University Celebrates Milestones of Retirement and Service

June 3, 2021

University leaders congratulated MBU faculty and staff members celebrating service anniversaries or retirements over the past two years. The university no longer requires masking for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Returning to an annual tradition after last year’s pause due to the pandemic, MBU honored faculty and staff members for their dedicated service to the university community during a special ceremony on May 25. 

Celebrating those who achieved milestones in both 2020 and 2021, university leaders presented service awards to 81 recipients, who collectively contributed 955 years of service, and celebrated 12 retirees with a combined 296 years.

Read memories and experiences from MBU retirees and see the list of service award winners below.

University leaders congratulated MBU faculty and staff members celebrating service anniversaries or retirements over the past two years. The university no longer requires masking for those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

2020 Retirees

Retiring after 32 years of service, Donna Duff began working at Mary Baldwin in October 1986 and served as secretary to the MBU health center and counseling and psychological services. 

  • Retirement plans: “Spend more time with family and substitute for Riverheads Elementary School as an aide.”
  • What misses most about Mary Baldwin: “Students and co-workers”

Retiring after 31 years of service in August 2020, Sharon Spalding began working part-time at Mary Baldwin in fall 1989 as volleyball coach and director of intramurals.

  • Positions held: Professor of physical education, director of athletics and wellness, cross country coach, director of the Virginia Women’s Institute for Leadership (VWIL), associate director of VWIL, associate professor, assistant professor, instructor of physical education, volleyball coach, basketball coach, athletic director, director of the Mabel Fetterman Fitness and Motor Performance Laboratory
  • Volunteer work: Active member at Mint Spring United Methodist Church, teaching Sunday School and serving as church council chair; running the Shenandoah Beat Cancer Boot Camp, a calisthenic program for cancer survivors, which has met twice a week for the last five years, most recently on Zoom
  • Special Mary Baldwin memories: “Oh so many — I started as volleyball coach and was so happy to finally be able to coach the sport I love and still play. In 1995 the team won the AWCC Championship. VWIL memories: the beginning and especially Wilderness trips that I considered my paid Mary Baldwin vacation. The great cross country teams and athletes in my last stint as a coach. So many great people, but especially Betty Kegley, who taught me the MBC ropes, and Brenda Bryant and Irene Sarnelle, who were mentors and friends gone way too soon.”
  • Retirement plans: “I work as a cancer trainer and personal trainer at Augusta Health Fitness a few hours a week. Spending time with family, especially my toddler grandson, Maxwell Barr Spalding. Playing golf and kayaking, and hopefully more traveling!”
  • What she misses most about Mary Baldwin: “All the people: students, cadets, athletes, and faculty and staff”

Retiring after 23 years of service, Sharon Barnes began working at Mary Baldwin in 1986 as an adjunct faculty member in the music department.

  • Positions held: In July of 1997, she began serving as an advisor for the Adult Degree Program and continued to teach for the music department. In 2007, she began the role of regional director for MBU’s Roanoke Center located at the Roanoke Higher Education Center and continued in this position until she retired from full-time service in 2020. Simultaneously, she served as an academic advisor and adjunct faculty member.
  • Volunteer work: Being a vocal soloist for churches and directing children’s choirs
  • Special MBU memories: “There are so many that it is difficult to choose — I recall the first time that I walked on the main campus to attend a workshop. Standing outside of Hunt and looking out over the breath-taking view of the valley instilled a sense of place that words cannot express. Each year Commencement marked the end of the academic year and coincided with worries about whether or not it would rain. Holiday dinners and other gatherings for ADP through the years were great fun. At the Roanoke Center, I worked with a close-knit team, and we celebrated birthdays and holidays together.” 
  • Retirement plans: “Traveling and spending more time with my family and friends are priorities. I enjoy trips to our family cabin in North Carolina. I hope to find time to return to singing. Currently, I am teaching an online music class, and I enjoy teaching and learning with my students.”
  • What she misses most about MBU: “I miss my colleagues at Baldwin. Over the years, colleagues became close friends. I miss the camaraderie and laughter. The sense of community was an important part of my career in higher education.” 

Alan Mullenax retired from his position as assistant supervisor of engineering after 22 years of service to Mary Baldwin. Pictured with President Pamela Fox at the 2018 service awards ceremony.

Retiring after 21 years of service, Dan Stuhlsatz began working at Mary Baldwin during the 1999–2000 school year as assistant professor of sociology.

