduced below.
The numbers at the bottom of the photograph--26-11-68--might mean the date of the picture (November 26, 1968) or the date of the LISTING. In the document below, notice the asking price: $29,900. This amount would have today the buying power of $212,944. The average market value of homes in Brandon Heights today, however, is around $350,000.
Published November 10, 2017
Impacts of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma,
and Maria on First Decaders
by A. Jane Chambers
Knowing that some of our First Decaders and/or some of their loved ones lived in the paths of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, or Maria, I recently sent this request to all: "Please let me and your CNC First Decade friends know your status. Many of us have been thinking of you with hope in our hearts and prayers for your safety. I will send any news you send to your former classmates and professors." The majority of those who responded reported they had experienced little or no serious damage. Each of the three hurricanes did, however, seriously impact some. Below are their accounts, edited at times for length.
HARVEY: Houston, Texas
The aerial photo above shows hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico on August 25, 2017-- bearing down at peak intensity on the Texas coast. Jerry Russell ('65), who lives in Houston, was lucky: "We did not flood. Just a couple of roof leaks." However, Jean Regone Henry ('65), who lives in Maryland, reported shocking news about her brother Bill Regone and his wife, Debbie, who live in Houston: "They lost everything in Harvey--house, furnishings, cars." Below is Jean's account:
The damage came, not from the rain, but from water released by the city when they opened the spillways; 21 inches of the most toxic residue the EPA officials had ever seen sat in Bill's house for almost two weeks, contaminating everything it touched. Bill and Debbie tried to save everything they could, but very little actually survived. They have no flood insurance. They also lost both of their cars, plus their daughter's car and their son's car, which were both parked in Bill's driveway. The spillway water rose so quickly, there was no chance to move the cars before all the roads were flooded.
They rented a townhouse a mile away so they could continue to work on their flooded home once the water receded. A team of Mormons (from a group of 8000) removed drywall and flooring (wood, tile, vinyl) after Bill and Debbie had cleaned out the house. Everything wound up near the curb, where city trucks continued the demolition of family heirlooms, the piano, most of the furniture, doors, and cabinets. The Red Cross has provided survivors with food, bottled water, and some other necessities while they work to salvage whatever they can.
Bill, who is really handy, has restored power so they can use dehumidifiers to dry out concrete, brick, and studs. Debbie and her sister have been decontaminating studs in preparation for a rebuild, if they can get permission. Debbie does not want to give up the house. The concrete slab foundation was saturated, of course, as was the brick fireplace. All the interior walls in their house have now been removed. After scrubbing and disinfecting the supporting studs, they'll have to wait to see if the mold and mildew continue to grow. Our family is worried about the contamination of the soil, the concrete, the brick, and the wood left standing and the effect that contamination may have on their health. The city has health inspectors to advise them, so perhaps things will fall into place.
IRMA: Lakeland, Florida (near Tampa Bay)
The above photo shows hurricane Irma headed toward Florida. Herminio Cuervo ('66), who lives in Lakeland, reported that all in his household (humans and animals) "survived without injury" and that his home was spared but his office "took in some water, so we had to go bail out/dry the carpet," later restored fully by Stanley Steamer workers. The main damage in Lakeland was loss of power, caused primarily by downed trees. Below is Herminio's often humorous account of his experience.
The storm came right over our heads: we were in the East side of the eyeball (as I prefer to call it). Wind gusts over 100 MPH. We had several large oaks (senior citizens) all around the house and we lost many. One of them took the power, TV, phone and internet connections down with him (trees are masculine). To show you how God works in interesting ways, the wires helped the fallen tree go west, away from the house. We lost a large tree which fell on the street and on Monday AM, a neighbor helped us drag it off the road. I did chain sawing to help things out.
At the end of the day, another neighbor, who happened to be a senior lineman at Lakeland Electric, stopped when he saw the downed lines. He looked at them, climbed to the transformer in his bucket, took the lines off, came down, snuck the lines out from under the tree, borrowed my chainsaw and cleared the way. Then he lifted the lines back to the transformer, and when he got down from the bucket, told me, we would get the lights back in less than 2 hours. I thought, wow, with neighbors like this, we are blessed. We had power back before 24 hours, but still no TV, phone, or internet.
My son, Pedro, had parachuted here from LSU Law the day before the storm, so he and I did a lot of hauling of broken limbs, branches, tree trunks to the roadside. The place began to look like a set for the "Walking Dead," which appealed to me. I lost 5 pounds in one day, just hauling things around. Thinking of developing a weight loss program coupled to disaster mitigation. We still need to get that huge oak off the side of the road and fence. Have tree guys doing that; it is very expensive.
At the time Herminio wrote (mid-September), some food staples ("like sliced bread and milk") were in short supply and many people were still without power. However, there was no loss of order in Lakeland ("We have excellent law enforcement here"), the airport was spared ("a hub for cargo in/out"), FEMA and the military were there, and there was no gasoline shortage.
MARIA: Naguabo, Puerto Rico
The aerial photo above shows hurricane Maria, as a category 4, moving toward Puerto Rico (small rectangle left). It hit first the south eastern end (right end), which includes the coastal town of Naguabo ( red spot on the map at right). Close to there is the home of the mother of one of our First Decaders, Kathy Benintende Monteith ('74), who is also the mother-in-law of CNU Alumni Relations Officer Katie Monteith.
On September 15, Kathy wrote: "My dear mom was affected by Irma. She's safe, praise God! She has fresh water and a gas stove. Electricity will most likely be out for awhile longer." The situation worsened in Puerto Rico as time passed, however, as we all know. Kathy heard no more from or about her mother for many days. Then, on September 27, I heard from Kathy again. She wrote the below news.
We received a call yesterday from a dear friend of mom's, that she is okay! She's living in her home and surrounded by a community of love & support! No electricity or water yet. The mountain road to her home is now passable. Gasoline is scarce but was available yesterday in the closest town. Some stores are reopening. USPS and local banks are not in operation since Maria. October 9 UPDATE: Progress is happening! As of last Friday, mom has running water and postal mail service! I'm hopeful to receive mail from her this week. My sister & I are flooding her with cards and necessary needs.
The impact of Maria will be felt by all who live in Puerto Rico for many more weeks, months--perhaps even years. Keep Kathy Monteith's mother, and all others who are there, in mind as you watch the news unfold.
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Published October 13, 2017
CNU's Welcome Center To Be Named Cunningham Welcome Center
by A. Jane Chambers
CNU photo of the new Christopher Newport Hall, completed in 2015.
Baxter Vendrick, Director of Alumni Relations at CNU, announced the exciting news at the 2017 Picnic of the CNC First Decaders on Sunday afternoon, September 24th. He read to the group gathered in Newport News Park the following letter from President Paul Trible to Mrs. Cecil Cary Cunningham, widow of H. Westcott (Scotty) Cunningham:
The group broke into applause as Director Vendrick finished reading the sentence "This fall we wish to honor our first president by naming our new admission welcome center the Cunningham Welcome Center." Like numerous alumni, emeriti faculty and others aware of Scotty Cunningham's enduring role in the history and success of Christopher Newport, the First Decaders have advocated for some years that he be honored at CNU by having some building, or part of a building, named after him.
We who have long wished for this honor for First President Scotty Cunningham greatly appreciate CNU's Administration's making this wish come true. We thank all involved in the process, and particularly thank you, President Trible. We also feel honored to be the first to hear this happy news!
The welcome center to be named in honor of our institution's First Captain is located on the second floor of Newport Hall, pictured above. As stated in the letter, a specific date for the official naming ceremony, which will be this fall, has not yet been determined, but the event is expected to occur in October or, at the latest, in November. All First Decaders will be invited to attend. Watch this website for the date!
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Published September 29, 2017
Dr. Sean Heuvel Wins 2016-17
Chambers Award for
Dave Spriggs Also Nominated
by A. Jane Chambers
CNU professor Dr. Sean Heuvel received the A. Jane Chambers Award for Volunteer Service at CNU's Alumni Awards Reception held on Friday evening, August 11 at the Gregory P. Klich Alumni House. Dr. Heuvel teaches in the Department of Leadership and American Studies. The CNU Photography photo below shows (L-R) Alumni Relations Director Baxter Vendrick, Dr. Chambers, Dr. Heuvel and CNU Alumni Society President Chris Inzirillo. The Chambers Award was created by the Alumni Society in 2014.
Dr. Heuvel's volunteer services cited during the ceremony include writing the second book about our institution, Christopher Newport University(Arcadia Publishing 2009) and being a founder and the chair of The 1961 Historical Preservation Club (1961 Club) at CNU, tasked with seeking to preserve the history, promote the traditions and tell the story of Christopher Newport through the curation of the Alumni House Museum and educational programming on the campus.
Fifteen people were nominated for the four Alumni Awards given for the 2016-17 academic year. All attended the event, along with Alumni Society officers and others. President Paul Trible addressed the gathering before presentation of the awards. The CNU Photography picture above shows the eight winners. Dr. Heuvel is fifth from the left. Next to him, fourth from the left, is Alumni House namesake Gregory P. Klich (pronounced "Click"), who was given the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award. Next to him is Karen Rollins Jackson, Class of 1987, winner of the Distinguished Alumni Service Award and former student of mine. She is Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia, serving in the Cabinet of Governor Terry McAuliffe, the first woman to hold this position.
Also nominated for the Chambers Award for Volunteer Service was "Cap'n Dave"--David Spriggs, Chair of the CNC First Decaders since its founding (photo R). Modest about being nominated, he showed no surprise at losing to Dr. Heuvel, who Dave said certainly deserved the award. Dave "had a great time" at the reception, which featured heavy hors d'oeuvres, and said to me, "I was both humbled and honored to be nominated. Thank you."
Dr. Heuvel posted the above photo of himself and his wife, Katey, on his Facebook page, along with these comments about receiving the award: It was with immense gratitude that I received the A. Jane Chambers Volunteer Service Award last evening from the Christopher Newport University Alumni Society! The award was given in honor of my efforts over the past decade to help preserve and commemorate CNU's rich institutional history. It was also a true privilege to be awarded this honor in the presence of its namesake, my friend and colleague Dr. Jane Chambers ... Further, it was truly special to receive the award in front of CNU's ceremonial mace, which was crafted by my late Grandpa Heuvel back in 1977. In closing, I should add that I'd like to dedicate this award to my friend and mentor, the late Dr. James Windsor, who served as Christopher Newport's president from 1970 - 1979. It was Dr. Windsor who first instilled in me a love and fascination for CNU's institutional history ... Thank you Dr. Windsor -- this award is for you!
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Published August 18, 2017
The New and the Old Shared Homes
of CNC/U and PFAC
by A. Jane Chambers
Front view of the planned Fine Arts Center. The artistic renderings and area campus map used in this article were provided to CNU by Glave & Holmes Architecture and are used courtesy of CNU.
The New Shared Home
In the summer of 2020, CNU plans to open a $50.5 million Fine Arts Center that will be the new home of both its Department of Fine Arts and Art History and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center (PFAC). To be built adjacent to the Ferguson Center for the Arts, viewed from Warwick Boulevard the new building will look like an extension of Ferguson Center. In fact the colonnade in front of Ferguson will be extended to the right, adding to that effect. The new center will serve both CNU students and faculty and, through PFAC, the entire Peninsula community, as well as visitors from elsewhere. Moving into it will also be a homecoming for PFAC.
In its front page article "New Digs for Fine Arts" (July 5, 2017), the Newport News Daily Press states that the three-story, 110,292-square foot building, now being designed by Glave & Holmes Architecture (which has designed many CNU buildings), will be funded by the state and built on land now used as the visitors' parking lot behind Pope Chapel. It will include a large gallery and programming space for PFAC, a lecture hall, and classrooms and studios for all kinds of art--including sculpture, ceramics, photography, drawing and painting, and digital arts. There will even be a TV production studio and a cafe. PFAC's gallery, with two-story high walls, will take up most of the second and third floors, but there will also be galleries for CNU's student work on the second floor. The first floor will house an art history lecture hall, museum shop, and PFAC's hands-on gallery for school children (pp. 1 & 8).
Dominating the new building are what the Daily Press describes as the building's "highlight"--three "tall, staggered glass domes" (p. 8). Perhaps they are meant to balance and contrast with the more formal glass at the other end of Ferguson Center's colonnade. Or maybe they are meant to echo, in glass, the metal domes of other campus buildings. Or to make us think. The short white walkway to the right will lead to the parking lot beside Freeman Center; the short walkway to the left will lead to the large lawn between Ferguson Center and Warwick.
The bricked wall area at the back of the building will no doubt be the service area. The large black gate with a roadway will probably be used, for example, by trucks that deliver and take away art works for the various exhibits to be displayed in the center. The black gate at the other end is perhaps for access to the electrical, heat, and air conditioning units housed inside the small buildings. There are footpaths to the area also, perhaps for students' use.
The above map shows that the planned Fine Arts Center (dark brown here) will completely replace the visitor's parking lot located behind Pope Chapel. Notice, however, that new parking will be created both in front of the colonnade's driveway and also very close to, and parallel with, Warwick Blvd. A row of trees (or bushes) will block the view of that parking lot for those using the two centers.
Looking closely at the walled area behind the building, you can see two thin rectangular green areas close to the building. They are probably what the Daily Press mentioned as the "outdoor student work areas" off the first floor that will be used for creating "3-D art" like sculptures (p. 8). The much larger green space--between the two buildings, and behind the colonnade--apparently represents the "outdoor museum space" for hosting sculptures and events, also mentioned in the article (p. 8).
The Old Shared Homes
Christopher Newport College and the Peninsula Fine Arts Center were close siblings who took their first steps within a year of each other in the same home: the J. B. Daniel building on 32nd Street in downtown Newport News. CNC was born there in 1961; PFAC, in 1962, under its first name, the Peninsula Arts Association (PAA). The old building, formerly an elementary school, was where the siblings spent their formative early childhood years from toddlers to kindergarteners. I joined the English faculty CNC's third year (PAA's second) and remember seeing ladies setting up exhibits of paintings and drawings in the wide first floor hall.
In the fall of 1964, CNC and PAA moved together up Warwick Blvd. to their new shared home on Shoe Lane, Christopher Newport Hall (photo left above), the first building on the college's permanent site. They shared this home while continuing to mature in their separate but compatible ways in the 1960s. The photo right above, from the Cunningham family collection, shows CNC's first president, H. Westcott ("Scotty") Cunningham (right) and two unidentified members of PAA discussing a painting to be displayed in the association's first art gallery--a room on the first floor of Newport Hall. Also during this decade, Mrs. Cunningham ("Cecy") served on the Board of Directors of PAA.
In the 1970sand 80s, CNC and PAA became young adults eager to expand territories and gain independence. During this period, CNC grew from a 2-year branch of the College of William and Mary to a 4-year institution, awarding its first baccalaureate degrees in 1971 and then gaining full independence from William and Mary in 1977. Less than two decades later, the College became Christopher Newport University.
Meanwhile, out-growing its first home, PAA settled temporarily in several venues, including in Hilton Village. Born asa chapter of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), in 1983 it becamean affiliate of the VMFA and was renamed the Peninsula Fine Arts Center. Soon Newport News Shipbuilding gave the PFAC an old building in the Mariners' Museum's Park which it renovated and expanded and transformed into a home (photo right) almost next door to CNC.
In 2020, the wheel will come full circle. CNU and PFAC, hoping for some years to share a home again, will do so, benefiting not only both of them but also the Peninsula and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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Published July 21, 2017
CNC Alumna Ellen Babb Melvin Plays Teacher
in Smithfield Little Theatre's Production of GREASE
Current CNU Sophomore Camille Castleberry
Has Female Lead
by A. Jane Chambers
Retired Hampton middle school English teacher Ellen Babb Melvin is "thrilled to be playing" high school English teacher Miss Lynch in Smithfield Little Theatre's current production of the popular musical GREASE. In the photo below, taken back stage during a dress rehearsal, Ellen is the lady in the middle, posing with some of the young women who play Miss Lynch's high school students. The "student" in the polka-dotted dress is CNU sophomore Camille Castleberry, who has the leading female role of Sandy Dumbrowski. Cami's goal after CNU is to attend law school at William and Mary.
Ellen has a long career in local theatre, including CNC productions. In 1966, she was in the first 3-act drama staged at our college, Archibald MacLeish's Pulitzer Prize winning J.B. Further education (William & Mary degree in 1968), marriage, motherhood and teaching kept her away from acting until 1977, when she and her first daughter, Elizabeth (then age five) had roles in BABES IN TOYLAND at the original CNC's Gaines Theatre. Altogether, she has been in at least a dozen Peninsula-area productions since then.
Ellen calls her part in GREASE "a minor role," but "Miss Lynch" is the first character on stage in Act 1, and appears also elsewhere in the play, and in any well-produced drama, none of the characters are really "minor." She neither sings nor dances in this musical ("for which the audience will be grateful," she says). But knowing her bubbly personality (she was my English student at CNC), I'm sure she will more than do justice to her role.
Ellen says this production of GREASE "is going to be fantastic. The kids in it are all so talented, enthusiastic, energetic, and downright nice kids and I am so enjoying working with them and getting to know them. I love the music and 5 nights a week, I thoroughly enjoy hearing these kids singing them during rehearsal. It is going to be a great show and one not to be missed!" Below are two photos taken during one of the dress rehearsals.
The musical is set in the 1950s, which some of you will remember.
I plan to see a Sunday production of GREASE. It is playing in Smithfield for 4 weeks on Thursday - Sunday evenings at 8:00 and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 from April 27 - May 21. Ellen urges those wanting to get tickets to call the Box Office (757-357-7338), NOT try to get them online. Online will show the play as sold out, "but the theatre holds a lot of seats until the week before the show" and then "opens these seats up a week before each weekend's performances. So you should be able to get seats for any performance including Sunday," but tickets have been selling fast.
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Published April 28, 2017
Cunningham Family Enjoys
Private Tour of Klich Alumni House
by A. Jane Chambers
Photos by Alumni Relations Office
On Wednesday, March 29, Cecil Cary ("Cecy") Cunningham and her daughter, Ann Cunningham Stachura, were given a private tour of CNU's recently opened Klich Alumni House. The widow of H. Westcott Cunningham, Cecy is Christopher Newport's First Lady, and Ann is CN's First Daughter. Their hosts for this tour were members of CNU's Office of Alumni Relations, headed by Director Baxter Vendrick, and Dr. Sean Heuvel, Chair of CNU's 1961 Historic Preservation Club. As the following photos show, the Cunninghams very much enjoyed this first visit to the alumni house, and their tour guides thoroughly enjoyed showing them around it.
Mrs. Cunningham signs the Guest Book at the Reception Desk in the large Reception Hall. Notice the photo of her and her husband in the oval frame, with the words "Welcome Christopher Newport's First Family."
Cecy and Ann looked at a number of displays in the Reception Hall and the other rooms on this floor. Behind them in this picture are Dr. Sean Heuvel (L) and Senior Alumni Relations Officer Katie Monteith.
In the Sitting Room,Sean (L) and Baxter (R) talk with Cecy and Ann about the display next to Cecy of CNC's first graduation, a one-student event in Scotty's office in 1962 attended only by AA degree recipient Lois Wright, then-Director Cunningham, and Lois's parents. Lois is now Distinguished Professor Emerita at the University of South Carolina--Columbia and a Williamsburg resident. She has donated her CNC diploma to CNU for permanent display.
The Cunninghams admired the ceremonial mace on display here, crafted by Sean Heuvel's grandfather, J. J. (Jan) Heuvel, Sr. (1914 - 2003). A master cabinetmaker trained in the old European school, he came to America after World War 2 and became a master craftsman at Colonial Williamsburg. The mace was created in 1977 to celebrate Christopher Newport’s independence from The College of William and Mary. It is a common and compelling sight at CNU's academic ceremonies, where it is carried by the senior member of the faculty. An article on this mace and its maker is in our website Archives, in the sub tab Second Decade History.
The above photos, taken in the second floor Conference Room, show Cecy posing with (L) daughter Ann and then (R) Alumni Relations Director Baxter Vendrick. Behind them is a recently-discovered portrait of Scotty Cunningham painted by Agnes McMurran Johnson, a well-known painter and art teacher in this area who was also instrumental in the founding of the Peninsula Art Association, later renamed the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, which has had a long history with CNC/CNU. This painting was donated to CNU by the Cunningham family in April of 2016.
A centerpiece in the house's Library is this beautiful piano. At the keyboard is CNU student Kenneth Kidd, entertaining Cecy near the end of the tour. Kenneth is an Alumni Relations Office intern and was recently elected to be CNU's Student Government President next year. Behind them is part of the wall-length bookcase with built-in seating, which provides space for visitors to sit while browsing some of the books that will be housed there.
Cecy poses with Ann and Kenneth (L) and with Alumni Relations officers (R) Katie Monteith (L) and Monica Hill (R), both of whom are also CNU alumnae.
Seated before the fireplace in the Library, First Lady Cecy shares with the group some of her interesting memories of Christopher Newport's first decade. Kneeling is Baxter Vendrick. Seated behind them is CNU alumnus Taylor Quinn ('13), who took most of these photographs, and standing behind him is Katie Monteith ('11), whose family also includes other CNU alumni.
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Published April 14, 2017
Recipients of Cunningham and Wolf Scholarships
by A. Jane Chambers
Donors and recipients of the Cunningham and Wolf scholarships shared Table Number 1 at this year's 25th Annual President's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon and Program, held in the Freeman Center Field House on March 30, 2017, from noon until 2:00 P.M.
Students Zachary Pedini and Barbour Ulrich were this year's recipients of the H. Westcott Cunningham Endowed Leadership Scholarship, established in July 2007. Barbour was unable to attend the luncheon. The official CNU photograph above shows (L-R) Cunningham daughter Ann Cunningham Stachura, CNC's First Lady Cecil Cary (Cecy) Cunningham, scholarship recipient Zachary Pedini, and me.
Zachary's major is Management and his minor is Leadership Studies. As a Cunningham Scholar, Zachary was given a copy of Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, 1961 - 1971, signed by the book's three co-authors. Mrs. Cunningham also signed it for him on the page featuring a picture of her and her husband, CNC's first president. The book was dedicated to Mr. Cunningham and all money earned from it went into the scholarship in his name.
Student Emily Garnier was this year's recipient of the William D. Wolf Endowed Memorial Scholarship, established in May 1982. Emily is from Loudoun County, part of the Metropolitan DC area. She is currently doing her student teaching and plans to teach literature in a high school. Not wanting to miss her 2:00 class, Emily had to leave before the end of the program. Thus the photo above was taken at our table, where she posed with Jane Knight (Janie) Wolf, widow of Dr. William D. (Bill) Wolf, an English professor at CNC when he died in 1982 of a heart attack at age 39. An article about him is on this website, in the Archives, under sub tab Second Decade History.
As the above photo shows, more than 40 tables filled the Freeman Center's Field House at this event. The printed program had 21 pages listing over 200 scholarships, almost 500 recipients, and about 300 donors (those who established the scholarships). Scholarship opportunities at CNU continue to grow. However, funds available are unequal, with some scholarships heavily funded while others, especially older ones, like the Wolf Scholarship, struggle to survive.
If you would like to help keep theCunningham Scholarship healthy enough to allow scholarships to be given to two or more students per year, then please donate to it. Contact Lucy Latchum at (757) 594-7702 and state that scholarship's number: 1208. If you would like to help keep the recently resurrected Wolf Scholarship alive, phone Lucy Latchum and give her that scholarship's number: 1642.
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Published April 14, 2017
Tucker Carwile's Second Free Verse Collection a Pleasant Read
by A. Jane Chambers
Tucker Carwile's Roads Taken (Belle Isle, 2015), gives the reader glimpses of Carwile's thoughts and feelings at many stages of his life, from his youth--when he was "a boy trying to become a man"--to his middle years--when "Conquest was the objective"--to the present, as he and Becky, once his high school sweetheart, reunite to make a new life together in their sixties, with new understandings of love and life.
CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Several reviews at the book's beginning and on the back cover, plus a short biography on the last page, introduce both Roads Taken and Tucker Carwile. The book's title, an allusion to Robert Frost's famous "The Road Not Taken," is echoed in the collection's organization into five sections of "Roads" Carwile took in his life, "whether right or wrong," with the final section, "Roads to Happiness," addressed to "My Muse," Becky, to whom the book is also dedicated.
