MBU celebrated two events focusing on faculty and staff appreciation this month: the annual retirement reception and the faculty and staff appreciation breakfast. Both highlighted the dedication of MBU family members to the university and its students.
MBU Honors Faculty and Staff for Devoted Service
May 23, 2019
On May 16, Mary Baldwin University celebrated its seven 2019 retirees with a reception that honored a combined 192 years of service. Spanning both faculty and staff, these members of the #MBUfamily have made an indelible mark upon Mary Baldwin’s history and its continuing success:
Rick Plant began his career as assistant professor of English in the fall of 1988 and was promoted to full professor in 2002.
- Positions held: Head of the English department three times; director of the Global Honor Scholars program; faculty sponsor for MBU’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international honor society in English
- Volunteer work: Helped design and implement the Elizabeth Doenges Visiting Artist/Scholar Program, as well as serving as a faculty advisor and Doenges selection committee member; taught a non-credit creative writing course at the Staunton men’s correctional facility; Laubach literacy volunteer; served two terms as an active elder in the Presbyterian church
- Special MBU memory: “Several years ago, President Fox decided it was high time Mary Baldwin Athletics had a fight song. The assignment to compose lyrics eventually landed in the lap of Bob Grotjohn. After a day or two of fun, I actually took the music home and played it. The next morning, I rehearsed the new song with my freshman English class, marched them over to President Fox’s office for an audition — and the rest, of course, is Mary Baldwin history.”
- Special retirement plans: Extra time for reading!
- What he will miss most about MBU: “Meeting first semester freshmen, with their extra high doses of excitement and (sometimes) anxiety. Observing students’ intellectual growth over the course of their MBU experience. Being a rank and file member of the MBU faculty — an altogether impressive, fun, humane, and generous coterie of scholars and artists.”
Terry Southerington was an MBU alumna (Class of ’72) before becoming a professor. She joined the Mary Baldwin faculty as professor of theatre in 1977.
- Positions held: Professor of theatre; Margaret Hunt Hill Chair in the Humanities
- Volunteer work: Oak Grove Theater, as well as other local community theatres as actor, director, costumer, and producer; consultant for local high school theatres’ costumes
- Special MBU memories: As a student: “Working at 3 a.m. as a sophomore putting stuff on the lawn and sidewalks back when Apple Day was a surprise, and great classes from great professors.” As a professor: “Plays, plays, and more plays. Cast parties at our house. And working with a great group of colleagues.”
- What she will miss most about MBU: “The students, and the conversations with colleagues.”
Bess Maxwell joined the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences in June 2014 with the charter class.
- Positions held: Assistant professor teaching Foundations of Clinical Exercise, Therapeutic Agents, Pathophysiology, and Health Promotion and Wellness
- Volunteer work: Active member of the American Physical Therapy Association Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy, serving as board member for eight years and developing a certificate program for aquatic physical therapists
- Special MBU memories: “I will always cherish being part of the startup faculty at Murphy Deming. I so appreciate the opportunity to be part of a talented, energetic, and devoted faculty.”
- What she will miss most about MBU: “I intend to continue my work with my doctoral project students and to teach aquatic PT. I won’t be far away from the program.”
Anne McGovern joined the Mary Baldwin faculty in 1986 as assistant professor of French.
- Positions held: Assistant professor of French, associate professor of French, many school chair and director positions
- Special MBU memories: “The interdisciplinary conversations over the lunch table in Hunt. And one of my best memories is team-teaching French Revolution with Professor Mary Hill Cole. We encouraged students to rebel and their intellectual play was at times breathtaking. The course also allowed me an insider’s view of the talent and creativity of one of our many outstanding faculty.”
- What she will miss most about MBU: “The simple answer: people. The thrilling American experiment that is our student body; a faculty dedicated to the intellectual and action-oriented transformation of students; impressive congenial department colleagues; staff who contact faculty sometimes late in the evening about a student concern; or the Physical Plant guys who fiddle with the thermostat, or the housekeeping staff who seemingly cheerfully take on the challenge that is my office. I will remember the MBU community with affection and gratitude.”
Jeff Wagner came to Mary Baldwin in 1980 as a member of Physical Plant before first assuming the role of supervisor of grounds and, at his retirement, supervisor of grounds and campus support.
- Volunteer work: Member of the Elks Lodge
- Special MBU memory: “Having the opportunity to pick up Dr. Fox when she was coming in for her inauguration.”
- Special retirement plans: Fishing, gardening, playing golf. Also plans to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, The Salvation Army, and the Elks Lodge.
- What he’ll miss most about MBU: “The people, without question. The people here are the finest I’ve ever met.”
Cleve Vest has served as a member of campus security since December 2002.
- Positions held: Security officer, security lieutenant (2004–08)
- Special MBU memory: Being part of the achievements of the university.
- What he’ll miss most about MBU: “The coworkers and friends that I have been associated with.”
Tommy Campbell came to Mary Baldwin in July 1981 as a member of Physical Plant’s engineering department before assuming the role of supervisor.
- Positions held: Engineering worker, engineering supervisor
- Special MBU memories: “My dad was supervisor of engineering before me, so I had the opportunity to work with him for 18 years. We were always close, but working together at Mary Baldwin brought us closer. We got to have a better understanding of each other. Being here with him was good for the soul.”
- Special retirement plans: Home projects and grandkids, and fishing along the Outer Banks
- What he’ll miss most about MBU: “These old buildings. The people most of all. This place has an effect on you. It teaches you different ways of looking at people and life.”
2019 Service Awards
At the faculty and staff appreciation breakfast on May 23, MBU announced the inaugural awarding of the Lonnie Wallace Associate of the Year Service Award, honoring the memory of Wallace, utility supervisor for the Department of Dining Services, who passed away unexpectedly on March 30. Shelly Irvine, director of human resources, received the award for 2019, and it will be presented to a staff person each year.
“Lonnie taught us not with words but through his actions how to be a better person,” said Tracy Hiner, Wallace’s supervisor, who presented the new award. “The recipient this year parallels Lonnie in many ways. She does what I call the work behind the work behind the scenes … Her door is always open to counsel or lend a ear. She does her work with care, compassion, and with accuracy, much like Lonnie. Please join me in congratulating Shelly Irvine.”
The event also honored the following faculty and staff, who have devoted a collective 695 years of service to Mary Baldwin:
J. P. Scheidler
Lonnie Wallace (posthumously)
Laura van Assendelft