  • Positions held: Assistant, associate, and full professor of sociology
  • Volunteer work: For about ten years, he worked with Professor Rod Owen to teach service learning classes, which involved facilitating volunteer work for students and faculty through the semester. He also spent several years researching and publishing the Comprehensive Gang Model Community Assessment for the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro (SAW) Coalition. He served a term on the Staunton School Board, and for several years, provided annual assessments on the Youth Risk Survey for the SAW Office on Youth.
  • Retirement plans: “Everything is on the table.”
  • What he misses most about MBU: “The people. All of them: students, colleagues, and staff”

2021 Retirees

Retiring after 41 years of service, Roderic Owen began working at Mary Baldwin in 1980 as an instructor.

  • Positions held: Instructor through full professor; acting dean; interim director of the Adult Degree Program and the Master of Arts in Teaching Program; visiting professor at Lady Doak College in Madurai, India, and at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  • Volunteer work: Helped create and begin MBU’s Spencer Center for Civic and Global Engagement; supporter of Office of Inclusive Excellence programs and contributor to the annual Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. college-community service; developed and taught a community service course and helped many students with service-oriented placements all across Staunton and the local area; personal community service through the Shenandoah Valley Kiwanis and Covenant Presbyterian Church 
  • Special MBU memories: “Far too many even to begin!” 
  • Retirement plans: “Enjoying being a Taid (grandfather); travelling to my native Wales and to Tamil Nadu, India; engaging in community and volunteer board service; making a local move to a smaller house; day hiking in state and national parks; and cleaning out 40+ years of old files and boxes and boxes of books” 
  • What he will miss most about Mary Baldwin: “Colleagues (faculty and staff alike) who have become treasured friends; extraordinary students who made the most of their liberal arts college experience; providing opportunities for all of our students to grow and develop both through academic courses and in other contexts like internships, office assistant positions, and research projects” 

Retiring after 30 years of service, Katharine Franzen began teaching at Mary Baldwin in 1991 as an adjunct professor. She then became a part-time assistant professor.

  • Volunteer work: Habitat for Humanity in West Virginia
  • Special memories: How beautiful our campus looks at the end of spring semester, with all the dogwoods blooming.
  • Retirement plans: “During retirement, I plan to spend time visiting my family in England, but also reading, hiking, and gardening here at home in Virginia.”
  • What she will miss most about Mary Baldwin: “I will very much miss my fellow faculty, students, and staff here at MBU.”

Retiring after 30 years of service, Claire Kent began her career with Mary Baldwin in January 1991, as the first business faculty member to be hired under the umbrella of the Adult Degree Program (ADP). She had been a faculty member at Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) and was thrilled when Mary Baldwin began to partner with PVCC to bring an accessible and adult-friendly baccalaureate degree program to Charlottesville and the surrounding areas. 