Tucker Carwile and Becky Brown met at Thorpe Junior High when both lived in Hampton's Wythe neighborhood and became sweethearts at Hampton High. Their relationship continued for awhile at CNC, where Tucker began traveling his road as a biology major and Becky began traveling hers as a Riverside nursing student. But then each "traveled many roads" separately for decades, until reunited in 2013, returning "to our beginning and each other's arms."
In addition to his love for Becky, Roads Taken captures Carwile's feelings and thoughts about other people (some known, some strangers)-- from his parents to a neighbor, to a soldier guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Tucker writes also about his feelings about nature--from oceans to eagles to sunrises. The selections are short (one per page) and easy to read, written in a conversational tone with minimal use of traditional poetic devices, in keeping with the author's description of his writing as "Poetry for everyone."
Roads Taken is available online through both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. CNC First Decaders can get an autographed and discounted paperback copy of the book by contacting Tucker at either (434) 315-5623 or email@example.com. Copies of his first collection, Lone Sentinel (2013) are also available at these same locations.
NOTE: At 8:00 a.m. on September 21st Tucker will be interviewed about Roads Taken on WFLO-FM, 95.7, in Farmville, VA.
Tidewater native and CNC First Decader C.Tucker Carwile, Jr. (BS, Biology, 1972) worked in Hampton, VA, for his father’s Chrysler dealership, Merrimac Motors, 1972-87, then worked for Nationwide Insurance until retiring in 2009. He now teaches I-CAR classes. He and his first wife, Peggy Cross Carwile (deceased 2006) had two children--C.T. “Corey” Carwile III, a chiropractor, and Amie Carwile Tugwell, a Special Education teacher--and 4 grandchildren. Tucker and Becky Brown Carwile, married November 2015, live in a home they built near Farmville, VA.
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Published September 16, 2016
Bill Crute's Second Novel,
The Green House Near Loveville,
by A. Jane Chambers
William (Bill) Crute's second novel, The Green House Near Loveville (Page Publishing, 2015) continues the adventures and misadventures of Morgan Armstrong, the central character in Bill's first novel, Morgan Make$ Money, reviewed on this website in June of 2013 (see Website Archives, subtab Your News). A somewhat revised (and improved) version of that short novel is Part 1 of this 3-part novel.
I enjoyed again watching Morgan's gradual transformation from “a sleaze ball" con man, obsessed with making money from his various not-fully-legitimate businesses, to a rather decent human being who helps his fellow prisoners find self-worth and legally make money while he is wrongly jailed in Richmond, VA, for a murder he did not commit. By itself, the Morgan Make$ Money story is a good, fast-paced vacation afternoon read (88 pages) that well demonstrates the subtitle of the original Morgan book: A Funny Story and Primer for Building a Successful Career in Sales and Happiness in Life.
Part 2, The Green House, is the bulk of the book (126 pages). Here we follow the ups and downs of Morgan and his three young children after Morgan has been released from prison with a clean slate, since the actual murderer has confessed. Free but virtually penniless, Morgan struggles to find a legal way to support his three teenagers and his mother and pay his huge IRS bill. He also struggles with his feelings toward two very different women, Catherine, the warden of the prison he's just left, and Christy, a sexy young mountaineer recently divorced. The setting is Virginia's mountains, near Charlottesville. As in Part 1, the characters in Part 2 are basically believable and the plot moves along well, with many dramatic episodes, some of them also comic. Love, in its various forms, is a central theme in this part of the book.
In Part 3, called The Collapse, Crute shifts from realism to fantasy. Beginning with the USA, all governments (from national to local) "stand down" as a group of "Robotmakers" based in Newfoundland attempt to initiate a Utopian world. Their motto (and guide for humanity) is "Do no harm" and they deal with "Miscreants" (criminals) by curing their chemical imbalances. Their work is done by an army of unarmed Robots who look and talk exactly like humans although they have aluminum-colored skin. Part 3 is the book's shortest section (58 pages) and, for me, was not as enjoyable as the other parts.
The Green House Near Loveville can be found on the Barnes & Noble website and on Amazon.com under the title or under the name William Crute. It is available in paperback for $16.95 and on Kindle for $9.99.
William Cruteedited and named CNC’s first literary magazine, The Undertow(1965-66), and after a three-year hiatus in the Army, returned to CNC in 1969. He earned his B.A. in English in 1971 and his M.A. in Special Education at Hampton University. His passions since childhood have been writing and painting. A Peninsula resident, Bill has been an English teacher and art gallery owner as well as a professional artist. He and his wife, Barbara Trippe-Crute, live in Poquoson. The photo shows them in Nags Head, NC.
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ROTC Cadet First Recipient of
Marine Corps Captain Pat Giguere
by A. Jane Chambers
Jan Giguere Clarke
ROTC Cadet Brendan Burch and Pat Giguere's sisters Jan Giguere Clarke (L) and Mary Giguere (R) posed for the CNU photographer after the 24th Annual President's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon and Program in CNU's Freeman Center Field House on April 7, 2016.
ROTC Cadet Brendan Burch, a rising senior at CNU majoring in history, was chosen as the first recipient of the Marine Corps Captain Pat Giguere ('72) Memorial Endowed Scholarship. One of three scholarship recipients also interviewed for the "Scholar Reflections" page of the 20-page Program distributed to attendees at the President's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon on April 7, 2016, Brendan said he was "humbled to have been chosen" for the honor of being the first recipient of this scholarship, for "Pat was truly an American hero."
Having come from "a hard-working military family with members who have served this nation in World War I, World War II and Vietnam," Brendan added, "I have wanted to serve in the military since I was quite young." Upon graduation in 2017, he will be "the first commissioned officer" in his family. "I intend to honor Pat's memory," he continued, "with my actions as a gentleman, cadet and leader. I would love to help Pat's legacy live on in the Aviation Corps, flying attack helicopters just as he did. It is my hope and intention to someday give back to this scholarship. I will always remember what Pat did for this country and will strive to emulate him as I take my turn to lead."
The Pat Giguere Memorial Endowed Scholarship was established in April of 2015 in memory of alumnusJohn Patrick (Pat) Giguere (BS, Business, 1972), who was killed in action at age 33 while piloting a Marine attack helicopter in Granada in 1983 during Operation Urgent Fury. The scholarship's major donors were Pat's sisters and CNC alumnae Jan Giguere Clarke and Mary Giguere. Jan, a First Decader, received her AA degree in 1968; Mary received her baccalaureate degree in 1989.
This picture of Pat Giguere, which appears in several places on the internet, appears to be a Marine Corps photograph.
The recently established scholarship has an interesting history. After news of Pat's tragic and heroic death, Jan explains, "several of Pat's CNC classmates began a Memorial Fund at CNC in his name. Unfortunately, It never obtained the status that would allow the creation of an endowed scholarship in Pat’s name. However, the Fund remained an active account and continued to grow, patiently waiting for the right time, the right people and the right resources. Largely through the efforts of Mrs. Kristin Witt in the CNU Office of Advancement, the scholarship project was revitalized by the Giguere family in 2012. Also, because it was chosen by the University as one of the target goals, the Patrick Giguere ’72 Endowed Scholarship Fund received a huge amount of support during the inaugural CNU Day of Giving (March 3, 2015). Through the efforts of family, CNU, friends and strangers, Pat’s scholarship reached endowed status, having funds of at least $25,000. It will continue to be awarded annually to a deserving student who participates in the ROTC program or plans to pursue a military career."
Jan Giguere as a CNC sophomore. 1968 Trident, p. 91.
A "firm believer in the importance of life-long learning," after three degrees and a 42-year career in health care, plus a simultaneous career as wife and mother of four children, Jan re-enrolled as a student at CNU in 2013. She began taking courses in the Modern Language Department, to round out her science education with French studies. This decision resulted in a "most amazing surprise" during the 2016 Spring semester.
"Although by accident," Jan recalls, "I knew the name of the first recipient of Pat’s Scholarship, I knew that I wouldn’t actually meet Brendan Burch until later in the spring, at the Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon, where donors traditionally meet their scholarship recipients for the first time. However, one day, as I was packing up my books at the end of my French class, I noticed a tall young man in fatigues come into the classroom. I sensed that it might be HIM. I felt a little awkward as I tried to position myself so that I could read the name tag on his shirt. Finally, I just got in front of him and saw 'BURCH.' I told him who I was and we were both a little shocked that despite the thousands of students at CNU, the many academic buildings and the even larger number of classrooms on campus, our paths had crossed. It was a little emotional for both of us."
On April 7, 2016, at the Field House in CNU's Freeman Center (CNU photo above), Jan, her husband, Ken, and her sister Mary formally met Brendan Burch. "It was such a moving experience," Jan recalls. "He was dressed in his formal uniform--so proud to have been chosen and grateful and happy to meet more of our family. Hundreds of students were recognized as scholarship recipients that day. For the Giguere family, however, it was Brendan’s Day and he stood out for all he represented and his vow to honor Pat’s memory for the rest of his life." Jan and Brendan have since kept in touch by email, allowing the Giguere family to know this first scholarship recipient even better. "I feel strongly," Jan has concluded, "that CNU could not have chosen a better person for the scholarship than Brendan (and I think Pat likes him too)."
(1) If you want to donate to the Pat Giguere Memorial Endowed Scholarship, contact Mrs. Lucy Latchum at CNU at phone number (757) 594-7702 for information. Your donation is tax deductible.
(2) If you want to know more about Pat Giguere and his heroic death, read the 2-part article on this website, Remembering John Patrick (Pat) Giguere: U.S Marine Pilot KIA in Grenada, October 25, 1983. It is located in the Website Archives (left margin of HOME), under the sub tab First Decade History. It is the sixth article down.
Cunningham Scholarship Recipients Honored at Luncheon
by A. Jane Chambers
The Cunningham scholarship recipients and donors: (L-R) recipient Zachary Ticer; donors Dr. Jane Chambers, Mrs. H. Westcott Cunningham, and Ann Cunningham Stachura; and recipients Laura Genevish and Jonathan Everhart. Photos in this article are courtesy of CNU's professional photographers.
For the first time since it was established (July 2007), there were three recipients this academic year of the H. Westcott Cunningham Endowed Leadership Scholarship. They were honored on April 7, 2016, at the 24th Annual President's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon and Program in Freeman Center. All three were seniors, now alumni, in the Class of 2016, with minors in Leadership Studies but diverse majors, goals, and interests, as shown in the information each provided for this article.
Jonathan Everhart, from Fredericksburg, VA, majored in business management at CNU but always "had a passion not only for business but also for leadership." As a boy he sold lemonade on the side of the road with his friends while also advancing in scouting. He became an Eagle Scout and also a captain of his varsity football team at Riverbend High School. "I chose CNU," he wrote, "because I knew that it was going to be the best place for me to learn and grow as a scholar and as a person." The University, he added, "provided me so many opportunities--from being able to continue my football career my freshman year, to providing the chance for me to be a Resident Assistant." His involvements with numerous CNU peers have given him confidence that he has "the ability to make a positive impact in someone else's life." Jonathan is "currently working diligently to earn a full time position with Ryan Homes through their internship program" and is grateful for Cunningham scholarship and its donors, who "helped make my education at Christopher Newport possible."
Laura Kate Genevish majoredin English, with a concentration in writing, and has been accepted into CNU's Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. Her goal is to be an elementary school teacher in the Hampton Roads area in the next few years. She "currently" calls Carrollton, VA, "home," although her father's Air Force career "took my family all around the country when I was younger." She chose CNU, she wrote, because shewanted "a university with a strong teaching program, a campus that welcomed me, and a short drive back to my family; Christopher Newport was all of that and more! While here, I've volunteered in the Newport News public school system, formed a competitive trivia team with friends, worked as a blogger for the University's Office of Communication and Public Relations, and served as a leader within our campus' chapter of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). In my free time, I manage a personal blog, run half marathons, and perfect my guacamole-making skills! I'm extremely grateful for the Cunningham scholarship and all that it has allowed me to become here at Christopher Newport."
CNU's Senior Director for Advancement, Lucy L. Latchum, in a letter of May 17, 2016 wrote that Laura "was recognized with Latin Honors for outstanding academic achievement," having an overall "Grade Point Ratio of 3.5 (out of a 4.0) or better. This recognition is a reflection of Laura Genevish's rigorous pursuit of academic excellence."
Marketing major Zachary Ticer is from Vienna, VA, in Fairfax County, where he graduated from Trinity Church School. "I am entrepreneurial," he wrote, "and look forward to owning my own business, which is why I have been excited to study marketing here at CNU." Also "passionate about fitness," he enjoyed CNU's "fantastic facilities" in that area. Having played soccer and lacrosse all his life, Zack feels "confident that I will be involved with fitness in one avenue or another" in the future, "in addition to what I am doing in the business realm." Like Laura and Jonathan, he also was "excited about the environment of student involvement and the many opportunities to connect with peers " at CNU. "One of the highlights" for him was the friendships he developed "thru various students organizations such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Campus Crusade for Christ." He was also "part of a college mentorship program in a professional business team outside of school." That experience made CNU's leadership program "that much more valuable to me," he concluded, "in tandem with my marketing major."
In just this decade, scholarship opportunities at CNU have grown so much that the Annual President's Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon and Program, which previously was held in the Banquet Hall in David Student Union, had to be held last year in a three-ring-circus-style tent in front of Ferguson Center.The 20 pages of the 2015 program for that event listed 196 scholarships, 435 recipients, and about 300 donors. This year, there were more scholars and donors attending than the tent could hold, so the event had to be held in the Freeman Center Field House (photo above). Scholarships had grown to 207, with increases also in the numbers of recipients and donors.
The Cunningham Endowed Scholarshipwas made possible through the donations of many—including the Cunningham Family, Friends of Scotty Cunningham, and Sponsors and Contributing CNC Members and Friends who made possible publication of Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, plus all profit from sales of that book. Each Cunningham Scholar receives an autographed copy ofMemories. To learn more about and/or contribute to this fund, contact Lucy Latchum at (757) 594-7702 and state the Cunningham Scholarship number: 1208.
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Published May 27, 2016
Cunningham Family Honored at Dinner;
Family Memorabilia Presented
by A. Jane Chambers
A very special event occurred at CNU on the evening of Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Three members of the family of CNC's first president, H. Westcott ("Scotty") Cunningham, were honored at a dinner hosted by CNU's 1961 Historical Preservation Club and held in the Board Room of David Student Union. They were Mrs. Cecil Cary ("Cecy") Cunningham of Falls Church, VA, widow of President Cunningham; the Cunningham's daughter, AnnStachura, and Ann's husband, Melvin Stachura, of Havre de Grace, MD.
In the CNU group photo above are (FRONT, L - R) Dr. Sean Heuvel, CNU faculty and President of the 1961 Historical Preservation Club; guests of honor Mel and Ann Stachura and Mrs. Cunningham (with portrait of Scotty Cunningham); 1961 Club members Dr. Jane Chambers, Professor Emerita; Katie Monteith, of the Office of Alumni Relations; Jan Clarke, and Baxter Vendrick, who is also Director of the Office of Alumni Relations. (BACK, L - R) are Elizabeth Bentley, Office Manager for Alumni Relations; 1961 Club member Ron Lowder; Alumni Society Board member Brian Bacon; and 1961 Club members Jesse Hutcheson and Amy Boykin, also a CNU librarian.
Cecy Cunningham and daughter Ann pose with the portrait of President Cunningham created by Agnes McMurran Johnson. Photo by Jesse Hutcheson.
Our guests came bearing many much-anticipated gifts: Cunningham family memorabilia related to the years that President Cunningham was CNC's First Captain. As the family prepared to sell the home in Gloucester long occupied by Scotty and Cecy, the 1961 Historical Preservation Club asked them to set aside every item related to Scotty's tenure at CNC. Most of this material is being donated to CNU; some is being loaned. All of it will be carefully stored in Trible Library except when on display in the Alumni House, currently under construction. A central item (see photo above) is a recently-discovered portrait of Scotty done by Agnes McMurran Johnson, a well-known painter and art teacher in this area who was also instrumental in the founding of the Peninsula Art Association, later renamed the Peninsula Fine Arts Center, which has had a long history with CNC/CNU.
(Left above) Mel, Cecy, and Ann pose with Cunningham memorabilia all around them, including Scotty's academic regalia. The view of the table (R above) shows folders and black albums containing numerous items yet to be fully explored and documented--such as campus photographs, architectural drawings of the first buildings, important correspondence, and newspaper clippings related to CNC. Our first president's involvement in the community is evident in some of the awards shown, such as that for chairmanship of the United Way (top right). Both photos by Jesse Hutcheson.
Above are close-up photos by Ron Lowder of two of the awards received by President Cunningham . In 1982, he returned to CNC to receive the honorary doctorate shown on the left, giving him the title of Doctor of Laws. In 1970, when he retired from the Naval Reserves, he received the plaque shown on the right, listing his years in the Reserves, during which time he was promoted to the rank of Captain. He served in WW2 in the Navy in the Pacific battlefield, commanding a PT boat, as did John F. Kennedy, who would later be U.S. President.
Before, during, and after our delicious meal, everyone enjoyed socializing with the Cunningham family. Cecy, especially, was the center of attention and rewarded us all with interesting and amusing stories of what it was like to be "First Lady" at CNC in the first decade. The photo on the left shows Cecy shortly after entering the Board Room. In front of her, partly obscured, are (L) her daughter, Ann, and (R) 1961 Club member Jesse Hutcheson. Near the wall tapestry at the back are (L) Elizabeth Bentley and (R) Amy Boykin. Three current CNU students were invited to this event, two of whom are shown in the next photo (R). The taller one is Mary Katelyn Hovanic, this year's CNU Homecoming Queen; the shorter one is Rachel Schrader, an English major and artist. I am, of course, the senior citizen in this trio. Not shown in any of the photos is the third student, Kenneth Christopher Kidd, likely to be an intern for the Alumni Office next semester. Behind me, left to right, are Brian Bacon, Jesse Hutcheson, and Cecy. Both photos by Ron Lowder.
The closing highlight of the evening was the presentation of a framed Certificate of Appreciation to Mrs. Cunningham. Dr. Sean Heuvel, President of the 1961 Historical Preservation Club, is shown here giving it to her. On the right above is a close-up photo of the document before it was signed by Sean and by Baxter Vendrick, Director of Alumni Relations.
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Published April 15, 2016
Tucker Carwile Weds High School Sweetheart
by A. Jane Chambers
with information from Tucker Carwile
CNC First Decader Cornelius Tucker Carwile, Jr. (BS., 1972)and Becky Brown met at Thorpe Junior High School when they lived around the corner from each other in the Wythe neighborhood of Hampton, Virginia. They were high school sweethearts at Hampton Highand continued to date during their first year of college, both attending CNC, Tucker as a Biology major and Becky as a Riverside nursing student.
Photo provided by Tucker.
But then they went their separate ways until two years ago, when they reunited. On November 22, 2015, they married in a private ceremony in Hot Springs, Virginia, at the Hot Springs Presbyterian Church, and honeymooned at The Homestead resort. Currently they are living in Hampton, but are building a home in Farmville, VA, where they will move sometime this coming spring.
CONGRATULATIONS, Tucker & Becky!
Published January 15, 2016
Revisiting Professor Barry Wood:
A Recent Interview
by Mary Ellen Wilkinson
Imagine the consequences of all the larger minds
that have resulted from
Barry Wood's 43 years of teaching at CNC.
--Mary Ellen Wilkinson
Professor Barry Wood's Humanities 205-206 course in my first year of college (1964-65) provided the foundation for my subsequent understanding and learning. His Genres in Western World Literature introduced me to the "canon" of Western civilization, and the works from that course--by Euripides, Sophocles, Job, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Dante, Voltaire, Goethe, and Kafka-- have always occupied a revered space on my bookshelf.
1970 Trident yearbook photo of young Lawrence Barron Wood, Jr. (p. 24).
His decision to teach literature was formed at Hampden-Sydney College, where he had two inspiring professors--his physics professor, who used physical actions and antics to maintain student interest and to demonstrate gravity, and a favorite English professor, Dr. Crawley, who nurtured his love of literature. After graduation in 1959, and a year of graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania on a Woodrow Wilson fellowship, Barry was recruited by William & Mary to teach at either CNC, ODU or W&M, all under William & Mary's aegis at that time. He chose CNC, to our everlasting benefit, and became a member of the original faculty who welcomed the 170+ age-diverse Peninsula students who enrolled the first year.
Barry Wood with 8 of the 10 original faculty in the Daniel building in Fall, 1961. ROW 1 (l-R) Ernest Rudin (French), Col. Faye Green (English), Allen Tanner (Business & Economics) & Wood (English). ROW 2 (L-R) : Dr. Augustine Maissen (German & Spanish), James Liston (Chemistry & Physics), Robert Vargas (Mathematics), & Robert Usry (History). Absent: Georgia Hunter (Biology) & Bernard Smith (Business & Economics ). Wood family photo.
Philosophy and Method of Teaching
When Barry was a young professor, his booming voice was often heard in the halls of CNC, where President Cunningham, who was a Norse scholar, called him "Fafner" after a dragon in Norse mythology. Barry's personal mission was to enthusiastically embrace each work of literature through his own meticulous research and reading, and teach his understanding so that it was not only enlightening to students, but also "fun." He felt his job as professor was to explore the relevance of the author and what the work leads readers to feel. He said that to educate is "to lead out" of the state of not-knowing, to a context where the student takes away a "larger mind."
One of Wood's unorthodox teaching positions. 1969 Trident, p. 22.
His basic method of teaching was (a) to have the class read the whole work, not excerpts; (b) to engage the students' attention, being careful to keep his presentation fresh by not using the same joke or antic a second time because "then it isn't fresh"; and (c) to probe for meaning and relevance that guides students toward their own understanding.
One of his favorite courses to teach was Humanities, a fundamentally important course because "western culture came out of Athens and Jerusalem," reflecting the Greek ideals of the arts, democracy and the pursuit of wisdom, as well as the Judeo-Christian heritage. His personal favorite works in that course were TheBrothers Karamazov, Hamlet and Oedipus Rex. He found Dante the most difficult poet to teach because Dante was so thoroughly a medievalcatholic that it is difficult to comprehend the modern relevance and meaning of his words.
Other Observations about Literature
When asked about the difference between serious literature and "popular" books, Barry observed that literature is any book with a serious purpose that requires one to learn from reading the book. "If a book is too shallow, it's not worth reading," he said.
Back jacket photo of Barry Wood on Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade (Hallmark, 2008), which he co-authored.
His favorite non-fiction authors are Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, and in science, Loren Eiseley. Wood believes writers like Harold Bloom and George Steiner are also worth reading because they use literature to observe culture. We may be very grateful that Barry Wood taught us so many of the books that are worth reading.
After teaching at Christopher Newport for 43 years, in 2004, Barry and wife Ann moved from Hampton to Easton, Maryland because they "just liked the town." During the past 11 years, Barry has kept busy. He participates in a twice-monthly book club, taught an adult literature class for two years at the local community college, and supports a local classical music series. He also volunteered at a local hospice program, where he visited a hospice patient each week for 10 months and truly enjoyed just listening with affection and delight to this WWII veteran's stories of his life and exploits during the war. In addition, with the devoted attention of his wife Ann, he attends to his heart health, physical therapy and general well-being.
Mary Ellen Wilkinson (called "Cissy") as a senior at NNHS. 1964 Anchor yearbook photo.
MARY ELLEN WILKINSON, born in Colorado, moved with her family to the Peninsula in 1958, when her career Army father was transferred to Fort Monroe. After graduating from Newport News High School in 1964, she enrolled at CNC on the advice of her English teacher at NNHS, Mrs. Margaret F. Baab, who had taught Barry Wood at Hampton High and urged Mary Ellen to enroll in one of his classes. After her freshman year, she transferred to William & Mary and earned a BA in Philosophy in 1968. After working for Social Services in Richmond for 9 years, primarily serving children in foster care, Mary Ellen next earned a law degree (JD) at UVA in 1982. For the next 20 years, she worked as legal counsel at Richmond's Jefferson National Bank (later Wachovia), retiring in 2002. Then she worked at a small law firm in Richmond from 2004 - 2015. She still lives in Richmond, near the Botanical Garden, where she volunteers as a Garden Guide.
Mary Ellen Wilkinson at the 2014 CNC First Decaders Picnic in Newport News Park. Photo by Charlie Snead.
Published December 18, 2015
CNU Tennis Courts Named in Honor of
First Decader Jim Eyre and Wife
by A. Jane Chambers
Jim and Sarah Eyre (center) pose with members of CNU's Men's and Women's TennisTeams and Tennis Director Eric Christiansen (back left, with red hair and beard). All photos in this article were made by CNU's photographers.
During Homecoming this year, two "CNU Firsts" occurred: (1) a Christopher Newport alumnus had something on campus named to honor him and (2) no major monetary donation was required for this honor. On Saturday, October 24, 2015, during the noon hour, a luncheon .and dedication service were held at the site of the twelve CNU tennis courts, officially named then the James T. and Sarah C. Eyre Tennis Courts
Jim and Sarah Eyres (right) with daughter Sally and her husband, Jamey Rock (left).
When asked why he was chosen for this honor, Jim gave three reasons, adding "That is my opinion only." First, he said, since building the tennis courts "didnot require a major contribution," CNU " had no specific person to name them for." Second, the University "wanted to name something on campus for an alumnus" and his name came up because Jim has "been involved in tennis to different degrees" most of his life and "played on the tennis team" at then CNC. The third reason, he said, is that he is "one of the oldest alumni supporters that has been working with Paul [Trible] since he first came here."
The sign held by Jim and Sarah (left) gives two reasons for this naming honor: "their love of tennis and their many contributions to the success of CNU." Every gate to the 12 courts bears this sign. The Eyres have been involved in tennis all of their adult lives. Jim has refereed and coached as well as playing, and the couple still play tennis.
During his first two years at CNC (1962-64), Jim played tennis for CNC "unofficially" (the College had no courts & no program). When he joined the Army in 1964, he coached and played on an Army team while in Officers Candidate School (OCS), before serving a tour in South Vietnam as First Lieutenant with the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta. Afterwards, beginning his career in business and finance, he returned to CNC in 1973, where he played tennis for CNC officially, under Coach Jack Armistead, while completing his B.A. in Business Administration in 1975.
The Eyre couple's "many contributions to the success of CNU" include Jim's outstanding service in several major areas, from 1995 to the present. His work on the CNU Alumni's Board of Directors (1995-98) and as Alumni President (1997-98) earned him CNU's Outstanding Alumni Award in 1999. Jim also served nine years on the CNUEducational Foundation's (CNUEF) Board of Trustees (1997-2006).
When Jim retired from his very successful business, VBS Material Handling Equipment, in 2006, he and Sarah moved to Isle of Palms, SC, but a year later, urged by President Trible, he resumed serving CNUEF again, this time as VP of the Board of Directors, a decision which has required him to travel frequently to CNU from SC. During CNU's 50th Anniversary Gala (September of 2011), he received a Distinguished Alumni Award. He is currently serving a second term as VP of CNUEF and is also Chairman of the Nominations Committee for the Board of Directors. Having initiated the fundraising campaign for the Alumni House by being, with Sarah, the first alumnus to donate $25,000, he is also one of four alumni serving on the Executive Committee for the Alumni House Building Campaign.
The luncheon and dedication were held inside the tent shown above, located between two groups of tennis courts. In addition to the usual CNU officers and Jim's family members, guests included current members of the University's tennis teams and some of the alumni who played on the men's tennis team with Jim Eyre (1973 - 75). Jim was especially pleased to see his former doubles partner there. CNU's Director of Tennis, Eric Christiansen (below left) and President Paul Trible (below right) gave short speeches, as did Jim.
Jim and Sarah regretted that their other daughter, Kathleen, and her family were unable to attend this dedication. Kathleen and Jim Swenson, along with their three young children, currently live in China. However, earlier this fall Kathleen and family joined Jim and Sarah on a trip to CNU, where they enjoyed playing on the tennis courts, seeing the in-ground sign, and meeting President Trible and other CNU officials.
Jim's final written comment to me about the honor he and Sarah have received was this: "I appreciate the honor and will be very proud to have the courts named after my family."
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Published November 22, 2015
Ron Lowder Receives
CNU Alumni Society's
2015 Volunteer Service Award
by A. Jane Chambers
(L-R): Scott Millar, Ron Lowder, Rosemary Trible, Jason Houser, Paul Trible, & Bob Macklin. From CNU Photos.
"The award was surely a surprise and an honor," Ron Lowder said after Bob Macklin, President of CNU's Alumni Society, phoned him with the wonderful news that he would receive the 2015 A. Jane Chambers Volunteer Service Award. Established in 2014 by the Alumni Society, the award is given annually to a non-graduate of CNU who has provided outstanding volunteer service to the Christopher Newport community. Ronald Lowder, Sr. definitely deserved this award.
The Awards Ceremony took place on Saturday evening, October 24, during halftime, on CNU's football field. Others receiving Alumni Society awards were married couple Muriel and Scott Millar, jointly given the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, and Jason Houser, winning the Alumni Achievement Award. Present also at the ceremony were CNU President Paul Trible and his wife, Rosemary, and the Director of the Office of Alumni Relations, Baxter Venderick.
(L-R): Muriel Millar, Ron Lowder (with Scott Millar behind him), Rosemary Trible, Paul Trible (with Jason Houser behind him), Bob Macklin, & Baxter Vendrick. From CNU Photos.
When asked why he has spent so many hours since 2010 working voluntarily on CNC/CNU projects, Ron gave these reasons:
(1) The world-class university that CNU has become began during my youth, when I attended a very special school that was actually, although on a smaller scale, "world-class" even back then. I was privileged to attend CNC and experience the excellence demanded by the administrators, educators and the staff from the college's beginning.
(2) I also take pride in helping preserve the look and feel associated with the beginning years of Christopher Newport. What an honor it is to be a small part of several teams aimed at capturing and preserving the essence of that special time for current and future generations to admire.
The wording of the award is of course a summary. Ron's specific services to both the CNC First Decaders and to CNU were stated on the nomination form, published here on October 9. It can be located through our Website Archives (tab, left margin here) in the sub tab Your News.
Congratulations again, Ron, on receiving this well-earned award!
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Published November 8, 2015
Ron Lowder Nominated
for Alumni Society's
Volunteer Service Award
CNC First Decader and webmaster Ronald L. (Ron) Lowder, Sr. has been nominated to receive the 2015 A. Jane Chambers Volunteer Service Award. Established by the CNU Alumni Society in 2014, this award is given each year to a non-graduate who has provided outstanding volunteer service to the Christopher Newport community.
Nominees for all of the Alumni Society Awards are notified about the Society's decisions about a week before Homecoming. The Awards are given to the winners during the halftime program at the Homecoming football game, which will be October 24th this year. We hope that Ron will be the recipient of this award. His significant volunteer services to both the CNC First Decaders and to CNU were stated on the nomination form as follows:
(1) From its beginning, in 2010, to the present, Ron has been a very active and faithful member of the all-volunteer First Decaders (FD) Steering Committee.
(2) During planning for the first FD Reunion, Ron initiated and served as webmaster of the First Decaders website, which is now in its fifth successful year. He will continue this work as long as he can. The website provides information and entertainment not only for first decade CNC students and faculty but also for later CNC/CNU readers and others in the Tidewater area. Topics include CNC's early history and current CNU events, such as the Alumni House, of interest to readers.
(3) For the first FD reunion (2011), held at CNU, Ron provided an excellent professional band at less than half cost, played in it, and paid the remainder of the band's fee himself. From 2012 onward, he has performed jazz saxophone background music at CNU for attendees at 50th Reunions during Friday's cocktail hour at little or (beginning in 2014) no cost.
(4) For one year Ron served as a non-voting member of CNU's Alumni Society Board of Directors, a post from which he had to resign, reluctantly, when he found he had too many family and professional obligations to allow him to give adequate time to that service.
(5) Ron is now an active member of CNU's recently created 1961 Historical Preservation Club, faithfully attending and actively contributing to each meeting. He has volunteered to provide--at no cost to CNU--an outstanding local band for the first major event to be held at the Alumni House, an invitation-only celebration for those who have contributed significant CNC/CNU memorabilia for the Memorabilia Museum that will be displayed there on a rotating basis.
P.S.: Ron attended CNC full time in 1964-65. After service in the US Army Band in 1966-69, he attended CNC part time, taking additional courses, primarily in the area of computers, while also working for the Federal Government. His career with the government made it impossible for him to complete the final credits he needed (12 hours) for a bachelor's degree at Christopher Newport.
Published October 9, 2015
Newport Hall Opens for the Fall Term
by Jan Giguere Clarke
Appropriately named for our first building at Christopher Newport,
the original Newport Hall (b. 1964 - d. 2008), the new
Newport Hall stands at the east end of the Great Lawn,
directly across from McMurran Hall.
Here are a few photos I took during a recent visit, to introduce
you to this magnificent edifice.
Comfortable rocking chairs are located outside,
along the ground floor on the front of the building.
The Inner Courtyard and Fountain.
Rocking chairs and the pleasant sound of cascading water
make this a pleasant place to read or meet up with friends.
The Alumni offices are housed on the third floor of
Newport Hall temporarily --
until the new Alumni House is completed.
The Registration Office, located on the first floor,
has spacious accommodations – a major change
from the crowded space in Gosnold.
If you've not done so already, explore our newest CNU
building soon. September is a great month
for rocking beside a bubbling fountain
inside an inner courtyard.
Published September 11, 2015
How Alumnus Mike Beard Restored
One Billion Dollars
to the U.S. Treasury
by A. Jane Chambers
When 1974 graduate Mike Beard first told me that he “brought a cool billion back to the US treasury” and “also sent several fraudsters to the slammer” during his 36 years as an auditor with the federal government, I was incredulous. But he was not kidding. The next time your anti-government neighbor or relative rants about federal employees as lazy, incompetent leeches who spend most of their time playing games or watching porn on their government computers, tell them about Mike Beard.
Mike Beard as CNC sophomore. 1971 TRIDENT, p. 78.
D. Michael (Mike) Beard was born with an auditing pencil behind his ear, and at CNC, under the tutelage of Professor Don Riley, he learned how to wield it most effectively. The week before final exams his senior year, Mike took the 3-day CPA exam in Richmond. “Don Riley,” he recalls, “was a major reason I passed all four parts the first time. His cost accounting courses were legendary pains — but the result was I was ready!” And he was the first CNC graduate to pass all four parts of the exam in one sitting.
Professor Don Riley teaching. 1966 TRIDENT, p. 25.
After graduation, Mike went to work in Newport News for Coopers & Lybrand (C&L), then the largest international accounting firm, where he became an audit supervisor. At C&L he honed his skills for five years, auditing for Noland Company, Basic Construction, Mariners Museum, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Smithfield Foods, and the City of Norfolk. He left C&L in 1979 to begin his long career as Federal Auditor.
SAVING MILLIONS THROUGH AIR FORCE AUDITS
Mike began his climb from CPA to Certified Fraud Examiner and Forensic Auditor by working nine years with the U.S. Air Force Audit Agency (AFAA). His audits at home and abroad those years with AFAA saved the government, Mike says, “close to $100 million.” For example, one audit he recalls “identified $3 million in annual fuel savings by reconfiguring how material was loaded on airlift aircraft” and “another saved about $4 million in training and fuel costs by reconfiguring the weapons on board a particular fighter aircraft.
During his time with AFAA Mike also earned another degree (M.S., Bus. Adm., Metropolitan College, Boston Univ., 1985) and then taught accounting, auditing and business courses at a Royal Air Force base in Englandas an adjunct for the Univ. of Maryland (1986 & 87). He had earlier (1981 & 82) also taught accounting courses at CNC as an adjunct.
A year later Mike’s wife, Dorothy Worsham Beard, who had also attended CNC(1969-71), completed her B.S.in Psychology from Metropolitan College,through this same Univ. of Maryland extension. “I got to walk as faculty in her graduation ceremony,” Mike recalls. “That story made the Stars and Stripes.” Shortly after that, he left the AFAA to work for the Inspector General of the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) in the Atlanta area.
Dorothy Worsham as sophomore.1971 TRIDENT, p. 107.
EXPOSING FRAUD AND RECOUPING FUNDS
Mike’s EPA job was auditing state and local governments and businesses in the Southeast and Puerto Rico that received EPA funds. When these audits identified misuse of government funds at places like water treatment plans or superfund sites, he says, then “we would initiate legal and governmental proceedings to recoup the funds from the offenders.”
After one year with EPA, Mike moved on to work for the Inspector General for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), where his auditing uncovered numerous cases of fraud or misuse of federal funds. During his 12 years at HUD (1989-2011), he recalls, “I did audits of all state and local governments and businesses getting HUD money. This is where some of my audits resulted in congressional hearings.”
The last official government photo of Mike before his retirement in 2011.
The first congressional hearing involving Mike (July 8, 1996) grew from a 10-minute film he created in New Orleans at the request of U.S. Representative Richard Baker of Louisiana. The purpose of the film, Mike says, was “to convince Congress to stop HUD from spending $150 million to rehabilitate the Desire Housing Project.” Exposing the conditions at the Housing Authority of New Orleans, Public Housing Operations, the film had its desired impact. Congress decided HUD should not invest that money in that project. The film was also featured on the McNeil-Leherer Report and A&E’s Investigative Reports.
The second congressional hearing in which Mike’s work played a major role involved HUD’s “Homes for the Homeless” program, which an Associated Press (AP) article of Dec. 6, 1996 described as “so riddled with abuse that some houses went to well-off individuals and poor tenants were overcharged or bilked out of their money, according to…HUD investigative audits and reports.” The AP article (link below) stated that “HUD auditor D. Michael Beard says the 6-year-old program is a failure and should be closed. ‘We’ve looked at whether the program has achieved its goals, and clearly it has not,’ said Beard. ‘It's just too easy to cheat.’" Mike’s audit resulted in an August 23, 1996 hearing before the Subcommittee on General Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Banking and Financial Services, House of Representatives. HUD shut the program down and prosecuted some of the individuals, who were jailed. Here is a link to the AP story:
Two more congressional hearings at which Mike Beard testified involved then Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo’s alleged misuse of federal fundsin HUD’s Community Builders staffing. One was a House hearing on possible misuse of federal funds and hiring standards, held on Nov. 3, 1999, before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources. The second was a Senate hearing on that same allegation held on Feb. 24, 2000, before the Senate Banking Committee, Subcommittee on Housing and Transportation. One newspaper article (link below) stated: “Michael Beard, a HUD inspector general, said many of the Community Builders staff have been put on the government payroll as senior civil servants in violation of civil service regulations.” Although no criminal charges were brought against Secretary Cuomo, Congress ordered HUD to phase out the program by Sept. 31, 2000. Ending this program saved the government $84 million.
The last congressional hearing in which Mike played a significant role (June 4, 2001) involved corruption and inefficiency in the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), an on-going problem that worsened after Hurricane Katrina. A congressional subcommittee held a hearing in New Orleans after HUD's inspector general found that the latest incarnation of HANO had failed to rehabilitate even one of its 10 traditional housing complexes despite having spent $139 million of the $243 million it had received for such modernization. As HUD's regional inspector general, Mike concluded his testimony at that hearing by urging the federal government to seize "immediate" control of the agency. "If HANO were a Section 8 landlord, its properties would flunk the Section 8 inspections and HUD would remove HANO as landlord, "he said.” If HANO were a Section 8 landlord, HUD could prosecute it for failing to provide housing that meets contract standards" (quoted from the link below). HUD took control of the agency eight months later.
Entrance to the major Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, GA. Internet photo.
Popular sign with FLETC motto and Seal of Department of Homeland Security. Internet photo.
TEACHING FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS
Mike’s adjunct teaching at CNC and the University of Maryland, plus his considerable investigative experience, led to his being assigned at times to the major Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in Glynco, GA, to teach federal investigators a course on how to spot and develop criminal and civil mortgage fraud cases. Originally an air naval station site, located between Savannah, GA, and Jacksonville, FL, FLETC at Glynco resembles a large college campus, with dormitories, classrooms, and a cafeteria. As an interagency training organization, FLETC has professionals from diverse backgrounds serve on its faculty. About one-third of the teaching staff are permanent FLETC employees. The others, like Mike, are federal officers and investigators on short-term assignment from their parent organizations (Wikipedia summary).
FLETC agents studying in classrooms in Glynco, GA. Internet photo.
Aerial view of Glynco, showing student housing on the left.
FLETC serves as an interagency law enforcement training organization for 91 United States Federal law enforcement agencies. Its stated mission is to “train those who protect our homeland.” It also provides training to state, local, campus, tribal, and international law enforcement agencies. In addition to Glynco, FLETC operates residential training sites in Artesia, New Mexico, and Charleston, SC, plus an in-service re-qualification training facility in Cheltenham, Maryland. Established in 1970 as a branch of the Department of the Treasury, operating first in Washington, DC, FLETC was formally transferred on March 1, 2003 to the newly created Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which supervises its administrative and financial activities. (Wikipedia summary)
RECOUPING MORE MILLIONS FOR HUD
Mike’s audits at HUD, he says, “resulted in several criminal indictments and civil lawsuits against folks who misused HUD money. The largest check HUD received from a firm audited by me was $54 million.”In auditing a hospital in Bayamon, Puerto Rica, he discovered that “the directors paid themselves huge salaries, made loans to family members, bought luxury cars, etc. — the audit questioned over $5 million. But after the criminal and civil suits, the directors ended up settling with HUD and wrote HUD a check for $54 million.”
He also “ran several civil suits against mortgage origination companies to recoup Federal Housing Administration mortgage funds for worthless mortgages the firms originated. Mortgage companies frequently settled these quickly and they involved millions.” As HUD’s District Inspector General for Audits for HUD, Mike also uncovered a pattern of theft by a Cherokee Nation Secretary-Treasurer that resulted in sanctions against her. His auditing showed that over a 4-year period, she “diverted $8,200 from the tribe’s housing authority for her own use,” reported the Muskogee Daily Phoenix, citing “a July 15, 1998 document from D. Michael Beard,” who “had reported the matter to federal prosecutors in Muskogee and the FBI.” Here’s the link to that story: http://newsok.com/hud-sanctions-wanted-against-cherokee-official/article/2622511.
MOVING FROM HUD TO HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS)
In his last year at HUD, 2011, Mike recalls, he helped “set up the audit office for a new Inspector General for the Federal Housing Finance Agency. I did that for a year, hiring all the auditors, setting policy, and starting an audit agenda. My reward for this endeavor was my selection to be an Assistant Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).” His full title was Assistant Inspector General of the Office of Emergency Management Oversight. Two years later (2013) he wasappointed Assistant Inspector General for Integrity and Quality Oversight, the office he held until his retirement in January 2015.
The Dry Comal Creek Flood Retarding Dam under construction on August 8, 2012. Photo by Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News.
Mike’s audits at DHA centered on misuse of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds. One of his memorable FEMA cases at DHA involved a flood-control dam being built in south Texas. The January 3, 2013, issue of My San Antonio reported:
“Just days before Comal County commissioners formally accepted a new flood control dam in Krueger Canyon on Dec. 6, they received upsetting news about it from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Despite earlier approving $12.25 million in grants for the long-delayed $19.2 million dam on a tributary of the Dry Comal Creek, FEMA has retroactively decided to cut $7 million in aid. The grant reduction stems from an audit by the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, which found the dam didn't meet FEMA benefit-cost requirements for hazard mitigation projects.“FEMA officials approved this ineligible project because they did not review the county's benefit-cost analysis methodology and, therefore, were not aware that the project did not meet FEMA eligibility requirements,” Assistant Inspector GeneralMichael Beard said in a June 21 memo. He proposed disapproving all $12.2 million in approved FEMA grants, constituting 75 percent of eligible project costs, of which $5.25 million has been paid.”
The county hoped to appeal the $7million cut by FEMA. As of this writing, no decision has been made, however. Here’s the link to that story:
Given the wealth of evidence Mike sent me, I have no reason to doubt that during his federal service: “In all, just over $1 billion came back to the treasury from all the audits I did at AFAA and the Offices of Inspector General at EPA, HUD, and DHS.”
The last official report from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security states:
“Mr. Beard has been honored with several awards including: President’s Council for Integrity and Efficiency Award for Excellence, HUD Inspector General’s Special Recognition Award and Audit Manager of the Year, EPA Inspector General’s Most Improved Division Award, and a Unit Citation from the Secretary of the Air Force. He authored several audit reports which resulted in criminal and civil prosecutions as well as five congressional hearings. He also produced a film regarding housing conditions in New Orleans for congressional use.”
I salute Michael Beard’s federal service. Our nation could use more such dedicated workers at the national, state and local levels.
D. MICHAEL BEARD was born in Haugen, Japan and grew up in an Army family, living in 7 states and 3 foreign countries (Japan, Turkey, & Germany). He attended high schools in Maine, Kansas, Heidelberg, Germany and Louisiana—graduating from Leesville High in LA. DOROTHY WORSHAM BEARD grew up in a Coast Guard family. Born in Elizabeth City, NC, she lived in Bermuda, Alaska, NC and VA. She managed to spend all of her high school years in one place, however, Denbigh High. Mike came to CNC after serving 2 years in the Army and the two met in Col. Lawson’s math class. At CNC Mike was in the Veterans’ Club and Dorothy was on the staff of the Captain’s Log. The Beards now live in Fredercksburg, VA, but return often for events at CNC, including reunions of the First Decaders. They have one daughter, Jennifer, and two grandchildren.
At the 2014 First Decaders Picnic: Mike and Dorothy Beard (L) with CNC friends Lew and Linda Phillips (R).
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Published July 28, 2015
Graham Pillow’s Gekko FX
By A. Jane Chambers
It’s not a little lizard. It’s not an Italian sportscar. The Gekko FX is a recumbent recreational touring trike created in Germany by engineers at HP Velotechnik. It’s popular in Europe among people of all ages, especially commuters and cycling tourers, and is soon likely to be popular in America as well. The basic price is around $2,300.
Graham’s Gekko FX in the driveway of his home in Lakeland, FL. Photo by his wife, Betty Pillow.
First and Second Decade CNC professor of physics and computer science Graham Pillow, who recently purchased a Gekko FX, enjoys his greatly. He wrote that “it is comfortable and goes better than you might think. It is not a racing trike, but it is much faster than it looks. It comes standard with 27 gears, and I find that very adequate for trails and street rides. The handles are for steering but the gear shifters are also located near the base of the handles." The frame is aluminum and the seat is a mesh fabric, so the trike weighs only 36 pounds, says its manufacturer, without accessories such as mirrors, water bottle holders, and so forth. Bryan J. Ball, Managing Editor of the Adult Tricycle Review, likes “the 13” seat height and swept cruciform,” which “make it very easy to get in and out of,” and the seat angle, “adjustable from 34-42 degrees.”
Graham and his wife, Betty, live in a retirement community in Lakeland, Florida. “We are fortunate,” he wrote, “in having several long trails in and around Lakeland, so long rides are available when the mood strikes. Even at my extended age of nearly 84, I really enjoy the trike very much for early morning rides around our development (5 to 10 miles), and when I accompany Betty on her walks the recumbent position makes it easy to ride along beside her and talk about the day's events.”
A major selling point is the Gekko FX’s “amazingly fast, easy-to-operate, sophisticated folding system” for easy transport, declares its manufacturer. “All components remain mounted on the trike – unlike conventional folding trikes, in which the seat, wheels or rack must be removed first and transported separately.” Thus, “with just two quick release levers … you can fold your Gekko FX into a compact size of 83 × 52 × 82 cm” [in inches: 37LX 32W X 28H]—and “in only ten seconds.”
In reality, as some reviewers have found, only those strong enough to lift and fold the trike simultaneously can fold it that fast. While praising the folding process as “quick, easy, and painless,” reviewer Matt Timm, for example, of Utah Trikes Catalog, wrote that “folding time is approximately 45 seconds” and re-assembly time “about the same.” Folding it for travel is not always necessary, however. “I have a carrier for my car,” wrote Graham, “so I transport it fully extended when I want to use it outside my neighborhood.”
Storing a Gekko FX in a small van. Utah Trikes Catalog photo.
In his latest email, Graham wrote that he rode his trike “only a little over 4 miles this morning” because he and Betty had to “deliver Meals On Wheels in a little while.” He also added that “trikes in models where the two wheels are in the rear” are available too, but “due to my balance problems left by MS [Multiple Sclerosis] I chose the more stable front wheel design” of the Gekko FX. “I feel very good to be functional and able to carry on any physical and mental activity in these last stages of existence. I wish Jane [his deceased first wife] and many old friends could have been as fortunate as I have been. God is good.”