  • Positions held: Assistant professor of business administration and associate professor of business administration, beginning at the PVCC/Charlottesville office and then transitioning to a main-campus position in Staunton in 2001; ADP regional faculty coordinator for the PVCC/Charlottesville office; departmental co-chair of Business Administration; held the honorary title of the Bertie Wilson Murphy Distinguished Chair, 2010 to present; served as a Spencer Center Fellow 2015–18; served the College of Business and Professional Studies as a a Gallup-certified strengths coach
  • Volunteer work: Most of her volunteer work for the past 20–30 years has been ministry related, including prayer team leadership role at Crozet United Methodist Church; Women of Faith group leader/facilitator; certified lay servant with the United Methodist Church; lay leader position for Crozet United Methodist Church; and various volunteer roles on different committees of the church and within her local Albemarle County school system
  • Special MBU memories
    • “During the 1990s, I had the privilege of working with an amazing group of Adult Degree Program faculty members. Some of my fondest memories during this time occurred during our once-a-month marathon meeting days in Staunton. We would start with a full ADP morning meeting, followed by lunch, then division meetings followed by a full faculty meeting. It was exhausting, but there were times when I left Staunton and realized on the drive to Charlottesville that the muscles in my face actually hurt from laughing so much! There were so many frustrations during those early years, as we advocated in the best way possible for our adult student population. They were hard years, but the relationships were priceless. We laughed together and we faced ‘hard stuff’ together as we often swam against the current. 
    • In the latter half of the 1990s, I spent the better part of a week with Mary Baldwin’s Women in Leadership Development (WILD) Program, first as a participant and then in a separate, second summer and year as a WILD faculty member. Spending time with Dudley Luck, Brenda Bryant, Sharon Spalding, Sue Whitlock (one of our treasured Mary Baldwin alums), and so many others was one of the best professional and personal experiences of my career.
    • Chatting with Mary Baldwin faculty and staff members in the halls, in our offices, or in the library parking lot, and sharing stories about our families, our students, our joys, our fears, and oftentimes, our spiritual lives. I will always treasure these times! 
    • Having the opportunity to be a part of the Mary Baldwin College for Women’s First Annual Women’s Leadership Symposium in March of 2019. I was able to share my expertise as a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach with individuals who were excited and grateful to have the opportunity to be on a journey of self-discovery and openness with fellow students and alums, along with a few faculty and staff members and friends of the university. I felt appreciated and valued for what I had to offer to the group, and I enjoyed seeing so many faces from years past!
  • And, finally, ending my career with a lovely group of individuals from the College of Business and Professional Studies (CBPS). It has been a joy to be a part of this unique group of gifted and passionate individuals. I have felt valued and affirmed through personal and professional interactions with them since we had the opportunity to come together as a group. Our dean, Joe Sprangel, has shown appreciation for the hard work we have done, and his goodness shines through.  I am happy to be able to end this part of my journey with gratitude.”  
  • Retirement plans:
    • “I am excited to say that I have been planning for this next step. I will continue doing my ministry work and will likely become more engaged in the sacred work of spiritual companioning. I completed a certificate program in spiritual formation and direction through Eastern Mennonite Seminary (EMS) in 2018, after three years of summer residential study as well as practicum work.
    • My Gallup certification in strengths coaching is also a part of the plan moving forward. I will continue to engage with individuals and teams utilizing the Clifton Strengths assessment tools. A good ‘set of tools’ combined with wisdom gained through many years of teaching and serving a variety of student populations will hopefully serve me well. 
    • I also have some adorable grandchildren waiting to play anytime I am ready to play freeze tag, eat popcorn, or snuggle in a tent in the living room!
    • My husband and I hope to travel to some of the beautiful national parks we have not yet had the opportunity to visit, and we also want to spend more time with family members who are soon moving to Dallas, Texas.
    • And, lastly, I will still be doing some online teaching. Mary Baldwin is not rid of me just yet!” 
  • What she will miss most about MBU: “I will greatly miss the beauty of the campus and the passion of our mission. And, I will miss seeing those with whom I connected in friendship. I have greatly appreciated sharing a bit of this life journey together during my time at Mary Baldwin.” 

Retiring after 28 years of service, Lallon Pond served in many roles at Mary Baldwin over the course of her career.

 

Special MBU memories: “I have many wonderful memories of my time at MBU. A couple of favorites: helping to plan Jim Lott’s retirement party, the best party ever; and lining the sidewalk at graduation. I don’t miss teaching, but I miss students. I don’t miss working, but I miss the people. I loved working for Kathleen Stinehart and Kate McConnell. My favorite years were in the final Adult Degree Program House. I had the best colleagues and the very best team; it was the best job I ever had.” 

Retiring after 19 years of service, Tamra Willis began her career at Mary Baldwin in 2002 as an adjunct faculty member.​

  • Positions held: Adjunct faculty, assistant professor, associate professor, professor. “And now I will be adjunct again! Full circle. ​I also directed the Environment-Based Learning Program in the College of Education.”
  • Volunteer work: Much of my extra work at MBU was devoted to implementing grant-funded projects with teachers in K–12 schools, involving activities like gardening with kids on the school grounds or doing stream studies in local creeks. 
  • Special Mary Baldwin memories: “My best memories at MBU are taking graduate students (mostly classroom teachers) outdoors for real-world learning experiences. In these education courses, we tried to model ways to get kids excited about learning math, science, reading, or history by connecting these subjects to nature or to things happening in the community. ​We went out with watermen in the Chesapeake Bay to learn how ecological issues affect culture; we plowed through grassy meadows with nets to survey insect populations and practice data collection techniques; we connected art with writing by journaling along nature trails in Shenandoah National Park; and we walked through downtown Staunton along Lewis Creek to better understand how history and the environment are inextricably connected. Based on my 30-plus years of teaching experience, learning just doesn’t get any better than this: it was educational and fun, and I felt like it made a difference in how these teachers taught their own students! It also made me love my job.” 
  • Retirement plans: “My husband and I plan to travel more and to work on outdoor projects on our mountain farm near Middlebrook. I also hope to keep my toes in the water, so to speak, related to my profession; I want to keep teaching some and to write.” 
  • What she will miss most about MBU: “I will miss working with incredible graduate students, the K–12 teachers who are trying to change the world of education one classroom full of students at a time. These changemakers are so dedicated to the profession, and their creativity and willingness to learn new ideas and strategies have always inspired me. I will miss getting to know these special people and working closely with them as their advisor and professor.” 