We welcome your FEEDBACK to this or any other article on our website. If you wish to send FEEDBACK or want to contact a former CNC/U professor, administrator, or classmate of the first or early second decade (1961 – 74), contact Dr. Jane Chambers at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dave Spriggs at email@example.com.
Published July 17, 2015
Crossing Paths with the Honorable
Anne B. Holton
By Wilma Dotson
CNC A.A. Degree Class of 1965
I loved every minute of the 50th Reunion of my CNC Class of 1965, from Friday night’s dinner and entertainment to Saturday morning’s commencement. But I was especially delighted that the keynote speaker for CNU’s Commencement 2015 was Anne Holton, Virginia’s Secretary of Education. Daughter of one former Virginia governor, Linwood Holton (R), and wife of another, Tim Kaine (D), now a Virginia senator, Anne Holton and I have crossed paths personally from time to time, a fact which added to my enjoyment in seeing and hearing her once again.
Anne Holton delivering the Commencement Address at CNU on May 9, 2015. Photos 1 & 2 courtesy of CNU Photos.
Former Governor Linwood Holton, Jr. and his wife, Virginia, receiving their Honorary Degrees from CNU President Paul Trible.
The first time our paths crossed was in 1970, when Anne’s father was governor and she was a young girl in middle school. I was a young teacher, three years out of William and Mary. I was teaching reading at Richmond’s Mosby Middle School (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School) and Richmond was going through the court-ordered busing. Since her father was for busing, he took a courageous stand by enrolling his children in Richmond’s mostly black public schools. He escorted his teenaged daughter, Tayloe, to John F. Kennedy High School while his wife enrolled Anne (12) and Woody (10) in Mosby MiddleSchool. I remember seeing them brought to school and picked up by a state driver.
Governor Holton (L) escorting his teenaged daughter, Tayloe, to John F. Kennedy High School on August 31, 1970. This Richmond Times-Dispatch photograph quickly appeared in major newspapers all over America and elsewhere.
Groups of anti-busing protestors congregated outside schools in Richmond in which the Holtons and other white parents were enrolling their children. Internet photo.
By his actions during this time, I knew Governor Holton was a man of integrity because he did not support a policy he was unwilling to abide by. I expect this integrated public school experience was something his children valued because they saw a world much different from the one they had known. Since they were both good students and had very good teachers, I suspect they gained far more at Mosley than their former classmates did in the all-white schools. When Anne later became a wife and mother, she and Tim Kaine also sent all three of their children to public schools in Richmond.
For several decades Tim Kaine (L, in blue shirt) has played his harmonica with blue grass bands such as this one in Floyd, VA. Photo from Blue Ridge Muse.
Tim and Anne enjoy dancing at jamborees such as this one. Internet photo.
A Harvard-trained lawyer like her father and husband, Anne Holton worked as a legal aid lawyer serving low-income families and as a juvenile court judge in Richmond before becoming Secretary of Education. Our pathscrossed in those decades too. I saw her when she spoke at The Farm Team, a group of Virginia women who work to get other Virginia women elected to offices. I also saw her in Southwest Virginia’s tiny town of Floyd (pop. 425 in 2010) when her husband was campaigning for senator in 2012. Tim Kaine played harmonica with a bluegrass band there and Anne clogged (very well) at one of the Country Store’s Friday Night Jamborees. When I asked her where on earth she learned to do that, she said she had taken lessons at the Folk Dancing Club in Richmond. Anne and Tim both showed a wonderful spirit of fun and fellowship in that funky little town near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
So here again, at CNU on May 9, 2015, I crossed paths once more with this remarkable woman, a champion of education, who also, from time to time, has been a part of my own history. This connection added an extra joy to what was already, for me, a very special 50th Class Reunion.
WILMA E. DOTSON grew up in Southwest VA, near Grundy, the seventh daughter and last child of a schoolteacher mother and a carpenter father. Following older siblings to Newport News, she lived with a Riverside nurse sister while earning her A.A. degree at CNC. She then earned degrees in English (A.B., William & Mary, ‘67), Reading Education (M.Ed., UVA ‘75), & Library Science (M.L.S., U. of So. Miss, ’94). She taught in Richmond’s public schools, was referencelibrarian for Campbell County Public Library, and was a school librarian before ending her career as a Reading First Literacy Coach in Richmond.Divorced with no children, she also worked part-time as a foster parent. She’s a volunteer for the Festival of the Book in Charlottesville and for organizations in Floyd including the Jacksonville Center for the Arts, Sustain Floyd and Floydfest. She owns an extensive (400+) collection of early readers and spellers she uses to give presentations on the History of Reading Instruction. Wilma lives in Bedford, VA.
Published July 3, 2015
Corrie Powell Twice a Recipient of the Cunningham Scholarship
Also Awarded Another Scholarship
By A. Jane Chambers
CNU senior English major Corrie Powell deserves a vigorous round of applause. Last year she was the recipient of the H. Westcott Cunningham Endowed Leadership Scholarship. This year she not only received the Cunningham Scholarship again, but also was awarded the William E. Wood & Associates Foundation Annual Scholarship.
On April 2, 2015, Corrie Powell and her scholarship donors enjoyed an excellent luncheon at CNU’S 23rd Annual President’s Donor and Recipient Scholarship Luncheon and Program, held on Ferguson Center Lawn from noon until 2:00 P.M. The above picture, taken after this event by a CNU photographer, shows Corrie (center) with Cunningham Scholar donors Mrs. H. Westcott Cunningham (right) and me (left). The Cunningham award is given to a CNU student in the President's Leadership Program—preferably an English major, since CNC’s Inaugural President, “Scotty” Cunningham, majored in English at William and Mary, where he also played football on an athletic scholarship.
The William E. Wood Scholarship is given to a student either in the Luter School of Business or in CNU’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program. Corrie applied for this award last year when she was accepted into the MAT program for English. Representing this award as donor was Sandy Yoder Wagner, Managing Broker at Port Warwick for William E. Wood & Associates. Since Sandy could not stay for the official CNU scholar-donor photo, the picture here of her with Corrie was taken by Kay Rinfrette.
During Corrie’s four years at the University, her academic and leadership achievements resulted in memberships in four honor societies. In the fall of her junior year, on November 17, 2013, she was inducted into the Alpha Chi National College Honor Scholarship Society, an honor society for juniors and seniors in the top 10% of their class. The following semester, on April 6, 2014, she was admitted to Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honor Society. In the fall semester of her senior year, she was inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society, on November 21, 2014, and then Psi Chi, the Psychology Honor Society at CNU for psychology majors or minors, on December 7, 2014.
As shown in the photo above (taken by CNU) and the two below, taken by Kay Rinfrette, this year’s Annual Scholarship Luncheon was held in a huge circus-like tent erected on the lawn in front of Ferguson Center. Why? Because there was room in any building on campus big enough to hold all those attending. The combined group of scholars and donors has now outgrown its previous location, the Banquet Hall in David Student Union. The 20 pages of the printed program for the celebration listed 196 scholarships, 435 scholarship recipients, and about 300 scholarship donors. To be sure, not all donors and recipients were able to attend the celebration, but even if only half of them had attended (about 475) they would not have fit into the David Banquet Hall.
Now residing in Yorktown, Corrie Powell is a Newport News native and a graduate of Peninsula Catholic High School. Her experiences there inspired her to pursue a career in teaching. Her teachers, she says, were her mentors, who “showed me what Itruly want to do with my life” and provided “opportunities to work within a classroom setting.” At Peninsula Catholic she “worked as a National Honor Society tutor, helped students in English, math and Spanish, and was a teacher’s assistant for the Theology Department” in her senior year.
While still in high school, Corrie also volunteered in the Special Education Department at Menchville High School, where she “worked one on one with students, prompted tests and even at one point helped to teach a class.” As a CNU student, she has continued volunteering at Menchville, but “also completed a practicum at the Denbigh Learning Center from August to November of 2013 in a TESOL adult basic literacy classroom.” Little wonder that she is a member of the Service Distinction Program at the University along with being in the President’s Leadership Program.
In addition to all this volunteer work, Corrie also took graduate level courses this past semester along with her undergraduate classes. And her GPA (prior to final exams) was an impressive 3.77. She hopes to graduate this May Magna cum laude. At that, no doubt she’ll complete her MAT and then begin her teaching career at a high school on the Peninsula, she hopes.
The Cunningham Endowed Scholarshipwas made possible through the donations of many—including the Cunningham Family, Friends of Scotty Cunningham, Sponsors and Contributing CNC Members and Friends who made possible publication of Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, and profit from sales of that book. Each Cunningham Scholar receives an autographed copy ofMemories. To learn more about and/or contribute to this fund, contact Lucy Latchum at (757) 594-7702 and state the Cunningham Scholarship number: 1208.
Published April 24, 2015
Drs. Jane and George Webb Honored at CNU
with Reading Room and Portrait
by A. Jane Chambers
Professors Emeriti Dr. Jane Carter and Dr.George Randolph Webb were recently honored at CNU for their “lasting contributions in academics in physics, computer science and engineering, and in athletics by establishing the Christopher Newport Varsity Sailing Team” (see CNU Facebook page). A room in Luter Hall was named the Webb Reading Room in the married team’s honor, and in early February, a portrait of them was unveiled at a champagne ceremony in that room attended by family, friends, former colleagues, and CNU officials.
The photograph above shows Drs. Jane and George Webb (3rd & 4th from the left) observing the unveiling of the Webb portrait in CNU’s Luter Hall in early February, 2015. Shown with them are (from left) Bob Hodson (family friend), Dr.Dave Doughty (CNU Provost & Professor of Physics & Engineering ) and, right of George, Lewis Webb (one of their sons), Dr. David Game (Associate Professor Emeritus, Computer Science ), Dr.Lynn Lambert (Associate Professor of Physics & Computer Science), and Lucy Latchum (CNU’s Senior Director of Advancement for Planned Giving, Scholarships & Stewardship). The portrait was made by Photo Reflections, in Newport News, located in Hilton Village.
FOUNDING THE PHYSICS DEPARTMENT
When the Webbs came to Christopher Newport in the 1973-74 academic year, as Dr. Jane Webb recently stated, “There was no physics department.” There were no professors with doctorates either. “There was Sue-Gray Norton Al-Salaam and she had some help from Graham Pillow,” CNC’s first physics professor, who was by that time, however, Chairman of the Computer Department. The Webbs set about building a department, hiring two faculty with Ph.Ds—first Dr. Dave Doughty (now CNU’s Provost) and then Dr. Martin Buoncristian. And “Physics suddenly became popular.” The first major contribution the Drs. Webb made to our institution was creating a viable Physics Department resulting in a B.S.
COMBINING PHYSICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
When Graham Pillow left in 1978, to run the computer program at UVA, CNC had a problem getting a suitable chair for the Computer Science Department. After that department “failed five times in a row to get a decent chair,” Jane recalls, “Vice President Richard Summerville brought all the faculty from both departments into the Board Room and said, ‘This is permanent. There will be no separate physics and computer science ever again. Now I am going to leave the room and you can talk to George and Jane.’ Stunned silence as he exited. So we talked a bit and then we said the same thing, left, and the two groups somehow made a permanent peace. Everyone got along every well and they still do. Amazing.”
ADDING COMPUTER ENGINEERING
The Department of Physics and Computer Science gained a third branch next, when Dr. George Webb decided to add computer engineering, bringing the title of the department to what it still is today: The Department of Physics, Computer Science & Engineering. The current CNU catalog describes the program as including both a 4-year BS degree and 5-year BS/MS degree. Students seeking the BS degree can major in one of 3 areas: applied physics, computer engineering, or information systems. If they add a 5th year of study, they can earn a dual BS and MS degree in applied physics and computer science, likely increasing their lifetime earnings and the potential for diverse opportunities and job satisfaction. The department founded and ably led by the Drs. Webb currently has 4 Full Professors, 9 Associate Professors, 6 Assistant Professors, 1 Lecturer, and 4 Instructors.
In addition to their “lasting contributions in academics in physics, computer science and engineering,” the Webbs have also been honored for their lasting contribution in athletics. They founded the Christopher Newport Varsity Sailing Team in the latter 1970s. The role of the Drs. Webb in establishing this sport at Christopher Newport will be the subject of a later article on this website. The CNU Sailing Team photo below is from a CNU Facebook page.
Published February 27, 2015
Archaeologist Pat Garrow Honored with
Distinguished Service Award
By A. Jane Chambers
OnFriday night, January 9, 2015, Patrick H. (Pat) Garrow (AA, 1963) received the Carol V. Ruppe Distinguished Service Award at a meeting in Seattle of the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA). The plaque (right) states that the award was “For His Selfless Volunteer Contributions to the SHA, Including Leadership Roles on the Board of Directors and as Conference Committee Chair.” It was presented to Pat during the Society’s awards banquet.
When I learned this news via Facebook, I contacted Pat for more information. He said he felt “honored” when he was given the award. “It was a very moving moment for me,” he added. “This is a very meaningful award.”
When I asked what his “selfless volunteer contributions” had been, he replied, “I spent fifteen years as Chair of the SHA Conference Committee, and helped set up meetings in the US, Canada, and the UK. I also served a term on the SHA Board. It was all fun,” he added.
Shortly after receiving the award, Pat learned that the award comes with a free life membership in the SHA, which he found “pretty incredible!”
Pat’s Facebook profile photo, made in January of 2014.
The SHA meeting in Seattle, which was January 6 – 10, was for Pat “a busy meeting,” with many commitments. As President of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA), he had “ the RPA Board meeting on Tuesday, the RPA booth open during the meeting, the SHA reception on Thursday night, the SHA business meeting on Friday, the awards banquet on Friday night, and my paper and the symposium I was drafted to chair on Saturday.” All of these commitments might sound like work to most of us, but to dedicated archaeologist Pat Garrow, it’s work that is also fun.
PATRICK HENRY (PAT)GARROW III, a native of Newport News, VA, earned his AA at CNC in 1963, then his BA (66) and MA (68) in Anthropology at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he later also did additional graduate work in 1972. In 1977 he became a registered professional archaeologist (RPA).
After a long and distinguished career in archaeology, which included publishing 9 professional books and over 50 articles, in 2011 Pat was elected President of the Register of Professional Archaeologist (RPA), the certifying body for all professional archaeologists in the USA. and Canada (and soon, the UK and the rest of Europe).
Not long after selling his very successful business, Garrow & Associates, Inc. (which he and his wife had founded in 1983), Pat attempted retirement in 2002, but quickly “unretired.” He currently works for Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRA) as Director of Operations for Tennessee, Principal Investigator, and Project Manager. He and wife Barbara live in Dandridge, TN. They have 3 sons and 2 grandchildren.
Pubished January 16, 2015
My Favorite Four First Decade Professors
By John William Moore
When I arrived on the campus of Christopher Newport College as a shy freshman in the fall of 1965, it seemed like I had traveled a very short distance from Ferguson High School. Before I left CNC, however, I wouldtravel a great distance in my knowledge of the world. I enjoy seeing the old pictures of the buildings on the 1960s campus, but the main thing I remember about CNC is a group of talented professors I had that the college had been fortunate enough to attract.
Dr. E. Spencer Wise, 1969 Trident, p. 24.
Dr. E. Spencer Wise
Dr. Wise had a great sense of humor. I remember him once saying, “I didn’t marry my wife because her family had lots of money. Of course, I didn’t let that stand in my way, either.”
Our plant taxonomy class only had four students, so we would all pile into his old Ford Falcon and go hunting for plants. We would be flying down the road in his Falcon and he would go, “Oh, oh, oh! I just spotted an interesting plant in the woods.” He would hit the brakes, throw the car in reverse, and back up until we could get out and see the plant. He definitely had an eye for plants.
Dr. Ruth Mulliken
I took a summer class in introduction to psychology after my freshman year. It was held in a lecture hall with 40 or 50 students. When Dr. Mulliken walked in, she said, “For those of you from UVA or William and Mary who think you are here to take an easy class, this is not easy.” I was instantly petrified. Could I possibly pass? I studied for the first test for hours and hours. The next class after the test, Dr. Mulliken walked in with a small piece of pink paper. She glanced at it, then asked, “Who is Mr. Moore?” I am sure I turned red in the face and began to sweat as I slowly raised my hand. She said, “Congratulations. You made the highest score on the first test.”
Dr. Ruth K. Mulliken, 1969 Trident, p. 26.
I credit Dr. Mulliken with helping me see the world from a different view. One of the things she did that summer was to walk in and slam her book on the podium and say, “Those crazy men drivers!” I had never heard that phrase with “men” in it before and it gave me a different perspective. I was hooked and became a psychology major.
Dr. Steve Sanderlin
I was trying to choose a professor to take for freshman English during my first semester. A friend made a suggestion that went something like, “Take Dr. Sanderlin. You’ll have to work hard, but you’ll learn a lot.” The first thing we all found out in Dr. Sanderlin’s class was that the following criteria were not used for assigning grades: age, need, or time since last taking a course.
Dr. W. Stephen Sanderlin, Jr., 1968 Trident, p. 32.
We had an in-class essay every Friday and a student had to get at least one C on an essay to pass the class. Of course, if the student used it’s or its incorrectly, it was a big deduction. A run-on sentence or fragment resulted in an automatic F. One of the students said he got back his paper and could see where Dr. Sanderlin had been marking it before hitting a sentence fragment. At that point there was a gigantic F R A G written on the paper in red ink and a 69 at the top.
My papers came back with basically the same message written at the bottom: “Mr. Moore. This paper is a series of disconnected declarative sentences. Please vary your writing style.” Since I was consistently getting low Cs on each paper, I was not about to tempt fate by varying my writing style. I figured a low C in his class was golden.
One of my friends said he was talking to Dr. Sanderlin and complaining about how much he was struggling in another class. Dr. Sanderlin replied that he knew how it felt because he had struggled while taking Greek. My friend said, “I was feeling so good knowing that a person of Dr. Sanderlin’s intellect had actually struggled with a class and could sympathize with me. Then reality returned when Dr. Sanderlin added, ‘It was so bad, I only got a B!’”
I did learn a lot in Dr. Sanderlin’s class and it helped me during the rest of my time in college.
Mr. Robert M. Usry
I was amused by Mr. Usry’s opening remarks in history class when he told us about how he decided to become a professor. He said, “I retired and got tired of waiting for the hearse to pick me up, so I went back to college.” I never met anyone who enjoyed being a professor as much as Mr. Usry. I remember when he had serious surgery and came to the student center wrapped in a heavy coat just to be on campus. I read Ron Hunt’s account* of how Mr. Usry told about the student who said that Martin Luther nailed his feces to the cathedral door. Mr. Usry told our class that he wrote in big letters on the student’s answer, “HOW?”
*Ron Hunt’s essay,Living with Professor Robert M. Usry, is in our Website ARCHIVES, subtab YOUR MEMORIES.
JOHN WILLIAM MOORE earned an A.A. at CNC in 1968, where he was on the men’s track team, then a B.S. in psychology at ODU in 1969. He next served in the U.S. Navy as a musician (1969-72). After that, he earned two more psychology degrees: the M.A. at Morehead State Univ. (1973) and the Ph.D. at George Peabody College (1979). He’s been at Belmont University since 1979, first teaching psychology, then working in administrative computing. He is currently Belmont’s senior systems analyst. John and his wife, Jeanne, a retired psychologist (Ph.D. from Vanderbilt Univ.) live in Nashville, TN and have one son.
John Wm. Moore as a CNC freshman, 1966 Trident, p. 67.
Dr. John Wm. Moore in November, 2014. Photo provided by John.
Awards Night Photos at CNU Taken by
Jay and Mary Lee Dunn
(October 25, 2014)
The photos below were taken by James O. (Jay) Dunn (Class of 1964) and his wife, Mary Lee, during this fall’s Homecoming at CNU (October 25, 2014). Jay and Mary Lee were among those who accepted the invitation by Dr. Jane to join her as guests that evening, during which she was the initial recipient of an Alumni Award named in her honor: The A. Jane Chambers Volunteer Service Award. A good time was had by all award recipients and their guests, who enjoyed wonderful food and hot chocolate, as well as socializing in the Alumni Awards Reception Tent at the north end of Pomoco Stadium and watching CNU easily defeat Greensboro 45-31.
Dr. Jane Chambers holding her award plaque
(L-R) Dr. Jane, Sonny Short (FD 64) & Wade Williams (FD 68) at the Reception Tent sign.
1964 classmates Sonny Short & Jay Dunn talk outside the tent.
Distinguished Alumnus & FD Jim Eyre (BS, 75) with Dr. Jane at the tent.
Watching fireworks after halftime: (L-R) Barbara & Bill Crute (BA, 71), Dr. Jane & friend Kay Rinfrette.
Published November 28, 2014
Dedication of CNU’s Hoinkes Plaza:
Photos and Comments by First Decaders
Jay Dunn and Sonny Short
Edited by A. Jane Chambers
CNU’s Hoinkes Plaza, location of the Bell Tower and Exedra, was formally dedicated on Saturday afternoon, October 18, 2014. Construction of both of these most recent additions to the campus was completed earlier this year. Both are located between Forbes Hall (right, in the photo above) and McMurran Hall, with the Exedra behind the Bell Tower. Visible also in the above photo, taken byCeylon C. (Sonny) Short, Jr., are the two refreshment tents for those attending the dedication. Sonny remembers the refreshments as “First Class,” with the canopy close to Forbes Hall providing various beverages and the one near McMurran Hall serving “fruit, hors d’oeuvres and desserts.”
Sonny and James O. (Jay) Dunn, Jr., both in the CNC Class of 1964, provided all photos for this article as well as most of the material. Your editor was unable to attend the event.
Photo by Sonny Short.
Photo by Jay Dunn.
As reflected in the above pictures, and reported by both Sonny and Jay, the mid-October weather was perfect that day and the campus still colorful as the honorees and other guests gathered before the beginning of the dedication.
Among those present were alumni, emeriti faculty, and local dignitaries. Sonny sawformer Newport News mayor Joe Frank(whose brother, Judge Bob Frank, is married to Leslie DeYong, a 1965 First Decader) and retired banker Gordon Gentry, whom Sonny knew from his Jaycee days in the 1970s. Both Gentry and Sonny Short are past presidents of the Hampton Roads Jaycees.
Jay Dunn enjoyed speaking with retired art professors Dr. David Alexick and Betty Anglin, retired Dean and Economics Professor Marshall Booker, and Scott Millar of the CNU Alumni Society, related to the late English Professor Dr. Albert Millar.
Photo by Sonny Short.
Photo by Jay Dunn.
Hoinkes Plaza is named in honor of H. Dieter and Mary Elizabeth Hoinkes, longtime CNU friends and generous benefactors who have donated both financially and personally to the University. Most recently, they contributed generously to the Defining Significance campaign. They also gave CNU several gifts-in-kind and established an endowed scholarship for the President’s Leadership Program students. In addition, Mary Elizabeth previously served on CNU’s Board of Visitors (Voyages, Summer 2014, p. 13).
Jay recalls that “the exedra provided an excellent backdrop for the speakers” and that “in his address to the audience, President Trible announced the recent ‘A’ recognition given CNU’s curriculum by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, an added feature of the ceremony,” which quite naturally focused first on the Hoinkes’s gifts to the University. Mary Hoinkes spoke also. The framed photograph of Hoinkes Plaza in the photo to the right “was supposed to be presented in the ceremony,” Jay wrote, “but in the excitement it skipped everyone’s mind until afterwards. It’s the thought that counts, however, and they [the Hoinkes] were very gracious in receiving it.”
After the formal program, everyone enjoyed socializing, visiting the refreshment stands, and exploring the Bell Tower and Exedra. Many gravitated first to the Exedra, to look for their names and/or the names of those they know or knew, engraved on the panels of the outdoor seating area. Names of faculty and staff who served Christopher Newport a significant number of years or died in office are listed alphabetically under years of retirement or death.
The second picture above shows Dr. David Alexick and his wife, Anne, in front of the panel that has his name on it just above his head. Jay and his wife, Mary Lee “enjoyed speaking with Dr. Alexick, who visited Mary Lee’s classroom when she was teaching and supervising one of his art students during their student teaching assignment.” These two photos, plus the two below, were made by Jay.
Above left is a closeup from the first panel of names, showing those who retired in 1992. Most Decaders will recognize virtually all of those names. This panel begins with the year 1970, listing Georgia Hunter and first president H. Westcott Cunningham, and ends with the year 1993. Above right is a detail from the second panel, listing the names from the year 2000.Commenting on Dr. Al Millar, Jay wrote, “I took an American Literature class taught by him … in the summer of 1969” and he “attended our wedding that August.”
Basically readable photos of all 3 full panels of the Exedra are in the website article CNU’s Bell Tower and Exedra:Honoring the Past with New Traditions, whichis in our Website ARCHIVES, subtab Your News.
The other major attraction was of course the Bell Tower. Many attendees wanted to ring that famous bell from the SS United States, built with pride by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in the early 1950s and for some time the fastest ocean liner in the world. The photo left above (by Jay) shows the guests of highest honor, Mr. and Mrs. Hoinkes, jointly holding the bell’s rope as they prepared to ring the bell. The second photo (also by Jay) shows First Decader Lewis (Lew) Phillips III (BS, 1972) preparing to take his turn. Lew and his wife, Linda (FD 70) were among the First Decaders Sonny spotted at the dedication.
Jay Dunn rang the bell in May of this year, following Commencement and the 50th Reunion of his Class of 1964. Sonny Short rang it during this October 18 dedication. He recalls that doing so “was both exciting and satisfying since I have seen the University grow from the college housed in the Daniel School building on 32nd Street downtown to the magnificent campus that exists today!”
Those present whose names are engraved on the Exedra also had their turns ringing the bell, as shown in these two photos (also by Jay). On the left we see former Vice President of Financial Affairs James (Jim) Eagle giving the rope a full-body pull. On the right, in the foreground, Professor Emeritus of Economics Dr. H. Marshall Booker is having his turn, while behind him, another emeritus professor, Leland Jordan, awaits his.
To conclude this photo article, here are photos from the 50th Reunion of the Class of 1964 (May, 2014) of (left) Jay Dunn, ringing the bell, and (right) Sonny Short enjoying a champagne toast at the table with second CNC president Dr. James C. Windsor. Thank you, gentlemen, for sharing with us the Dedication of Hoinkes Plaza!
Alumni Relations Office photo.
Alumni Relations Office photo.
Published November 7, 2014
Newport News High School's 50th Reunion of the Class of 1964,
from a Band Member’s Perspective
by Ron Lowder
I (your webmaster) was privileged to perform for this reunion with our group “Sounds of Yesteryear,” a seven piece band playing 40s, 50s & 60s style music. I have played for many, many high school reunions during my music career and this was by far the best organized and smoothest of any I have ever played for.
Our own First Decader Chairman Dave Spriggs (Cap’n Dave), NN Class of 1964, did a fantastic job keeping everything on track and is quite an accomplished MC. The speakers were precise and to the point (no “ramblers”) and things stayed very close to schedule.
David Spriggs - Reunion Committee Chairperson & MC
Fred Mays had a huge collection of memorabilia there in addition to items displayed by other various attendees. The room was nicely decorated with school colors (blue and gold) and the service from the banquet staff was superb.
Jimmy Crank belting out a love song.
The night was very enjoyable from the band’s viewpoint. It happened to be our vocalist Jimmy Crank’s birthday. Jimmy, a NNHS Class of ‘63 graduate, is also a CNC First Decader. We all sang "Happy Birthday" to him.
The highlight of the evening for me was accompanying the group on piano for the singing of the NNHS Alma Mater (composed by Arthur Hundley in 1937) and their Senior Class Song (words and music by Charlie Snead, NN Class of '64 and CNC Class of '66). All attendees joined in and I’m sure the songs stirred a lot of memories.
A group of attendees singing NNHS Alma Mater
Ron accompanying group on piano for singing of the Alma Mater and Class Song.
By the end of the evening, the crowd was thinning but it seemed to this band member that everyone had had an enjoyable evening.
Published November 1, 2014
CNU’s Bell Tower and Exedra:
Honoring the Past with New Traditions
By A. Jane Chambers
The afternoon of October 18, 2014 will be one of those rare times when I wish I could be temporarily cloned. Beginning at 2:00 there will be a ceremony at CNU that I would like to attend: the dedication of the Bell Tower and Exedra. As one of the professors whose names are inscribed on the Exedra, I received a formal invitation to this event and wish I could attend it. However, on October 18, also at 2:00 p.m., in Charlotte, N.C., my youngest niece will be walking down the aisle in her wedding gown, and that is a ceremony I do not want to miss.
The CNC First Decaders will also be invited to attend this October dedication; I recommend accepting that invitation. Together, the Bell Tower and the Exedra, each completed this past spring, honor the history of both Christopher Newport University (previously, College) and Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company—histories that have sometimes been intertwined.
The word exedra (ex.e. dra) comes from the Greek ex (out) and hedra (a seat) and is pronounced either EK.si.dra or ik.SE.dra. Created by the Greeks and popular in ancient Greece and Rome, exedrae (plural) were stone or marble benches, usually semicircular, with high backs. They provided outdoor places for people to sit, rest, and converse. They were also popular gathering places for philosophers and their students.
CNU’s Exedra, located just behind the Bell Tower, will also be used in those same ways, including holding classes outside in pleasant weather, a tradition going back to the first building on Shoe Lane, Newport Hall, in 1964. More importantly, however, this exedra honors retired faculty and staff who played significant roles in the history of our institution. Engraved on panels above the curved seat are their names, listed in order of the years in which they retired or in which they died while in service.
This first panel begins (top left) with the retirement year 1970 and ends with 1993. Those who died in service (e.g., Mr. Usry & Ms. Ramseur) are listed by year of death. Letters above the names are C. H. R. I. All 4 photos here were taken by Kay Rinfrette.
The second panel covers years 1995 – 2006. Above the names are the gold letters S. T. O. Some people who served from the first or second decades are listed here (e.g., Dr. Millar & Dr. MacLeod).
This last engraved panel, with the gold letters P. H. E. R., cover years 2007 – 2013.
This view shows all three panels and the bricks making up the floor.
The Bell Tower and Bell
CNU’s Bell Tower, like The Exedra, is located between McMurran Hall and Forbes Hall, in an area named Hoinkes Plaza, which will also be dedicated at the October 18, 2014 ceremony. This name honors longtime CNU friends and supporters H. Dieter and Mary Elizabeth Hoinkes. Construction of the Bell Tower began before that of the Exedra, but both were, fortunately, completed shortly before the May 2014 Commencement.
CNU photo made during the 2014 Commencement.
The Bell Tower initiated a new tradition, beginning with the 2014 Commencement, during which the above photo was taken. At the end of the ceremony, the 2014 graduates rang the bell, one by one, beginning with their class leader. Those from the Class of 1964 who were also there, celebrating their class’s 50th Reunion, were allowed to ring the bell too. The photo to the left below shows CNC First Decaders of 1965 Ray Bunn (L) and Jay Dunn holding the bell’s rope.
Alumni Relations photo made during the 2014 Commencement.
Captain’s Log photo (9.18.14 issue) taken by Tyrus Wood.
The Tower’s Bell (above right) is from the famous 990-foot luxury ocean liner the SS United States, built with pride by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in the early 1950s and for some time the fastest ocean liner in the world. The bell was a gift from the late Dr. Sarah Forbes, a great CNU friend and benefactor, who purchased the bell at auction for a large sum. It was housed in Trible Library before the tower was built for it. Forbes Hall is named in memory of Mary Brock Forbes, the mother of Dr. Forbes.
The presence of a ship’s bell is very appropriate on a campus named for the famous ship’s captain who led the small fleet to Jamestown in 1607. The bell honors those early mariners as well as those who built and those who sailed the SS United States. Many CNC/CNU alumni have been and/or are now, along with their families and friends, closely connected to the Shipyard, a pillar of our community for several generations. In varying ways, both the Exedra and the Bell Tower honor the past while ringing in new traditions at Christopher Newport. Long may they remain.
Published September 26, 2014
Memoirby Deceased 1971 CNC Graduate
Martha L. Muguira Now Published
Reviewed by A. Jane Chambers
When I talked by phone with Martha Muguira in 2010, I had no idea that she was in her fourth year of a long battle with Multiple Myeloma, one of the deadliest of all cancers. She never mentioned it. I had called to tell her about the CNC First Decaders and to get information from her in order to create an entry on her for the 1971 class list. Nothing in her tone or words suggested she was anything other than happy and healthy. She was very articulate, quite intelligent, and clearly people-oriented. She asked me to call her “Marty.” I wished I had had her as a student.
Marty’s B.A. in Psychology at CNC was followed by a Masters in Education at ODU, then a Doctorate in Education at William and Mary. She had been a counselor, psychotherapist, and professor at ODU. For 12 years she was clinical director and program manager at St. Joseph's Villa, a non-sectarian nonprofit organization in Richmond dedicated to creating brighter futures for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds faced with developmental disabilities, mental health issues, homelessness and other challenges.
Martha’s senior photo in the 1971 Trident, p. 116.
Marty was also a mother and a grandmother. The only dark spot in her life she mentioned was the death, in 1995, of her long-time husband, Vince Muguira, who had earned his degree in Business Administration at CNC in 1972. As our talk was winding down, she mentioned that she had remarried in 2002 and that she had recently retired from her last position—as Executive Director of Homeward, the planning and coordinating organization for homeless services in the greater Richmond region. It did not occur to me to ask why she had retired after only one year there. Two years later, when I saw her obituary, I knew. She died at age 65.
Last week, on August 27, 2014, I received an email from Marty’s husband, retired Lt. Col. William A. (Bill) Tinsley, who told me that Marty’s memoir has been published and is available at Amazon.com/books. The title is Moments in Time with Mar: My Life Before and After Cancer. Another surprise! Just as Marty (called “Mar” by her family) had never mentioned her cancer to me, she had also never mentioned that she was writing a book. Below are the front and back covers.
I immediately located Moments in Time with Marvia Google and read all of it that I was allowed to read there: “The Table of Contents,” “The Prologue,” and the first 3 pages of Chapter 1 (“Bright Beginnings”), which is a 20-page autobiography that is quite fascinating, beginning with Marty’s upbringing in Mexico City, where she lived with her upper-middle-class family until coming to Virginia on a scholarship at age 18.
“The Prologue” opens thus: “In May 2006 my life changed forever. I went from enjoying boundless health, energy, personal and professional happiness, and success to being a critically ill patient fighting for my life. In June 2006 I went into renal failure. I was diagnosed with a rare incurable blood cancer called multiple myeloma with ‘light chains,’ an accumulation of malfunctioning or cancerous plasma cells.”
Martha Lazcano Muguira Obituary Photo, Richmond, VA
We learn here too that Marty’s daughter, Melanie, insisted that her mother write daily updates, a blog for friends and relatives, which became for Marty “chains of life…a collection of moments in time when splendor, hope, love, pain, despair, anger, and creativity reigned. They helped me find the light to keep living.” These updates, sent to family in Mexico and friends scattered in America and elsewhere, became cathartic and thus grew into this book.
I am resisting the temptation to summarize for you the first 3 pages of Chapter one, detailing the “Rich Heritage” of Marty’s family and her early childhood. I am eager to read more. Bill Tinsley is mailing me a copy of the book, and I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest—not only because Marty wrote beautifully in English (her second language), but also because I can identify with Marty’s cancer experiences. What family has not been touched by the cold and too often fatal hand of cancer, in one or more of its forms?
POSTSCRIPT: Family and friends of Martha Lazcano Muguira established a graduate fellowship in Marty's memory at The College of William and Mary in the School of Education. We now know that she was the first Latina to earn a doctorate at William and Mary.Information on Marty's Fellowship at William and Mary can be seen at: www.muguirafellowship.com. Contributions can also be made online at that location.
Published September 5, 2014
From Linda Wilson Phillips, re: Ken Smith's Alaskan Cruise article: (BELOW)
I have been to Butchard Gardens, too. Back in the early 80’s I went to visit Lewis's sister and family in Washington State while Hubby [Lewis] was in the Navy. Took a day trip to British Columbia. Victoria was so clean and beautiful. Butchard Gardens is a marvel. Could you imagine being rich enough to own and do all that?! Linda
Our Alaskan Inner Passage Cruise
By Kenneth G. Smith
In 2006 my wife, Diane, and I took a memorable seven-day cruise along Alaska’s Inner Passage with our friends Shirley and Dennis aboard a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that sailed out of Seattle.
Protected from the often rough waters of the Pacific Ocean, a cruise ship sails north in the Alexander Archipelago, a part of Alaska's Inside Passage. Photo and caption from WORLD ATLAS, Inside Passage, Alaska.
Norwegian Cruise Lines Itinerary map of the 7-day Inner Passage cruise. The beginning point, Seattle, is at the bottom.
Our ship could accommodate over 2,000 passengers, and with a crew of around 1,200, we had a lot of company on board. The ship was large, yet scrupulously clean, and the crew was friendly and helpful. Our cabin had a large picture window from where we could view the land and seascapes as we cruised along.Our cruise was casual so we did not have to "dress" for the delicious (and unlimited servings) meals that we had on board.The main meals were varied and very good and were served in the aft end of the ship. Snacks including ice cream were also available during most of the day. Meals were part of the fare, but there were also specialty restaurants available at an additional charge for those who wanted something different.
Our first stop was in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. Juneau can only be reached by boat and plane. There are only 26 miles of paved highway in Juneau, so car theft is non-existent. Where can thieves drive to get away? We took a bus tour of Juneau past the capital and governor’s mansion. Sarah Palin supposedly could see Russia from there, but we couldn’t. Juneau was interesting, but the next stop on our cruise was more interesting.
The port at Skagway often holds several cruise ships at once during the summer tourist season. Internet photo.
Skagway was the starting point in Alaska for the gold miners headed for the Yukon Territory during the Klondike Gold Rush. Miners were required to bring a ton of supplies into Canada, and Skagway provided those provisions. Horses and men headed up the steep narrow trails. For the pack animals it was often a one-way trip. The miners didn’t even bring rations for the horses, and if the horses didn’t make it, they were tossed off the trail into the deep chasms below. During the peak of the gold rush, the trip up the mountain was quite odiferous from the smell of the rotting carcasses below. On our Skagway visit horses were in short supply, so we took the train that winds up the mountain along the same path taken by the prospectors so many years before. We crossed bridges and went through tunnels cut into the mountain.
The railway from Skagway to White Pass and Yukon provides marvelous views. Internet photo.
While in Skagway, we took a nature tour by boat. From our ship we first took a boat to Haines, AK, where we caught a ferry that took us to the site where the nature tour was conducted. Our guide on board was the daughter of one of the sea captains from the TV series, The Deadliest Catch. She told us what it was like to grow up in Alaska. When she turned 15, her father furnished her with the necessary equipment, and sent her out to kill and haul home her first moose—which she succeeded in doing. This was the first of many lessons I learned about the hardships of living in one of the nation’s most beautiful states.
During our wildlife observation field trip we came extremely close to humongous American Bald Eagle nests that contained young eaglets. We were there in summer and the eaglets had hatched, so we could see them peering over the sides of the nest. We could get relatively close to them, and we were awe struck. These majestic birds build nests up to six feet across and sometimes weighing over a ton.
Moose meat is a staple in the Alaskan diet. This bull moose was killed by the young woman with modern bow and arrows. Internet photo.
Haines is called “The Valley of the Eagles.” During mating season, the population swells to over a thousand. Internet photo.
After leaving Skagway, we cruised to Glacier Bay.For hours our ship idled in Glacier National Park while we watched glaciers "calve." Large hunks of blue ice fell with loud splashes into the bay, as shown below. We were mesmerized. A U.S. Park Ranger provided us with information about the park, the glaciers that ended their slow march to sea here, and the bay’s wildlife.
From Glacier Bay we traveled 305 nautical miles to Ketchikan, AK. Here we visited a Native American village where we sat inside the lodge of the Raven Clan as our guide told us about the totems like the ones pictured above that had been hewn, displayed, and then when aged preserved by the tribe. Each totem is a visual rendition of the history of a family. We felt as though we had been adopted into the Raven Clan after living the stories of their lives.
It was during this part of our tour that I learned another lesson about Alaskan hardiness. Our tour guide works up to four jobs a year, and her husband does likewise. Her 900 square foot home has a cistern for its main water source. This part of Alaska is a rain forest, and although expensive water can be purchased, her family depends heavily on rain water. She told us that after a heavy rain, the family had water enough baths. In addition to being a tour guide, she works for the school district, opens a health center, and works at the cannery during the fishing season.
Our guide taught us much about Alaskan diets. Most families in Alaska have more recipes for cooking salmon than those in the lower 48 have for all their other meals. Each adult in Alaska is allowed to kill one moose a year for meat, but most meals are fish. When a McDonald’s opened, all the food was sold out before the end of the opening day. To get fresh vegetables, a family has to put in an order, and airplanes bring in fresh food from Washington state. Any leftovers have to be securely disposed of since grizzlies freely roam the streets.
Grizzly bear catching a salmon. Fish is the mainstay of the diets of both humans and bears in Alaska. Internet photo.
Sunken Garden, one of the first gardens, showing the Japanese influence popular very early in the 20th century. Internet photo.
The last place on our Inner Passage cruise was Victoria, in British Columbia. Here we took a tour of Butchart Gardens, which is a botanical garden built in an old limestone quarry by a wealthy cement manufacturer, Robert P. Butchart, and his wife, Jennie Butchart, over a century ago. It is still owned and operated by the Butchart family and is one of Canada’s national historic sites. The garden was enormous, and I, a Virginia Master Gardener, wandered among the many plantings loving every minute. I was not carrying my camera at the time, but these two internet pictures will give you some idea of its beauty. No one photograph could adequately capture the grandeur of The Gardens, however.
Waterfalls, pools, and fountains are prevalent in Butchart Gardens. Internet photo.
Our ship returned to Seattle having covered about 2175 miles. Although there were periods, mostly at night, when we were at sea, our daylight hours on this cruise were filled with wondrous sights and sounds. And even while at sea, we often spotted whales and other animals, either in the water, in the air, or on the shore. My only suggestion for those interested in visiting Alaska is to take a longer tour than we did. A trip to Dinali would definitely have provided even more opportunities to enjoy America’s Last Frontier.
Kenneth G. (Ken) Smithearned an AA degree at CNC in 1964 and a BS in Business Administration at ODU in 1970. From 1970 until his retirement, in 1997, he worked for the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Ken and his wife, Diane Lynn Reid, a Kent State Alumna, live in Lynchburg, VA. They have 2 daughters and 3 grandchildren.
Ken Smith as a CNC sophomore. 1964 Trident, p. 25.
Ken Smith at CNU in 2014, with longtime friend Mary Carle Warren, at the 50th Reunion of their Class of 1964. Warren family photo.
FEEDBACK on the James River Bridge articles (located under the MEMORABLE PLACES tab) and on the Alaskan Inner Passage Cruise (on this page, below) From Barbara R. Jacobs
Jane, You did a terrific job on the James River Bridge history. I am impressed with the amount of research that this must have taken.
I also enjoyed Kenneth Smith's description of his trip to Alaska. The pictures for both articles were very enlightening and helpful to me, since I will probably never travel to either of these places.
FEEDBACK on HUMOR (located near the bottom of this page)
From Dalton Kelley Blankenship:
Can't. Stop. Laughing at the "Password Problems" entry!! And can't tell you how many times I have been through that process. I no longer have the site, but I once had the following password: 1trulytickedoff(insert name of company)customer. Unfortunately, "pissedoff" was already in use.
CNC’s First Decaders Recognized in
CNU Magazine VOYAGES
By A. Jane Chambers
"I was totally surprised when I saw the cover of VOYAGES.
My first thought was "Who is this old man? He looks familiar."
—First Decader Chuck Burcher, the man on the cover
Chuck was not the only First Decader pleasantly surprised by the Summer 2014 issue of CNU’s publication VOYAGES. Both outside and inside, this magazine featured a number of our first decade students, surprising, if not delighting, many of them.
The cover photo, by CNU photographer Jesse Hutcheson, was made Friday night, May 9, 2014, the evening before CNU’s Commencement 2014. It shows Chuck Burcher, President of the Class of 1964, on the stage in front of McMurran Hall, where he was given the honor of initiating the lighting of over 1200 candles as part of the traditional Candlelight Ceremony during Commencement weekend. “It was a wonderful event,” Chuck recalls, “and I'm proud to have participated.”Now that CNU is having 50th Reunions, this Candlelight tradition includes having members of the 50th Reunion class seated front on the stage and having a major officer from their class, the president, if possible, initiate the lighting.
Pages 10 and 11 of VOYAGES featured 11 photos made during Commencement weekend. Included on page 11 (above) was the CNU photograph of degree and non-degree members of our Class of 1964 and three of their professors, all in academic regalia provided by the University. This photo was on Saturday morning, May 10th in front of the stage erected before McMurran Hall for Commencement 2014. A larger size of this picture is located on this website, in REUNIONS & EVENTS, identifying the people in the photo.
The section of the magazine called “Class Notes” began with notes on pages 80 & 81 about alumni of the 1960s and early 1970s who are among our First Decaders. There are also photos of two of them, Tom Wessells and Jim Gray. “Send us your news and photos” is the request printed under the headline “Class Notes.” But most of our First Decaders included in “Class Notes” did not send anything to CNU; indeed, most did not even know they would be in this publication. Bill Crute told me that he “wasn’t contacted by anyone at CNU,” and Jim Gray wrote, “I was NOT interviewed by anyone from CNU, so I'm sure the article came from [the website of ] the First Decaders.” On the other hand, Tom Wessells said, “I did get an interview.” Some of the students featured were also mailed copies of VOYAGES, whereas others were not…perhaps because CNU has no current mailing addresses for them. At any rate, the important thing is that attention is increasingly being paid to our first decade students, even if accompanied by a few glitches.
The top photo is of Tom Wessells; the bottom, of Jim Gray. Notes on both are on p. 80 above. The chair shown is one of Tom’s bent wood creations. Articles on Tom’s furniture and Jim’s novel are in our website ARCHIVES, subtab Your News, if you’d like to learn more about these First Decaders. In this same subtab also are interesting articles about Gloria LaBoone, Bob Weatherman, Pat Garrow, Bill Crute and Tucker Carwile.
Page 79 of VOYAGES, “2013 Alumni Award Winners,” includes First Decader Paul Darden, the white-haired gentleman wearing the dark blue shirt and white necktie in the photo. You’ll see a note about him under “Alumni Achievement Awards,” top left.
VOYAGES is described on the Table of Contents as a publication of CNU’s Office of Communications and Public Relations, intended “for alumni and friends of Christopher Newport University.” Contents in this Summer 2014 issue are “Campus News,” “Arts & Entertainment,” “Faculty & Academics,” “Making a Difference,” “Athletic Update,” and “Alumni Alley.” It is, I think, published about once a year. It is also available online at voyages.cnu.edu. I have learned, however, that the “Class Notes” section is not available online.
Published July 25, 2014
My Thoughts following the CNU Alumni Board Meeting of March 11, 2014
by Ron Lowder
First Decader Rep to the CNU Alumni Board
It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon. As I entered the second floor board room of the palatial David Student Union building, I was greeted by smiling CNU Alumni Support staff who kindly showed me where I would be sitting. This is the same room, by the way, in which the Friday night festivities of the Class of 1964 50th Reunion will be held on May 9th of this year. I immediately noticed that the doors to the balcony (which overlooks the “Great Lawn”) were open. The view from the balcony was akin to a Norman Rockwell painting…sun shining brightly, students sitting on the lawn in small groups scattered amongst the entire length of the lawn, the bell tower (about ½ built) was to my left. By the way, I learned that the tower will be completed by this spring’s graduation and will be rung for the first time then and for every CNU graduation henceforth. The bell for the tower came from the USS United States (which was built locally at Newport News Shipbuilding) and was given to the school by the late Dr. Sarah Forbes. The entire scene from the balcony was simply beautiful.
David Student Union Building
A foyer within the David Student Union Building.
The Great Lawn at Christopher Newport University.
I couldn’t help but remember my early days as a young student at CNC when there were only three buildings. That was also a unique experience because of the close knit, small student body but it was similar in one aspect to today’s CNU: the prevalence of totally outstanding, dedicated faculty and staff.
The purpose of this article though is to give you a summary of what I learned during the March 11 CNU Alumni Board Meeting regarding CNU’s first Comprehensive Fundraising Campaign. I was privileged to hear CNU President Paul Trible’s comments about the campaign. And no one can articulate the goals of the campaign better than President Trible (see below).