A member of MBU’s dedicated housekeeping staff, Demetra Turner retired after 13 years of service to the university. Pictured with President Pamela Fox at the 2017 service awards ceremony.

Retiring after six years of service, Donald Solimini came to MBU’s Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences in a part-time capacity in 2014 after working in Connecticut for his 36-year clinical career. He then transitioned to full time as the founding director of academic education for the Physician Assistant (PA) Program in January 2015.

  • Volunteer work: Participated in weekend “Walk with a Doc” events in Staunton and Waynesboro as well as various student educational and volunteer activities at local K–12 schools.
  • Special Mary Baldwin memories: “The best memories are in regards to seeing our first cohort graduate, and I did enjoy giving our inaugural commencement address to that class of students. Teaching is, as they say, a calling and an art. For me it keeps me thinking, and working with younger students helps keep you ‘young’ as well.”
  • Retirement plans: “Retirement in the middle of a pandemic may not have been the best plan! Unfortunately I also needed surgery around that time, and it kept me tied up until December 2020. At the same time the COVID vaccines became available, I became a volunteer vaccinator. I have been doing two-to-three shifts most weeks administering vaccines at the Augusta Health Fitness Center or other locations. I have attended two weekend regional area medical clinics, with more scheduled for the future, and volunteer at the Greene Free Clinic in Stanardsville with Mary Preston, MD. I continue to work for Augusta Health in urgent care when needed. I have had the opportunity to do a small amount of medical/legal consulting, which is an interesting process and validates much of what we teach our students. At home I continue to work on getting family photos organized and digitized and hope to get back to my photography hobby. I have new camera I need to utilize more. I have also taken my lectures ‘on the road’ so to speak and have lectured at South University’s and Radford University’s PA Programs.
  • What he will miss most about Mary Baldwin: “I miss the student interaction and seeing that moment when the ‘light bulb’ goes on as they are addressing a difficult topic.”

2020 Service Award Winners

5 years

James Boling

Donovan Branche

Howard Byrd

Nell Desmond

Pamela Dressler

Beth Easterling

Jennifer Eibert

Mary Jane Epps

Marty Fontenot

Jennifer Hunt

Yvette Massine

Kerry Menzer

Carolyn Moore

Amber Ocasio

Stephanie Sebolt

Chris Sorrells

Pamela Stephenson

Ashley Strickland

Casey Swats

Gail Tarleton

Ann Tuzson

Sandra Wagoner

10 years

Doreen Bechtol

Sharon Bosserman

Matthew Davies

Nadine Gergel-Hackett

Beverly Riddell

Joe Sprangel

15 years

Mary Almarode

Todd Collier

Robin Dietrich

Kerry Mills

Katherine Turner

20 years

Christy Baker

Louise Davis

Bruce Dorries

Sarah Kennedy

Christy Shelton

25 years

William Adkins

Amy Diduch

Allan Moyé

30 years

Linda Fretwell

Diane Fridley

Edward Scott

Marion Ward

 40 years

Roderic Owen

2021 Service Award Winners

5 years

Mary Barker

Cynthia Bono

Robert Cannon

Sarah Daughdrill

Deborah Diaz

Emily Greene

Jennifer Hancock

Michael Hendrick

Lacy Hinegardner

Maria Morabito

Michael Myers

Preston Rohr

Martha Saunders

Karine Selkridge

Lindsey Walsh

10 years

Michael Carpenter

Leighton Carruth

Sarah Cash

Doris Dodson

Kristen Egan

Jenna Holt

Katherine Low

Ellen Lucius

Reid Oechslin

Brenci Patiño

15 years

Amy Miller

Robert Robinson

20 years

Rocky Berry

Ralph Cohen

Edward Jones

25 years

Andrea Cornett-Scott

Martha Walker

30 years

Katharine Franzen

Claire Kent