As I’m sure you will agree, all five priorities of the campaign are extremely worthy tenants of this campaign. From my perspective though, 4 of the 5 tenants are items that will need tender, loving care for as long as the University exists. The one that will help propel those four items the most (after completed) is the Alumni House. As has been the case at other schools having this sort of facility, the house becomes a place where alumni, past and present; professors, past and present; students, past and present (and even future); contributors, big and small; and community leaders can “gel” in a relaxed environment designed expressly for this purpose. University related events, celebrations, and gatherings supporting and encompassing any and all of these categories of CNU friends, including future fundraising, will finally have a home. Having been a musician for many, many years (in either a part or full-time capacity) and having performed in many Alumni Houses throughout the East Coast, I can consciously predict that this new CNU facility will pole vault the school into a whole new era. I personally plan to present to the Alumni Board some fundraising ideas for the “house” in the very near future.
Other facts of interest:
- Ground breaking for the new Alumni House is planned for homecoming weekend in the fall (October 24, 25 & 26).
- Campaign goal - $42M
- An ancillary goal for the campaign is to reach (and hopefully exceed) the percentage of all CNC/CNU graduates that participate in fundraising. Current percentage is 9.2% (1,923 Alumni have contributed). Goal this year is to reach 14% (2,780 Alumni).
I hope our First Decader group can help this campaign (especially the Alumni House pillar) in some way (as a group and/or individually).
Published March 21, 2014
FEEDBACK on the Patrick H. Garrow article (below):
Pat Garrow sent this update on the Ronson Ship:
The original name of the ship and where and when it was built are now known. Warren Reiss, who was co-principal investigator for the excavation, has spent years researching it. I have been asked not to share that information until his book comes out, but it is sufficient to say at this point that the ship was built before 1700.
1963 Graduate Patrick H. Garrow
Chosen President of
International Professional Archaeologists
By A. Jane Chambers
On his Facebook page, Patrick Henry (Pat) Garrow recently announced: “After two years as President Elect, I became President of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) on February 21. My term will last for two years. It is going to be a challenging two years.” We congratulate Pat on this major career accomplishment!
Under Pat’s leadership, RPA, the certifying body for professional archaeologists in the United States and Canada, has been expanding its reach to the United KIngdom and the rest of Europe. RPA’s major goal is described in its literature as "the establishment and acceptance of universal standards in archaeology.” A Newport News native and Warwick High School graduate, Pat is a degree member of CNC’s Class of 1963, the first class to receive the A.A. degree in the old Daniel School building that served as CNC’s first home. Last May he attended the 50th Reunion of his class at CNU, which he described as “a totally positive experience for me.”
Pat Garrow has a new look this year.
Pat's qualifications to head RPA are outstanding. After receiving his A.A. at CNC in 1963, he went on to earn both the B.A. and M.A. in Anthropology at the University of Georgia in Athens. His career in archaeology, which began in 1965, has been primarily in contract archaeology since 1976. Pat has directed over 650 archaeological projects in most states east of the Mississippi River and in the U.S.Caribbean. He’s also published 9 books and numerous scholarly articles in his field. Among his most interesting excavation projects were Hampton's Kecoughtan Indian sites and the Cherokee Indian "Trail of Tears” excavations, about which he published the book The Chieftains Excavations, 1969-1971.
A major career highlight of Pat’s was being Project Manager for the famous Ronson Ship Excavation in Manhattan in 1982, named after the developer, Howard Ronson, who was preparing to build a 30-story building about a block from the East River in New York City. Since the site was in an historical area, he first had to have the ground checked by archeologists. The site turned out to be the 250-years’ grave of a Colonial-era merchant ship. Built around 1730, likely in the Chesapeake area, and probably to transport tobacco to England, the ship’s hull had been remarkably preserved in the muck above what had originally been a part of the East River. It was considered too expensive to remove the entire hull. However, archeologists were able to remove and save the ship’s bow, which was later housed at the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, along with drawings and photographs. Shown here (right) are two photos Pat made during this major project.
Published February 28, 2014
CRUISE, CRUISE, CRUISE!
By Ron Lowder, Webmaster
I’m a lucky guy! Retirement, like most things in life, can be good or bad. Having been semi-retired for over 5 years now, I can honestly say that it has been great for me. I love my wife (Maureen), our home, our neighborhood, my kids (now grown), my grandkids (six so far), and my semi-retirement pursuits, which include performing with several local bands, performing jazz (by myself) at the Williamsburg Inn on Sundays from April through December, writing and recording original music with my friend Jimmy Crank, occasionally helping my son with his business (Academy of Rock Music with studios in Port Warwick and Virginia Beach), and of course publishing this website weekly (most of which is authored and/or edited by Dr. Chambers). And, most importantly, I’m blessed by having good health. All that considered, it is still necessary to “get away from it all” occasionally.
Now almost a tradition for us, Maureen and I have been taking a cruise every year with a group of friends. This January we ventured to the Caribbean on a 10 day cruise onboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, visiting San Juan, Tortola, St. Thomas and St. Maarten. We sailed from and returned to Baltimore. Following are some photo highlights of our trip.
Photo of old fort (Castillo San Felipe del Moreo) taken from the deck of the cruise ship as we entered the port at San Juan.
Old San Juan is a very charming town with interesting history, architecture and culture. Our ship arrived there at 4:00 P.M. so we had only a few hours to explore. Having been in transit at sea for a few days and without our usual connections to email, Facebook, etc., we were anxious to find a free Wi-Fi spot and the local Starbucks was the ticket. Not only was our Starbucks coffee addiction satisfied but we caught up on messages from back home. But not to worry, there was a Starbucks onboard our ship also. The prices for Starbucks coffee onboard ship were surprisingly the same as a land-based Starbucks (whereas other "brand" beverages onboard were roughly double their landbased equivalents).
Typical street in Old San Juan
Went to the beach at Cane Garden Bay. Beautiful water, golden sand...nice. But to get there required a 25 minute trip in a 25 passenger van to the top of a steep ridge at no more than 5 miles per hour on a very narrow two lane road with the van’s diesel engine at top speed. It was an exciting trip to say the least but we had a safe driver. Later, back in town, we visited the world-famous Sunny Caribbee Spice Shop for some regional spices. Tortola is the capital of the British Virgin Islands. Tourism is a major industry of this island with a population of about 23,000.
Cane Garden Bay Beach in Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Chickens on the beach in Tortola.
Yacht Basin at St. Thomas (taken from the top deck of the cruise ship).
Having had enough beach for a while, I opted to remain onboard at this port. But my wife and a few friends went to Megan’s Bay beach for the day. Maureen said that this beach was absolutely beautiful. Another ship was in port at the same time that day, the Explorer of the Seas. That was one the ships that had the recent Norovirus outbreak. While at the beach, Maureen spoke with several people from that ship (the sick ones were confined to the ship thank God) and heard horror stories about some of the less fortunate passengers who were confined to their cabins for up to four days. Note that the size of the cabins on that ship can be as small as 150 square feet. Just imagine being cooped up in that small of an inside cabin for four days!
Yacht in the foreground belongs to the richest man in Poland. Note that the yacht has a retractible boat slip.
This part French and part Dutch Island is one of our favorites. Our group took a cab to the French side to get souvenirs and, of course, some French pastries. The souvenir shops are numerous and most have very similiar (if not the exact same) merchandise. Then we returned to the Dutch side for more shopping and lunch at a beach-front restaurant before returning to the ship. All-in-all, we enjoyed good food, great shopping, and beautiful beaches across the entire island.
Note that there is no "hard" border between the French and Dutch sides of the island - only a modest marker (statue). Traffic moves freely between the two sides with no guard shack.
Tourist market in St. Maarten (French side).
Beach in St. Martin (Dutch side).
Overall, this was a great trip. We had good entertainment and pretty good food onboard, plus we did not get the virus. Also, we missed that East Coast snow storm!
Towel sculptures were placed on our cabin bed by the attendant each night.
Trapeze artists in the multi-deck Centrium section of the ship perform.
I’m sure some of you other First Decaders have been on interesting cruises also. We’d like to hear about them. What are your favorite ports to visit? What cruise line is your favorite? Which ship is your favorite? Which city has the best port facilities for cruise departure? I have found that personal recommendations for cruises are absolutely the best source for deciding where to go next, on what and when. Please consider sharing your experiences with our CNC Decaders community. Perhaps in the future we'll organize a First Decaders cruise! Contact Dr. Jane Chambers (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding how to submit an article for publication on this website.
Published February 14, 2014
First Decader Tom Wessells:
Psychotherapist and Furniture Artist
By A. Jane Chambers
Newport News native and Warwick High graduate Dorsey Thomas (Tom) Wessells, Jr.(FD 65) and his wife, Lou, were neighbors of mine in HiltonVillage in the early 1970s—young professionals buying a Hilton house. They were an outgoing, likeable, people-oriented couple—Lou a social worker for the Newport NewsSchool System and Tom a family counselor for the Newport News Juvenile Court. I knew that Tom admired wood and liked working with it, because I saw him build a dining room table for his home and, while most of us Village “newbies” were hiding our old wooden floors under wall-to-wall carpeting, Tom was ripping out the carpet in their house and restoring the hardwood floors to their original beauty.
I lost touch with Tom and Lou when I left the Village in the mid-seventies. Decades later I learned that there was a Tom Wessells who was a psychotherapist in Newport News and also a Tom Wessells who was winning awards in furniture shows in Tidewater and elsewhere. I thought these were two different people with the same name—probably neither of them my former neighbor.
After Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade was published (2008) and I began looking for our early CNC students, I soon discovered that my former neighbor Tom Wessells was not only one of our First Decaders, but also both Tom Wessells the psychotherapist and Tom Wessells the furniture artist.
Tom Wessells as a sophomore at CNC. 1965 TRIDENT, p. 44.
How did Tom become a man with dual careers? Like many of his generation, he says, “I was expected to go to college,” so “applied to and was accepted at CNC” in 1963, although he “had no idea about higher education other than that it was necessary.” When he was drawn toward the arts, his parents “discouraged my interests in the arts as a career path since, in their minds, it would not lead to a good job.” So when he moved on to RPI (later VCU), he “gravitated towards people-oriented subjects that eventually led to a doctorate in counseling and a career in mental health.”
Recent photo of Tom Wessells. This photo and all photos to follow were supplied by Tom himself.
While working toward his degree in Sociology/Social work at VCU, however, he also dated an art major. “Being with her,” Tom recalls, “made me aware of what I had been missing. Since I could not draw it never occurred to me to take courses in the arts or design, but I subsequently took numerous photography courses in addition to my major. Then, as a graduate student in Counseling at VCU I got permission also to take furniture design courses. In 1969 one of my earliest furniture pieces was accepted in a show at The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond. From that time on I began a dual career in mental health and furniture design.”
Tom’s resume is most impressive. Since 1972, his work has been exhibited in over 100 craft and furniture shows, galleries and museums in 20 cities throughout the Mid Atlantic states as well as Philadelphia and New York. He has had one man shows in Newport News, Richmond, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere and has won a number of awards including First Place, Second Place, and Best in Show. He has pieces in numerous private, commercial, and institutional collections and his work has been published in over a dozen design magazines, architectural magazines, and various other books and periodicals. Most recently, he was one of only 120 craft artists from the entire nation chosen to participate in the Smithsonian Craft Show in Washington, DC.
Below are photos Tom selected as “a sampler of my work since I began.” Each is accompanied by a brief commentary by Tom.
ARM CHAIR 4 (2014)
This is the fourth iteration of this chair. It is a technically challenging piece. The frame is constructed using a technique called bent wood lamination. Eighth inch layers of walnut are cut from a board and reassembled with glue between the layers and bent over a form. When dry the shape is fixed and ready for carving. All of the curving elements of the chair were made this way. Wood that is bent laminated is far stronger than strait wood cut to these shapes. This fact allowed me to design a visually light, lean chair that is very strong. The armatures for the seat and back are bent laminated from eighth inch plywood. Their curves are designed to fit the seat and back of the user. They are then upholstered with minimal padding and leather. The chair is ergonomically sound. It is suitable for prolonged sitting.
HANDS OF TIME (2005)
This is a piece that has a guy in a work shirt “flash” the viewer. What is exposed is an image of a heart. It serves to remind us that we all have a set number of heart beats. Our days are limited. Paring the heart and work shirt suggests that in the limited time we have we need to do good work. Carl Jung created the concept of phalos, male power. He went further to delineate between the urge to compete, catonic phalos, and the urge to do good work with our masculine power, solar phalos. The crown over the mirror is my symbol for solar phalos. The mirror is added for self reflection. This piece was featured in Craft Magazine in 2006.
GOTHIC REVIVAL ROCKER (c2006)
This piece started out to be a contemporary rocker that was supposed to be in a show in Kentucky but I couldn’t complete it by the deadline. It ended up being a Windsor style rocker. It has an amazing amount of carving in that no form on the chair is turned. I remembered a castle I saw years ago somewhere in Europe that had caps around the roof line that I modeled for the two back posts of the chair. Rather than have simple spindles for the back, I carved gothic arches to pick up on the theme. I carried these out in the arm rests as well. The famous architect Mies van der Rohe once said that designing a chair could be as challenging as designing a skyscraper. I think I know what he means.
NOLAND SOFA (2008)
This piece was a commission, made for the late Ms. Susan Noland. The environment which it was intended to occupy had floral themes and many round lines. The sofa has few straight lines. It has soft edges and succulent-like structural elements. The arm rests are bent wood laminated with the ends carved in the shape of ginkgo leaves. The goal was to produce structural elements that referenced plant foliage. The sofa required an immense amount of carving. The joint for the arm rests was extremely tricky to make; it had to work visually yet also maintain its structural integrity.
WINGED CLOTHES TREE CHAIR (1991)
My dual careers overlapped when I received a small grant from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond, that allowed me to produce a furniture series entitled Secular Icons. This clothes tree chair was built as part of that series. Since furniture is something we live with daily, I set about designing a series of pieces that both functioned as utilitarian objects and also served as spiritual/psychological touchstones. I researched historical art, mythology and Jungian Psychology to develop a visual “vocabulary” of images that have universal meaning. I used these images to develop structural elements and decorative applications that transformed simple utilitarian objects into secular icons. This clothes tree chair’s seat has a masculine side and a feminine side. The ladder and wings represent transcendence. The “face” is a mandala image of the self. The mirror insert is the part of the self that we can see, leaving the rest as a mystery to be explored. The grant also required me to make presentations about my work to various museum affiliates throughout the state.
This piece was the result of a commission to build a table that was long and narrow to sit between two chairs placed before a fireplace. The patron wanted the piece to be able to expand to allow him and his wife to occasionally eat dinner by the fire rather than retire to the dining room. My goal was to make a drop leaf table that from the end when the leaves were down would read like a sculpture positioned between the chairs. This it did from either end. When the leaves are up the piece meets their practical needs and retains an overall sculptural feel. This table was featured at the
Peninsula Fine Arts Center in Newport News.
LUNA MOTH CABINET (2011)
I began several years ago to do small wall mounted cabinets I called Cabinets of Curiosities. These are an interpretation of a furniture that is ancient in origin. Many times world travelers from the past collected oddities in their travels. They had cabinets made to show their collections to their friends. My idea was to do a box with an image on the door made from a technique called marquetry, using dyed veneers (available in a wide variety of colors) to make decorative elements. I wanted the image to read almost like a specimen of something botanical, or of another natural form. The interior decoration was intended to offer more information about the door image. It made the interior a curiosity whether or not objects were stored within.
This particular piece resulted from a luna moth flying into the house during a party on my deck. The party was to remember my late wife on her birthday. My children and friends were present for the occasion. My young grandson had called my late wife “Lulu.” His mother and his aunt reinforced the idea that Lulu still watched over him, from heaven. They said she was present in the stars. When the large moth flew into the house both my daughter and daughter-in-law became emotional, seeing this rare occurrence as a sign of Lulu’s presence. After this event, I was moved to create this Luna Moth Cabinet. The moth image on the door is a reproduction of the photo I took of the moth that came into the house.
Tom Wessells describes his furniture business, Tom Wessells Furniture, as “a business dedicated primarily to design and construction of one of a kind and limited production studio furniture.” The website is www.furniturebytom.com
DORSEY THOMAS (TOM) WESSELLS, JR. (FD 65):After his two years at CNC, Tom went on to earn a B.S. in Sociology/Social Work at RPI (now VCU) in 1967, a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling at VCU in 1972, and then an Ed.D. in Counseling at The College of William and Mary in 1982. He worked first in family counseling in the Newport News Juvenile Court System. He has been making furniture since 1970. Since 1983 he has worked in private psychiatric or psychological settings. He joined Chessen and Associates in Newport News in 1997, working in out-patient psychotherapy for individuals and families. His special areas of treatment are eating disorders, stress management and related conditions, depression and mood disorders. He also worked for eighteen years with the Department of Defense as a consultant doing management coaching and assessment. His wife, Lou Wessells (deceased, 2010) was a social worker in Hampton and Newport News School Systems for 30 years. Tom has a daughter, a son, and one grandson.
Published February 7, 2014
Alumnus James Gray Publishes
Historical Novel: New Garden
by A. Jane Chambers
CNC First Decader James Edward (Jim) Gray (A.A., 71), who retired in 2012 after a long career as a lawyer in federal service in Greensboro, NC, has published his first historical novel, New Garden. The book is named for a Greensboro area Quaker community, near present-day Guilford College, which serves as the childhood home of the book’s two central characters, nineteenth century brothers born and reared as Quakers.
James Gray as a CNC freshman. 1970 TRIDENT photo, page 46.
Intrigued by the Quaker community and its instrumental role in the Underground Railroad, Jim Gray spent many years researching Greensboro and local Quaker history before writing New Garden. With a history degree from UVA, he is an avid student of American history, particularly the antebellum and Civil War eras. Jim also writes a blog, beyondthehistorytextbooks.com, with articles that focus on aspects of history usually not covered in history textbooks. It is very well written, carefully researched, and includes interesting illustrations—proof that he came well prepared to this task of writing a work of fiction with historically accurate material.
PLOT SUMMARY (provided by Jim)
Brothers Jack and Richard Grier make life choices that put them in conflict with their family's Quaker beliefs. Jack chooses a military career and Richard marries into a slaveholding family. Jack's odyssey takes him to the Mexican War and the California Gold Rush and finally to Ulysses S. Grant's staff, where he hopes to help bring an end to slavery. Richard embraces slavery and pursues a legal and political career that takes him to the U.S. Senate. He resigns that office after North Carolina's secession to become mayor of Greensborough, where he fights an annual tug of war with a determined draft board officer anxious to add Guilford County men to the Confederate army's dwindling numbers.
The novel opens in May 1861, which finds Jack in California's Sierra Nevada fighting his alcohol addiction and Richard in Greensborough pursuing a successful law practice. The prologue offers hints of each brother's past, then transitions to their boyhood years in the New Garden Quaker community and their family’s role in the Underground Railroad. The story culminates in the Civil War, when each brother fights his own demons before facing each other after a twenty-one year separation, one as conqueror and the other as vanquished foe.
New Garden provides an entertaining insight into mid-1800’s America, including Quaker practices and customs, the multiple relationships in a slaveholding society, Mexican high society, and the struggles of the Sierra Nevada’s indigenous peoples. The characters come to life as people motivated by love, hate, power, greed, and sometimes noble attributes. This novel explores the universal strengths and flaws of human character. It is largely defined by the choices the two brothers make and how those choices affect the lives of those around them. One does not have to be a Civil War buff to find New Garden an engaging read.
This recent photo of Jim is from his blog, Beyond the History Textbooks.
Published July of 2013, New Garden is available on line in both paperback (308 pages) and e-book format from Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Dog Ear Publishing. For those who want a preview, the first thirty pages are available on the Amazon Kindle site’s “look-in” feature.
Amazon also has five very positive reviews of the novel (four of them 5-star, and one a 4-star).
Jim publishes under the name “J. Edward Gray” in an effort to distinguish himself from other public figures of the same name, such as Jim Gray, a sports commentator, and James Gray, a Hollywood director.
He is currently working on a sequel to New Garden.
JAMES EDWARD (JIM) GRAY earned his A.A. at CNC in 1971, his B.A. in history at UVA in 1974, and his J.D. at T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond in 1978—taking time out between degrees to work at the Newport News Shipyard. In law school, he was a member of the law review and Chancellor of the McNeil Law Society, the school’s honor society. A long career as an attorney for the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service began with three years in the agency’s national office in Washington, DC, followed by over thirty years at the agency’s Greensboro, NC office, where Jim worked as a trial lawyer. In his latter years of service, working in the agency’s Large and Mid-Size Business Division, he led trial teams handling sophisticated abusive tax shelters and provided legal advice to revenue agents examining corporations with assets of over $50 million.His many IRS awards includedthe prestigious Large and Mid-Size Business Division award. He also taught trial advocacy classes to new attorneys and spoke at bar functions and tax sessions for corporate tax directors. After retiring in June, 2012, Jim has devoted himself full-time to writing. He and his wife live in Greensboro, NC, and have one daughter, who lives in the DC Metropolitan Area. CNC’s Dr. Steve Sanderlin inspired his life-long love for literature.
Published January 17, 2014
Bill Crute’s Annual
Home Studio Exhibition and Sale :
December 7th & 8th
by A. Jane Chambers
William (Bill) Crute (FD, 71) is having his annual Home Studio Exhibition and Sale this year on Saturday and Sunday, December 7th and 8th at his home studio in Kiln Creek. (See the 2-part invitation below).
Bill works mainly with acrylics. His subject matter is primarily the natural environment—viewed sometimes at a distance, as in a mountain vista; and other times close up, as in studies of fish ponds and flowers. The word serenity best describes the mood his paintings evoke, whether the subject is a rural scene, a cow standing in a creek, goldfish in a pond, bright flowers or a woman’s face.To see a full gallery of his paintings, go to his website:www.williamcruteart.com.
DIRECTIONS to Bill Crute’s Home from Patrick Henry Mall :
From Patrick Henry Mall ( Jefferson Ave. ), go northwest toward and over the I-64 overpass. Turn RIGHT onto Brick Kiln Blvd. Go 1 mile. Turn LEFT onto Claymill Drive and then quickly LEFT again onto New Kent Court . Bill’s home (# 2233) will be the first house you will see, with an empty grassy area beside it. Phone: (757) 988-8721.
Published November 29, 2013
The 2013-14 Cunningham Scholar:
by A. Jane Chambers
The 2013-14 recipient of the H. Westcott Cunningham Endowed Leadership Scholarship is Peninsula resident Corrie Powell. A 2011 graduate of Peninsula Catholic High School, where she was on the Honor Code Council and a member of the National Honor Society, Corrie is a rising junior at CNU who is majoring in English Education and is also in the President’s Leadership Program.
Corrie and I will meet on November 14, 2013, at the 22nd Annual Scholarship Donor and Recipient Luncheon and Program in the David Student Union Ballroom. Usually both Mrs. Cecil Cary Cunningham and I meet and dine with the Cunningham scholar at this event; however, this year Mrs. Cunningham is unable to attend because of a family event.
When Corrie learned she would receive this award, she wrote to Mrs. Cunningham to express her gratitude and tell her something about herself. A copy of Corrie’s letter was forwarded to me, excerpts of which I am pleased to share here, along with a photograph of Corrie I requested.
2011 Photo of Corrie Powell, provided by her.
“Since high school it has been a dream of mine to pursue teaching. My teachers were my mentors and have showed me what I truly want to do with my life. I’ve had several opportunities to work within a classroom setting. During my time at Peninsula Catholic I have worked as a National Honor Society tutor and have helped students in English, math and Spanish. I was a teacher’s assistant for the Theology Department my senior year. I have also taken time to go to MenchvilleHigh School where I volunteered in the Special Education Department. While there I worked one on one with students, prompted tests and even at one point helped to teach a class.
I am quite excited to start my third year of college at ChristopherNewportUniversity. I plan on pursuing a Masters in English Education along with a minor in leadership studies with the President’s Leadership Program. In the future I plan to contribute my knowledge and teach students most likely in the Newport NewsPublicSchool District, and I hope to become a true asset to the teaching community.”
The Cunningham Scholarship was made possible through the donations of many—including the Cunningham Family, Friends of Scotty Cunningham, Sponsors and Contributing CNC Members and Friends who supported the publication of Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade(listed on pp. 2 & 3) and profit from sales of that book. Each Cunningham Scholar also receives an autographed copy of Memories. Anyone wishing to learn more about and/or contribute to this fund should contact Lucy Latchum at (757) 594-7702 and state “Scholarship # 1208” along with the name.
Published October 25, 2013
Ron Lowder’s Weekly Gig at
The Williamsburg Inn
by A. Jane Chambers
Webmaster Ron Lowder missed our annual First Decaders Picnic this September because he was performing jazz sax music for customers enjoying Sunday Brunch at The Williamsburg Inn, Colonial Williamsburg’s most exclusive hotel. Guests at the Inn in recent decades have included former President George H.W. Bush and the England’s Queen Elizabeth.
Ron signed a contract with Colonial Williamsburg in February of this year to perform at The Inn at every Sunday Brunch. How did he get this gig? He had sent out promotional packages about his jazz sax act to various places, including The Williamsburg Inn. His “promo” included the audio demo attached at the end of this article—which, if you play it, will let you hear for yourself how extraordinarily gifted a saxophonist Ron is.
Here’s what happened after he sent that promo, as Ron tells it:
“They called me up and asked if I would come up there to do an audition. So I did. I was surprised that there were about ten managers attending my audition including the executive chef and the general manager of the Inn. I played for about ten minutes—short segments of various songs of different styles, including Broadway tunes, standards from the 1930s and 40s, tunes from the 50s, 60s, 70s, jazz, country—a variety of styles. I also gave each person in attendance a copy of my resume. It was important to them, understandably so, that I could handle myself with the class of folks that frequent the restaurant. I was hired the next day to play for their Sunday Brunch for a year.”
Front view of The Williamsburg Inn in early evening. Colonial Williamsburg Facebook photo.
Ron Lowder with his two favorite instruments, saxophone and piano. Promotional photo.
Ron describes his musical routine as “just me playing sax along with what we call ‘backing tracks’—sort of an instrumental Karaoke. But the backing tracks I use were recorded in several different studios in England, are mostly jazz-oriented, and are very high quality, having been performed by some very talented musicians. I have a recording studio in Port Warwick and have produced a few backing tracks myself that I use. But it is a very time consuming ordeal, so I find it much easier just to purchase backing tracks in the style that I require. As for my setup at the Williamsburg Inn, if you close your eyes, my performances are hard to distinguish from that of a live four-piece group. I use only the best equipment, which adds to the realism.”
Ron greatly enjoys playing at the Williamsburg Inn because “The entire staff is top notch, the food is terrific, the Regency Room (where the brunch is held) is beautifully appointed and the service is unmatched. I love to see people happy and enjoying themselves. The brunch seems to always produce a lot of smiles.”
He adds that he would love performing there even more if he saw some of his fellow CNC First Decaders at the tables. The Colonial Williamsburg link below, which advertises the Sunday Brunch, mentions Ron and his music and also includes the menu. Consider taking someone special to The Inn one Sunday to enjoy both the food and Ron’s music.
First DecadersBarbara Trippe and Bill Crute were married August 7 at a sunrise ceremony on the beach in Nags Head, NC.“The sun rose beautifully and the waves rolled in with just enough splash as we said our vows,” wrote Bill. The couple chose to have a small private ceremony, witnessed by a few adults and, seated in a row on the water, a small flock of seabirds, visible in the photo here.
Bill says that when people hear that he and Barbara are newlyweds, they invariably ask, “How did you meet?” After “checking each other out” at the RiversideWellnessCenter, he says, they literally bumped into each other and learned each other’s names at the nearby Trader Joe’s. It wasn’t long before phone numbers and e-mail addresses were exchanged at the gym. Even though their first date, at a pool parlor in Williamsburg, was not exactly romantic, Barbara agreed to a second date, and the rest is history.
Barbara was a part-time student at CNC in 1967, where she achieved the rare feat of earning an A in English under Barry Wood. Eventually she transferred to William and Mary, where she graduated with a BS in Psychology. Bill attended CNC in stages, 1964-66 and (after time in the Army) 1969-71, graduating with a BA in English Literature in 1971. He edited and named the College’s first literary magazine, The Undertow, in 1965-66.
Congratulations and Best Wishes, Barbara and Bill!
Barbara and Bill on the beach after their wedding.
Ocean sunrise on wedding day, August 7, 2013.
Published October 18, 2013
Tucker Carwile Publishes Personal
Poems: Lone Sentinel
by A. Jane Chambers
Tidewater native and CNC First Decader C. Tucker Carwile, Jr. (BS, Biology, 72) recently published a collection of his poems under the title Lone Sentinel (AuthorHouse, 2013).
The slender book contains 99 poems, one per page, written in free verse, the style popularized in the latter part of the 20th century. The subjects are drawn from everyday life, as viewed by the writer himself, the “I” of each poem. The tone is essentially conversational, with minimal use of traditional poetic devices, making these short verses, to quote the book’s jacket, “Poetry for everyone.”
Recent photo of C. Tucker Carwile, Jr., provided by him.
The title poem (below) is typical of many in this volume in its natural setting (the seashore), speaker (a solitary man) and theme (man as both a part of but apart from the natural world). The book’s cover (below) effectively captures the mood of isolation found in many of the poems. One could argue that the lone seagull, both solitary and yet a part of the flock, in some respects represents Carwile himself, the solitary man, alone with his thoughts and observations yet a part of his society.
From page 44
1972 TRIDENT photo of Tucker Carwile as a senior at CNC.
The book’s opening poem, “Only Now” is one of several apparently paying tribute to Tucker Carwile’s deceased wife, Peggy Cross Carwile—“someone with a heart/ as big as the sun,/ stopping traffic, helping a turtle to the/ other side of the road” (p. 1). She died in 2006. Many of the verses in this book seem addressed either to her (although not by name) or to another unnamed woman, whose love is fleeting. Love found and lost is a major theme in the book
There are also many poems about the natural world, and Carwile acknowledges nature’s deadly power as well as her beauty, as in “Great Ship” (p. 27) and “Rip Tide” (p. 92). Although most of his verses are serious in tone, some are lighter, such as “Smoking Cessation,” evoking a smile of recognition in this reader, who also went through that struggle to give up cigarettes. Other topics in the book include household cats, time’s changes, friendship, separation, childhood places, and aging.
Lone Sentinel is interesting and easy to read, although occasionally marred by typos that the publisher should have caught. The lack of a Table of Contents also makes it hard to relocate a poem for another reading. A better publisher would have provided organizational help and an expert proofreader. Available in hard cover, paperback, and e-book, Lone Sentinel can be ordered through AuthorHouse, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.
CORNELIUS TUCKER CARWILE, Jr., after earning his biology degree at CNC in 1972, worked for his father’s Chrysler dealership, Merrimac Motors, in Hampton, 1972-87 as Body Shop Manager. He then joined Nationwide Insurance, in Hampton, as Claims Manager, retiring in December of 2009. He now teaches I-CAR classes. Tucker’s son, C.T. “Corey” Carwile III, who followed his father’s footsteps by earning a BS in Biology at CNU, is a chiropractor, married, with 2 daughters. Tucker’s daughter, Amie Carwile Tugwell, earned a MEd in Childhood Education at ODU and teaches Special Education in Newport News. She is married and has a son and a daughter.
To get an autographed and discounted paperback copy of the book, contact Tucker Carwile at either email@example.com or (757) 722-0192.
Published September 20, 2013
Gloria C. LaBoone, Docent a St. Luke’s,
Featured in Two Newspapers
by A. Jane Chambers
Photo by Virginian-Pilot correspondent Shirley Brinkley.
Gloria Carmines LaBoone (FD 63), a popular docent at historic St. Luke’s Church, was interviewed this past spring by both TheVirginian-Pilot andTheSmithfield Times. The May 23, 2013 feature in the “Your Town: Suffolk” section of The Virginian-Pilot, titled “Gloria C. LaBoone,” included a large black & white photo (shown here) of her standing next to the famous 1630 organ inside St. Luke’s. The article also mentioned that she had recently received the 2013 Hospitality Hero of the Year Award from by the Smithfield and Isle of Wight Convention and Visitors Bureau for her outstanding work as a docent at St. Luke’s (p. 13). The June 6, 2013 Smithfield Times feature, “More than a routine docent tour” (pp. 11-12), included a color photo of Gloria LaBoone standing near the main entrance to St. Luke’s. Both pieces were well written, although the Virginian-Pilot one was more detailed. Below is some background on Gloria’s life before her work at St. Luke’s, followed by highlights of those newspaper interviews and some photos of St. Luke’s that complement the information in those two articles.
Peninsula native Gloria Carmines attended CNC full-time in 1961-63, then part-time, in the evenings, in 1964, after she married Gerald Edward LaBoone, whom she had met when both were students at HamptonHigh School.While Gerald worked in business and served in the Army,she worked for eleven years at Bluebird Knitwear, Hampton, as head of the receiving department, until birth of the couple’s son, Gerald Alan LaBoone, in 1975.
In 1980, the LaBoones moved to the Rescue area of Isle of Wight County, near Smithfield. Gloria and Gerald soon purchased an 18-hole public golf course, Smithfield Downs Golf Course, which they owned and operated from 1983 until 2005. As an act of community service during this time, “They started a golf tournament to raise funds for the athletic department of Smithfield High School, and allowed the golf team to practice at no charge” (Virginian-Pilot, p. 13). They closed the golf course in 2005 and sold the property in 2006 to a developer who planned to build upscale housing there that would blend in with nearby St. Luke’s Church. Located near the intersection of US 258 (Brewers Neck Blvd.) and Route 10 (Benns Church Blvd.), the former golf course is now being sold piecemeal, however. Sentara St. Luke’s Hospital now sits on one corner of it, facing Brewers Neck Blvd.
Smithfield Downs was noted for its water hazards. Photo from VirginiaGolf.com.
While working at the golf course, Gloria was also a volunteer docent at historic ChippokesPlantationState Park, in SurryCounty. After 25 years, she left that position to work at St. Luke’s Church, much closer to her home. She still works on Mondays in the gift shop at Chippokes, but is in her sixth year at St. Luke’s as a part-time, paid docent. She gives tours two days a week and sometimes on Saturdays or Sundays if there is a special event.
Both the Smithfield Times and Virginian-Pilot articles about Gloria’s work at St. Luke’s emphasize how much she enjoys conducting the tours there. The Times article quoted Charlotte Klamer, Executive Director at St. Luke’s, as saying of Gloria’s tours, “It’s not like you’re listening to some boring talk. She makes it interesting. That’s how it is all the time” (p. 11). Virginian-Pilot interviewer Shirley Brinkley wrote, “To her, the job of showing off the Smithfield church to visitors young and old is fun” (p. 13).
She makes the tours interesting by providing “information about the church that may also apply to the lives of the visitors”—a technique she calls “my secret” (Times, p. 11). And she welcomes and has fun with the children in her tour groups: “I have learned the most from little boys,” she told Brinkley. “They enjoy the tour, and think that the old church with its buttresses and large, wooden door looks like a fort” (Pilot, p. 13).
St. Luke's Church: Northwest view, with Great Window. Photo from Wikipedia.
South side view of St. Luke's, with vestry door.
Mentioned in both of these newspaper articles were three items at St. Luke’s about which visitors both young and old often ask questions: the 1630 organ, the sounding board that hangs over the pulpit, and the wicket door.
The rare 1630 English Chamber Organ, the major artifact within the church, is a central item of interest to visitors, particularly adults. It is very small, as you can see in the first photo in this article, in which Gloria LaBoone is standing right beside the organ, and it is beautifully decorated, as you can see from the photo here. For over 300 hundred years, this lovely instrument was owned by the Le Strange family of Hunstanton Hall, in Norfolk, England. It has been in St. Luke’s since the mid-1950s. Its full history and the excellent photograph here are found in Historic St. Luke’s Church: A National Historic Landmark, mentioned again at the end of this article.
Suspended above the pulpit in the church is a large, round wooden object called a sounding board (see photo). Gloria tells an amusing story about this early 17th century amplification device in the Pilot article. During one of the tours, curious about the purpose of this object, “A boy wanted to know if it was to drop on the preacher’s head when the congregation had had enough,” LaBoone said laughing, “but I explained that it’s to deflect his voice because the ceiling is so high” (p. 13).
The wicket door, in the main entrance to St. Luke’s, is another unusual object that arouses the curiosity of both children and adults. It is the small wooden door set inside the large wooden door above the raised threshold. The Times feature gives Gloria’s explanation of the purpose of this door-within-a-door: “It was popular during the time the church was built for several reasons, including keeping out mud, animals and those who meant harm” (p. 12). The entire door has “a true threshold,” with thresh on the dirt floor “for muddy shoes,” Gloria said, and “it’s why brides are still carried over the threshold today” (Pilot, p. 13).
Circular sounding board (top of photo) suspended above the raised pulpit in St. Luke's Church. Photo from Historic St. Luke's Church.
Wicket door (with round handle) within the main door into St. Luke's Church. Photo from Wikipedia.
Gloria (2 left in 1st row) with some of the 1961-63 CNC First Decaders at the 2011 Reunion at CNU. Excerpt from group photo.
If you have not yet met Gloria Carmines LaBoone, you can do so at our September 29th First Decaders Picnic in Newport News Park, which she plans to attend. She is a warm, easy-going person who really likes people. If you want to know more about St. Luke’s Church, I recommend (in addition to Gloria) these sources available via Google on your computer: Wikipedia and Historic St. Luke’s Church: A National Historic Landmark.Wikipedia has an excellent discussion of both the exterior and interior architectural details of St. Luke’s, and Historic St. Luke’s Church has information on events held at the church (including weddings), directions, the old cemetery, the gift shop and so forth. For more information or to make a donation, you can also contact Historic St. Luke's Church, 14477 Benn's Church Boulevard, Smithfield, VA23430. Phone: (757) 357-3367. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published August 30, 2013
Celebrating Dr. Rita C. Hubbard’s 85th Year
by A. Jane Chambers
Rita Cooper Hubbard is one of those women whose life proves that a woman can “have it all.” After earning her BA in English from the College of Notre Dame in Maryland, she became a wife, marrying NavalAcademy graduate George Hubbard, but also soon earned an MA from JohnsHopkinsUniversity. Next she became a stay-at-home mother, having 3 sons and a daughter within a decade. But once her 4 children were all in school, she began her teaching career. For several years she taught English at Warwick High School, where one of her students was John Richard (Dick) Guthrie, Jr., who would later be a colleague of hers at CNC, where he would teach French and German.
Rita Cooper Hubbard in her first year as full-time Instructor of English and Speech at CNC. 1969 TRIDENT photo, p. 29.
Rita’s career at CNC began when she happened to meet Scotty Cunningham in 1965 at a social event. Learning about her educational degrees, he immediately hired her as a part-time instructor to teach evening classes, then day classes. By 1969 she was a full-time Instructor of English and Speech in our English Department.
Then, in 1972, she founded and chaired the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at CNC, which grew substantially under her leadership. A decade later, she earned a Ph.D. in Communication Studies (1982) from TempleUniversity, accomplishing that feat while still teaching and chairing full-time but doing doctoral work at Temple in the summers and during a leave of absence. In 1998, she founded and chaired the Department of Communication Studies at CNC. She also was an associate editor for 3 scholarly journals in the communications field between 1982 and 2001 and published articles centered on rhetorical criticism of popular culture. She retired in 2001 as Professor Emerita.
Early in 2007, much to my delight, Rita agreed to my request that she join Barry Wood and me in writing and editing the first book about CNC (then CNU). Memories of ChristopherNewportCollege: The First Decade, 1961-1971, published in December of 2008, probably would not have happened if she had said “no.” Barry Wood’s historical knowledge was invaluable for this project, and he wrote five superb essays, but since Barry never learned to type, much less use a computer, and lived in Maryland, Rita and I edited all 256 pages of the book. By the time we completed this undertaking, we were no longer simply colleagues, but close friends.
On Saturday, May 25th, Rita Hubbard’s children—Mark, Leslie, Steve, and Paul—hosted a party at the James River Country Club to celebrate their mother’s 85th birthday. Having unfortunately fallen victim to a virus, I was unable to attend that event, where some 50 or more friends and CNC/U colleagues gathered to enjoy Rita’s company and wish her at least a decade more of Happy Birthdays. Her son Steve and his wife, Kathy, have provided these photos from that happy event, which I hope you will enjoy as I have. Happy Belated 85th Birthday, Rita!
Dr. Rita C. Hubbard poses regally with her birthday cake and bouquet at the James River Country Club on May 25, 2013. This and subsequent photos courtesy of Steve and Kathy Hubbard.
The Birthday Honoree with her 3 sons (L-R): Paul, Steve, and Mark Hubbard.
Rita with friends Jane Hess (L) and Ann Ellis (R).
The Birthday Honoree with her 3 sons (L-R): Paul, Steve, and Mark Hubbard.
Rita with friends Jane Hess (L) and Ann Ellis (R).
Rita with all 4 of her children (L-R): Paul, Mark, Leslie, and Steve.
The Hubbard “Tribe”: Birthday Honoree surrounded by her 4 children, their spouses, and her grandchildren. A Handsome Bunch!
Published July 12,2013
Les Pendleton’s Novel Treasure Published:
First of Six Under Contract with Publisher
by A. Jane Chambers
Newport News native Leslie (Les) Pendleton (FD 66) grew up on Moore’s Lane, named after his maternal grandparents, whose farm originally included what became the large student parking lot near Ratcliffe Hall, now replaced by CNU dorms. After graduating from Ferguson High, Les attended CNC the fall semester of the 1965-66 academic session, where he was on the Board of the Student Athletic Association (SAA). He then transferred to CampbellCollege, where he completed a BS in Geology in 1969.
For 25 years, Les worked in the movies industry in Hollywood, where he was Production Executive on over 50 films. He then returned to the east coast and began a second career as a writer. He recently sent me the following Press Release about Treasure, the first of six of his novels being published by Deer Hawk Publications. Treasure features Les himself and other citizens of New Bern, N.C.The launch party and signing is in New Bern Saturday, July 13th. The public is invited.
Les Pendleton as a freshman at CNC. 1966 TRIDENT, p. 68.
Press Release for New Bern, North Carolina
New Bern citizens are featured in a new nationally published novel.
Tom, Les (aka Jim), Tuna and David
Susanne and Les
Fairfield Harbor resident, Les Pendleton, has penned the novel Treasurefeaturing several residents of New Bern: Les (aka Jim Hardison) and Susanne Pendleton, Tom and Karen Joseph David and Leigh Pfefferkorn, Ted Clark, Kevin Guilfoyle, Joe Thurber of Raleigh, NC and Jim Fortuna of Richmond, Virginia (aka Tuna). Pendleton is the author of The Devil, Me and Jerry Lee,written for Linda Gail Lewis, sister of rock and roll great, Jerry Lee Lewis. He also co-wrote the autobiography Sea of Greed with Justice Doug McCullough of the North Carolina Court of Appeals; detailing the largest drug bust in United States history which led to the invasion of Panama and the arrest and imprisonment of dictator Manuel Noriega.
After a twenty five year career making motion pictures such as Last of the Mohicans, Blue Velvet, Coming to America, No Mercyand over thirty others, Pendleton retired with his wife, Susanne to their home in Fairfield Harbor. Together they operate Palm Coast Tours. His true love has always been fiction and last year he signed on with Deer Hawk Publications to publish six of his novels starting July 3rd with the release of Treasure. He states that a lot of the settings for his books come from his lifelong love of sailing and the sea. “Almost every day we are on the Neuse River on our sailboat, TwoPeas. The New Bern locals featured in the book are close sailing friends and using their names and faces helps readers to better relate to the characters.” Scheduled for release: The Sea Les Traveled – October 2, 2013, The Sea(Quel) Les Traveled – January 2, 2014, Widow Walk – April 2, 2014, Pride and Privilege – July 2, 2014, Disintegration – October 2, 2014.
The launch party and signing for Treasure is Saturday, July 13th from 5 PM till 7 PM upstairs in the wine tasting area of the Galley Store located in front of Persimmon’s Restaurant in historic downtown New Bern. Mix, mingle, meet the author and the whole crew and get autographed copies of Treasure. Also on hand will be Aurelia Sands, President of Deer Hawk Publications and Jeanie Loiacono, President of Loiacono Literary Agency. The event is open to everyone.
Les Pendleton and wife, Susanne, on their sailboat Two Peas. Between them they have 5 children, all of whom have college/university degrees, and 9 grandchildren.
Les sailing his boat in 2011.
Published July 12, 2013
Curtain Closing on the Captain Newport Mural
by A. Jane Chambers
When I first saw the Daily Press headline “West Avenue Library will close this year,” I immediately envisioned the horror of heavy equipment with wrecking balls destroying this historic landmark in downtown Newport News—maybe because I’ve seen too much destruction of “the old” in recent decades to make way for “the new.”
To my relief, I quickly learned, however, that there are no plans (so far) to destroy the almost 84-year-old Georgian Revival building, originally named the Newport News Public Library. In fact it will have a “new life as home to the library system’s technical services department.” I’m glad that the building will be safe from the wrecking ball, at least for now, but not happy that the library will also “sometime this year…close its doors to the public” (5/28/13, p. 6).
Why should we care if the public can no longer use this old library, the first public library in Newport News? After all, it has few patrons (“maybe 200 to 300 … registered users”), is open only 3 days a week (M-W-F), is inconveniently located (way downtown), and closing it “will save $133,600” in 2014 (about the annual salary of one mid-level state college administrator). But closing the library also means closing the curtain on its famous mural.
West Avenue Library (formerly Newport News Public Library). Street entrance photo by Wikipedia.
Another view of West Avenue Library, by Joe Fudge. Newport News Daily Press photo.
West Avenue Library is the home of an historical work of art that should not be shut away from public view: the 27-foot-long Allan Jones mural of Captain Christopher Newport’s landing at Newport News Point in 1607. Newport anchored his fleet here to get a supply of fresh water before the three ships continued up the river to what would become Jamestown. Newport News artist Allan D. Jones, Jr. was commissioned to create this oil painting for the occasion of the 350th Anniversary of the Jamestown Landing, and it was unveiled in a ceremony on May 2, 1957. It was restored in 2007 for the 400th Anniversary of that historic event, at which time the West Avenue Library was also designated as an historical landmark (City of Newport News source via Google—The Old Dominion Land Company and The Development of the City of Newport News).
The full Jones Mural in the West Avenue Library, Newport News.
Close-up view of Newport from the mural.
At the first Commencement at CNC (June 6, 1963), a “Cartoon” (i.e., black and white sketch) of Captain Newport, drawn by Allan Jones, was presented to the College by the Chairman (Mrs. Homer L. Ferguson) and President (P. Hairston Seawell) of the Newport News Public Library’s Board of Trustees. This framed drawing was displayed on CNC’s campus, until its mysterious disappearance over a decade ago.
The image of Captain Newport in the Jones mural probably looks quite familiar to you, because for over three decades, this was what the famous captain looked like to the students, faculty and staff of ChristopherNewportCollege, as well as to the Peninsula community. Of course, no one really knows what the actual man looked like—except that, some years before his 1607 voyage to Virginia, during England’s War with Spain, his right arm was “strooken off” during a fierce battle at sea near Cuba, after which he wore a hook, as told by A. Bryant Nichol, Jr. in Captain Christopher Newport: Admiral of Virginia. This historical fact is depicted in the Jones painting. That Newport continued to excel despite this handicap, in his service as a privateer for Elizabeth the First, then later as a captain and leader of the Jamestown Expedition adds to his heroic stature.
The Peninsula’s citizens, especially the children, should be allowed to see the Captain Newport Mural, whether through organized means such as school field trips or informal trips with friends and families. If the public is in fact denied such access, then I hope the City of Newport News will consider relocating the mural to an accessible venue—such as City Hall or another library. Actually, it should be housed at CNU. But would it be welcomed there?
Second CNC seal, created in 1970 by student Kenneth Flick, who used the Jones image of Captain Newport and attached it to a pilot's wheel.
After a ten-year relationship, Robert A. (Bob) Weatherman (FD 62) and Carolyn J. Mingee are now Mr. and Mrs. Weatherman. In a recent email Bob wrote: “We got married [May 25th ] at the Hampton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #26 (at which I have served as President 6 times and as Director to the State F.O.P. Lodge a total of 20 years). Our pastor was a Hampton Police Department chaplain. We had approximately 90 to 100 family and friends present. We left for our honeymoon in Vegas on May 28th and returned home June 1st. We stayed at the new Trump International Hotel. We are back home and back in the swing, baby-sitting the grand kids, which we love doing as much as possible.”
Bob attended CNC 1961-62, served in the U.S. Army (combat engineer in Vietnam ), earned an AA in law enforcement from ODU, and served 28 years in the Hampton Police Department. He retired from HPD at the rank of sergeant in 1991. Carolyn is presently employed at Victoria ’s Day Spa. They live in Hampton .
Recent photo of Bob and Carolyn Weatherman, provided by the couple and used previously in their engagement announcement in the Newport News Daily Press.
Published June 21, 2013
Forty-First Wedding Anniversary:
Beth and Ron Mollick
Beth and Ron Mollick on their wedding day, June 9, 1972. Family photo.
On June 9th First Decader Beth Shepherd Mollick and retired CNU Professor of Biology Dr. Ronald Samuel (Ron) Mollick celebrated their forty-first wedding anniversary with dinner at the Trellis in Williamsburg . Ron retired in 2011 and Beth will retire from the faculty of Riverside School of Professional Nursing (RSPN) on September 1st. They plan to travel some and spend time often with their two married daughters and their families.Daughter Alison Mollick Folkwein (CNU alumna, BA in English) and her husband and three sons live in Connecticut ; daughter Emily Mollick Wallace and her husband and two daughters live in Virginia .
Ron and Beth met at CNC when Ron was a young biology instructor from Southern California (not yet Dr. Mollick) and Beth was a student nurse at Riverside enrolled in his biology classes. A delightful account of their courtship afterwards is in Beth’s essay in Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade (pp. 202-207). They were married at the First Presbyterian Church in Hampton, on June 9, 1972, following Beth’s earning the RN degree at RSPN and both began new lives—not only personally, as spouses and then parents, but also professionally. With further education, Beth moved from being a nurse to teaching nursing at Riverside ; similarly, after earning his Ph.D. at N.C. State University, Ron rose up the ranks in his profession from instructor to full professor.
Published JUne 21, 2013
William Crute Publishes Novel:
Morgan Make$ Money
By A. Jane Chambers
First Decader William (Bill) Crute (BA, English, 1971)edited CNC’s first literary magazine, The Undertow(1965-66), gave the publication its name, and after a three-year hiatus in the Army, returned to CNC in 1969 to revive it (see Memories of Christopher Newport College, pp. 130-134)—so it is not surprising that he has written a novel. Since childhood Bill has been writing stories; this is the first one he’s moved from filing cabinet to print, however. We wonder that he’s waited this long to publish it. Pressed for time, I planned only to skim it, but I read all 132 pages. It’s a page-turner.
The main character in Morgan Make$ Money (April, 2013)—subtitled A Funny Story and Primer for Building a Successful Career in Sales and Happiness in Life—is a man named Morgan Armstrong, rather accurately described by a man he attempts to blackmail as “a sleaze ball” (p. 24). His obsession with making money has led to his creating a successful money-making little kingdom that includes a used-car business and an “adult” restaurant with wet t-shirt contests. Often using shady, even illegal tactics, Morgan has become not J.P. Morgan rich, but rich enough to have a trophy wife, gold necklaces, an ever-present wad of $100-dollar bills to flash, and an in-ground pool for his three kids (whose mother is not in their lives). His goal now is to gain respectability (country club membership) by cash (which is refused), then by blackmail—which backfires, resulting in his being jailed for a murder he did not commit. It is in prison that Morgan’s life begins to turn around and making money takes on a different meaning. In short, Morgan is a soulless, immoral jerk who undergoes (thankfully) a gradual transformation when he loses everything—the unfaithful young wife, the children (snatched away by social services), and (most important to him), the money.
William Crute photo from his website.
Written in the omniscient point-of-view, with three intertwined plots, the novel is short and fast-paced, with no wasted words. Characters are defined by actions more than descriptions. Instead of chapters, it is built as a series of short, dramatic episodes, each followed by one of 97 “Selling Principles.” These evolve, as does the main character, from the simple (# 1: Be prepared for customer resistance) to the more complex (# 50: Pay attention to people, your environment, and the miracles we stumble over every day. Sales are very important, but people, environment, and miracles are more important) as Morgan learns that (echoing the subtitle) building happiness in life is more important than building a successful career.
Morgan Make$ Money is available at Amazon.com in paperback for $11.95 and as an eBook for $1.99. You can read the book’s back cover and a few pages by getting on this site. Bill Crute primarily works as an artist.To view a gallery of his paintings, click this link (or type it into Google): www.williamcruteart.com. You might enjoy exploring his paintings. I own two of them.
Published June 14, 2013
From English Instructor to
Published Poet and Playwright
by A. Jane Chambers
Ronald S. (Ron) Stewart, former English Department faculty member and drama director at CNC in 1969-73, has been writing both poetry and plays since he left the College to return to his native Oregon and has enjoyed success in both genres.
He joined CNC’s faculty with a B.A. in English from Willamette University (Salem , OR) and a M.A. in English from The University of Arizona (Tucson , AZ). He has nothing but fond memories of his four years at CNC, where he taught Freshman English (101-102) and the first section of the then-new course Literature and Ideas (English 207-208)—plus taking on the direction of a new theatre group which he organized at the request of Dean of Students William (Bill) Polis and called “The CNC Players.”
Dean Polis chose Ron to restore drama at CNC because he knew Ron was an avid fan of live theatre and went to New York City on many of his semester breaks and holidays to see as many Broadway and Off-Broadway plays as he could.Ron remembers that when he told the Dean that he knew nothing at all about the technical side of theatre, Bill Polis suggested he read some books about lighting and directing. After doing that over the summer of 1971, Ron débuted as a director that fall, with the production of Edward Albee’s The American Dream--an enormous hit that played for one weekend to full audiences on Friday at noon and on Friday and Saturday evenings. A full account of this play and others he directed at CNC 1971-73 is recorded in Ron’s essay “On Stage: The CNC Players,” in Memories of Christopher Newport College: The First Decade, pp. 136-141.
Ron Stewart & actors CAP: Director Ron Stewart (L) rehearsing in 1972 with Audrey Newman and Richard Osborne for the CNC Players' production of Aria Da Capo. 1972 TRIDENT photo, p. 28.
Teaching literature and directing plays at CNC no doubt contributed to Ron’s becoming a dramatist and poet in the decades after his return to Oregon . He worked for many years at the Oregon State Library, located in Salem , in the Talking Book, Reference, and Outreach Departments before retiring in 2007. However, at the same time he also wrote plays and poems.Two of his plays have been winners in Northwest playwriting competitions and were staged at regional theatres in Oregon. Mr. and Mrs. North was produced at the Pentacle Theatre, in Salem, in December 2001, and Cut Flowers was staged at Lord Leebrick Theatre, in Eugene , in the summer of 2005.At my request, Ron sent me a copy of Cut Flowers a few years ago, and I well remember that as soon as I read page 1, I could not put the script down until I had finished it! It is a delightful study of an elderly married couple, evoking both tears and laughter. I would love to see it staged in this area.
Ron Stewart in the garden of his home in Salem , OR, in Spring of 2013. Photo by Kelly Lawrence.
Ron has also enjoyed success as a poet. His poems have appeared in San Jose Studies, Blue Unicorn, Able Muse, Canary, The Raintown Review, and Poetry Salzburg Review--the latter his first European publication. There is not, however, a published collection of them yet, a fact that recently disappointed a number in the audience at the 2013 Silverton Poetry Festival, in Silverton , OR , where Ron was one of the featured poets. Of that event he wrote to me, “The reading went very well. I received much high praise and many compliments, yet disappointments, too,that I had no book to offer to audience members who wanted to take some of my poems home with them.” He also shared with me this email he received shortly after the event from a woman who had attended it:
I want to thank you personally for your most engaging presentation … While the poems and presenters were all, in their own ways, accomplished and intriguing, even exceptional, you were the star of the show to me and I look forward to hearing you read again and again. You surprised me with your humor, perspective, and ease.
Below is a copy of one of the poems Ron read at the Silverton Festival. You will note the by-line as R. S. Stewart, the name he writes under, as influenced by T. S. Eliot, W. H. Auden, W. B. Yeats, A. E. Housman, and many other writers who chose to use their first two initials instead of their full names.
NOTE: If you would like to see a poem that R.S. Stewart read at the Silverton Festival, email him at email@example.com.
Published May 24, 2013
Three Generations of CNC/U Graduates:
FD Wayne Evans Started a Tradition.
Wayne (notice his FD T-shirt) and his daughter (middle) and (as of May 11) his granddaughter, are all 3 CNU alumni!
The Holland Family
Amber Holland’s (‘13) family legacy speaks to much of Christopher Newport’s history! This story is one for the books. Congratulations, Amber!
My grandfather, Wayne Evans (‘84) became a “First Decader” (see the First Decaders’ website) when he attended Christopher Newport College in the 60’s. With having a young family at home and trying to juggle a job at the ship yard, my Poppy had to leave school for a while and focus on supporting his wife and three children. Eighteen years later, in 1982, my mother, Laura Evans (now Laura Holland, ‘87) was accepted to CNC and had dreams of pursuing degrees in music and psychology. Poppy wanted to come back to CNC to finish his business degree, so he reapplied and was also accepted. Although my mother wished she could have lived on campus (CNC did not have residence halls at the time) she loved riding to school with Poppy in the mornings (they lived in Denbigh). Poppy would drop Mom off at CNC at 7:00am, work all day, and then attend night classes. In the mornings after Poppy dropped Mom off, she would walk over to the Commons, go to the big movie theater room, and turn on MTV which had just debuted! Poppy took night classes to finish his degree. While both Mom and Poppy had different experiences in earning their bachelor’s degrees, they have carried the pride of being a Captain with them throughout every step of life. Poppy retired as an engineer at the ship yard, and Mom found her calling in teaching music to children. Their fond memories of Christopher Newport inspired me to tour the campus, and I instantly fell in love with many of the things they remembered - small classes, caring professors, and an excellent sense of community. I am proud to be a third generation Captain, and I will carry that pride with me much like my grandfather and mother did before me.
Reprinted from the tumblr.com website
May 17, 2013
Performing with The Peninsula Retired Men’s Band
By Ron Lowder
The Peninsula Retired Men's Band at Warwick Forest - Burton Hall..
One reward I have experienced for playing music with local groups for wedding receptions, parties, outdoor events, country clubs, and so forth is financial (albeit usually a very modest reward). But the greatest reward is seeing folks enjoying themselves and knowing in some small way that I might have contributed to that positive experience. Since my retirement in 2008 from federal civil service, I have been performing with a group called The Peninsula Retired Men’s Band (PRMB). This band is composed of 10 musicians: four saxophonists (including me), two trumpeters, a trombonist, a bass guitarist, a pianist and a drummer. The PRMB has been performing for over 30 years at various functions throughout the area. My motivation for joining this band was twofold: to give back to the community and to play more often.
The PRMB plays some of the best music composed in the last 75 or so years—songs like “Sentimental Journey,” “In the Mood,” “Undecided,” “Woodchopper’s Ball,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” “Love Letters in the Sand,” “Chances Are,” “A String of Pearls,” “Moonglow” and many more from its repertoire of more than 120 tunes. The sample sound clips posted below were recorded at the Warwick Forrest Retirement facility on Old Denbigh Boulevard on Wednesday, February 13, 2013.
The majority of venues where we perform are retirement facilities. Regular appearances include Warwick Forrest, Heritage Commons, Coliseum Park, Morningside, Chambrel, The Chesapeake, Patriots Colony, Dominion Village, Mennowood and others. Many folks that live at these facilities cannot get out and they really seem to enjoy the occasional one hour we spend with them. We play the music they grew up with and get to see the pleasure they derive from hearing “their music,” which makes it more than worthwhile for us musicians.
Rick Thomasson, the band’s current leader, is also one of the trumpeters; the other is Pete Peterson. Russ Robertson is both trombonist and vocalist. Jimmy Joyner is the drummer (the drummer in the picture is John Petrone as Jimmy Joyner was unable to attend that day); Stanley Chappell, the bass guitarist, and Don Evans, the pianist. Dan Dunn and Bob McWithey play alto sax; Jack Bausman and I play tenor sax. Members’ ages range from the 60s through the 80s. The oldest member of the group is Stanley Chappell. He is 88. The manager of PRMB is Mrs. Bobbie McWithey. If you would like more information about the group, she can be reached at (757) 877-2836.
On a sad note, since this article was authored, our regular drummer, Jimmy Joyner, passed away. He was 85 years old. His funeral was Wednesday (February 20). At his wife's request, the PRMB played at his funeral. In addition to being a great guy, he was a very talented drummer. He will be greatly missed. Jimmy’s obituary can be viewed at:
While most of us were decorating our homes and doing our last-minute holiday shopping the week before Christmas, CNC First Decader Pat Garrow (AA, 63) was spending December 17-21, 2012, heading an archaeological excavation in a small town just outside Rome, GA. This work was, Pat says, “an attempt to date the construction” of“a standing two story log house that was uncovered when siding was pulled off of a hotel building in downtown Cave Spring, Georgia, a year or so ago.” The log structure, located on a main street, was probably built by Cherokee Indians some 200 years ago. “The Cave Spring Historical Society has been researching the history of the cabin since then,” Pat says, “but has been unable to push the history of the larger building back past the 1850s.The cabin is not plotted on the Cherokee Land Lottery maps of 1832, although there is an emerging consensus among experts that the building was constructed by Cherokee. Avery Vann [born ca. 1768] appears to be the most likely builder.”
Pat first inspected this site in 2010, along with archaeologist Dave Davis of the ChieftainsMuseum, located in nearby Rome, GA. After inspecting the cabin both outside and inside, including both floors, Pat noted then that “a two-story Cherokee cabin is rare,” but that the cabin reminded him “a lot” of the two-story “Chieftains cabin in the ChieftainsMuseum.” Davis’s inspection under the cabin yielded a major discovery—that the main beam beneath it was hand-hewn: it “had no nails; it was cut and shaped to fit under the cabin. Tooling marks were found on the beam.” Both archeologists were favorably impressed by the building. Pat called it “a great, interesting building” and Dave declared it “definitely has great potential” and should be “embraced by Cave Spring and FloydCounty” (“Archaeologists visit Cave spring Cabin,” Rome News-Tribune, date & page unknown).
The 2-story log cabin in downtown Cave Spring, GA, long covered with painted clapboard siding. From "Excavation to begin at Cave Spring Cabin" (Rome (Ga) News-Tribune, Dec. 10, 2012). Photo by Billy Wayne Abernathy.
Pat Garrow examining chimney bricks probably made by Cherokees in the early 1800s. From "Archaeologists visit Cave Spring Cabin" (Rome News-Tribune, March, 2010). Photo by Chelsea Latta, staff writer.
Dave Davis inspecting hand-hewn joist logs. From "Archaeologists visit Cave Spring Cabin" (Rome News-Tribune, March, 2010). Photo by Chelsea Latta, staff writer.
Pat (L) working at the site. From “Cave Spring Save The Historical Log Building” website. Type into Google for numerous photographs.
InDecember 2012 Pat returned to Cave Spring, now as field director for the excavation. In the meantime, The Cave Spring Historical Society had demolished and removed the later additions to the log structure, leaving only the historic cabin and 2-story frame addition “added to the left of the cabin.” The latter, says Pat, “is very similar to the construction at the home of Major Ridge, leader of the Removal faction among the Cherokee, that converted his home from a two story log house to an "I" style house covered with wooden siding in ca. 1828.”
Pat supervised all activities at the archaeological site during December 17-21. He directed and instructed all work as his team from Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRA) and local volunteers excavated several one-square-meter test sites outside the building. Pat summarizes their work thus: “The excavation units were placed in what should have been the back yard of the cabin. A few early (1830s?) artifacts were recovered, but the results we achieved indicated that the back yard in close proximity to the cabin had probably been covered by part of the larger structure soon after the cabin was built.” He believes that “a part of the early structure was removed to the rear of the cabin during the demolition activities that past fall.”
Group working at the site. From “Cave Spring Save The Historical Log Building” website. Type into Google for numerous photographs.
The following 3 pictures are from "Cave Spring Save The Historical Log Building" website.
Wood siding (clapboard) that had concealed the logs for generations.
Logs at corners were joined without nails.
Forklift was used earlier to help stabilize the building.
What’s next for Pat and his CRA team? “We plan to go back to the site and use ground penetrating radar and other remote sensing methods to locate cisterns, wells, cellars, and privies that will be the focus of future excavations.” And, we assume, The Cave Spring Historical Society will continue with fund-raising activities to get the money necessary to continue that work. Maybe these will include a few more Polar Plunges (see below) such as the one they held this January, which raised $1,500. Better yet, perhaps the state of Georgia will invest some money in this historic project at this point.
BELOW: Signs of community support for the excavation--two photos from the "Cave Spring Save The Historical Log Cabin" website and a photo from "Fine time for a cold, winter ... swim: Polar Plunge raises $1,500" (Rome News-Tribune, Dec., 2012).
Donation board displayed at the site.
Sign-up board for volunteers to help with the excavation work.
During a rainfall, 39 men, women and children willingly plunged into the 55 degree water of spring-fed Rolater Lake in Cave Spring to raise money for the log cabin project.
PATRICK HENRY (PAT)GARROW III, a native of Newport News, VA, earned his AA at CNC in 1963. He then earned his BA (66) and MA (68) in Anthropology at the University of Georgia, Athens, where he later also did additional graduate work in 1972. In 1977 he became a registered professional archaeologist (RPA).
After a long and distinguished career in archaeology, which included publishing 9 professional books and over 50 articles, in 2011 Pat was elected President of the Register of Professional Archaeologist (RPA), the certifying body for all professional archaeologists in the U.S.A. and Canada (and soon, the UK and the rest of Europe).
Not long after selling his very successful business, Garrow & Associates, Inc. (which he and his wife had founded in 1983), Pat attempted retirement in 2002, but quickly “unretired.” He currently works for Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRA) as Director of Operations for Tennessee, Principal Investigator, and Project Manager. He and wife Barbara live in Dandridge, TN. They have 3 sons and 2 grandchildren.
Graham Pillow to Wed at Easter
by A. Jane Chambers
This past Sunday, January 20, I received the following announcement and this attached photo in an email from former CNC professor and friend Graham Pillow, whom many of you will remember:
The lovely lady you see standing beside the “distinguished” retiree is Betty VanDelinder. We plan to use the combined 108 years of marriage experience with our first loves to find joy and love in our new life together. With help from God and our families we plan to be married on Easter Sunday here in Florida . Both of us have been alone for too many years and I am grateful for the opportunity to spend my remaining years with Betty.
What a happy turn of events! Many of you will recall that Graham’s wife of over 50 years, Jane Pillow, former Registrar at our College, died in 2009 after a long struggle with cancer. It was a heavy loss for all who were close to her, but especially so for Graham. I returned Graham’s email with excitement and with a requestfor hispermission to share this wonderful news and photo with his former CNC colleagues and students. I also asked permission to post these on our CNC First Decaders website.
And here is his response:
I would be very pleased to have you share the good news. Perhaps knowing that an octogenarian can get lucky will encourage the young folks to keep trying. Thanks for sharing in my happiness. It’s good to have longtime friends.
Former CNC professor Graham Pillow and his fiancee, Betty VanDelinder. Courtesy of Graham Pillow.
Graham Pillow at CNC. 1971 TRIDENT, p. 21.
First Decader Nelson Baer
by A. Jane Chambers
This late December advertisement (see right) in the Newport News Daily Press for Mennowood Retirement Community caught my eye—maybe because it made me think about my former CNC office mate and friend, Burnam MacLeod, who spent his last months of life at Mennowood. At any rate, very quickly I saw a name I recognized— Nelson Baer—and then, top left in the photograph, the familiar face of the polite gentleman who had met me at Panera’s in 2011 to hand me his carefully preserved copy of CNC‘s 1968 Commencement Exercises, to be used in the CNC Memorabilia Display during the University’s Fiftieth Anniversary celebration. (See left column, 13th tab, for photos of this display.)
After verifying that our Nelson Baer (68 FD) was indeed Secretary of the Volunteer Board at Mennowood, I asked him for more information about this retirement community and his volunteer work with it. Nelson gave me first a one-page document he had written earlier, “A Short History of the Mennowood Retirement Community,” and then written answers to additional questions I asked. These sources are summarized and sometimes quoted here.
DAILY PRESS, 12/24/12, p. 9.
Front entrance to Mennowood.
The idea of a care facility for Peninsula area Mennonites began in 1943, when Pete Yoder’s wife, Libby, developed terminal cancer. The couple “envisioned a facility in which the local Mennonite churches would provide nursing care and comfort” for elderly Mennonites “without them having to move away from family and friends.” But it was decades later before this idea began to take shape, when, in 1978, Pete Yoder donated to the Mennonite Foundation “a field and wooded area bordering a highway and lake.” Other local Mennonites became involved in the vision of what was by then a retirement community, and by 1985 “a 24-unit independent one story living community was completed.” Ownership, originally under the WarwickRiverMennoniteChurch, was then transferred in 1990 to “a newly formed Mennowood Communities, Inc. Board of Directors, which now has oversight for the community.”
Nelson Baer was Chair of the WarwickRiverMennoniteChurch when this transfer of ownership occurred and thus helped facilitate it. That was his first involvement in Mennowood.
Although originally envisioned to serve the Mennonite community, Mennowood has never been exclusive, and it has grown steadily. In 1997, a much larger three story facility was completed, with 71 assisted living suites and specialized care for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s. When Nelson joined the Board in 2008, “there were no Mennonite employees and only one Mennonite resident [now deceased]…. At present [January of 2012], we have four Mennonite residents in assisted living, and a couple of Mennonite employees.” This policy of non-discrimination operates as well in the other two ministries established by the Mennonites in this area. Their day school, WarwickRiverChristianSchool, established in 1942, was never exclusive; after 70 years, only 6.8% of its present students are Mennonites. And the vast majority of those who use the Mennonite-establishedWilliamsburgChristianRetreatCenter, in Toano, are not Mennonites.
Although Mennowood’s by-laws require that “the majority” of the members of its Board of Directors be Mennonite, the primary requirement is just that they be “Christians in good standing in the MennoniteChurch or other denominations.” The Board’s focus is on Mennowood’s continuing to be “an oasis of peace and comfort” for the Peninsula community.
NELSON DAVID BAER, after earning his AA degree at CNC in 1968, next earned a BA in Psychology in 1970 at EasternMennoniteCollege. After a 30-years career with Construction Associates in Newport News, he retired in 2000 as Construction and Maintenance Superintendent. He and his wife, Kathryn, who worked 24 years for Grissom Library in Newport News, reside in Newport News. They have two daughters—Juanita, a pharmacist at Riverside, and Jeanette, a lawyer--and two grandchildren.
Nelson Baer with his CNC diploma, 1968. Baer family photo.
Ellen Babb Melvin (66 FD) Has Role in Play:
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
First Decader Ellen Babb Melvin has been playing the role of Mrs. Armstrong since November 30 in the Peninsula Community Theatre’s production of Barbara Robinson’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, staged at the former Village Theatre on Warwick Blvd. in Newport News. Ellen’s character, Mrs. Helen Armstrong, is a bossy woman who has always been in charge of all events at her church. Although a broken leg has put her in a wheelchair, she still tries to run the annual Christmas Pageant by constantly telephoning her replacement.
This is the third and last weekend this play will be presented--Dec. 14, 15, & 16. Some seats are still available ($16 each) and this reporter hopes to attend on either Friday evening or Sunday afternoon. Below is the plot summary and other information as given in the Peninsula Community Theatre’s website: www.pctlive.org.
Ellen (box right) as Mrs. Helen Armstrong.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
November 30, 2012 - December 16, 2012
Peninsula Community Theatre
The Herdmans are the meanest kids in town! They lie, steal, smoke and cuss. There are six Herdmans: Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie and Gladys. Their father disappeared when Gladys was two and their mom works double shifts at the shoe factory and is never home. The Herdmans are bullies and do whatever they want. So, it surprises the town when they show up one day to Sunday school. One child had told Leroy Herdman that they could get free food if they showed up at Sunday school – never thinking they would come. But they do - on the very day that the Christmas pageant parts are being assigned - and they end up taking over the pageant, resulting in the whole Church learning the true meaning of Christmas – including the Herdmans! It has received several awards, and in 1982, Ms. Robinson adapted the book into a play which then led to a popular TV movie. Friday and Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday 2:30 p.m.