The University of Virginia’s College at Wise held a ceremony Friday to dedicate the Jim and Betty Humphreys Tennis Complex in memory of the Wise County couple and the lasting legacy they left at the College and the region.
The tennis complex, which opened in June 2000, was made possible by the generosity of the Humphreys and Thomas families. The facility, which was designed to serve UVa-Wise, high schools, and the local community, stays busy throughout the year.
At the ceremony, friends and family described Jim Humphreys, a lifelong athlete and successful business and community leader, as a compassionate, generous, and caring man with a friendly competitive nature. Betty Humphreys was touted as an exceptional UVa-Wise professor and role model who inspired her students to be leaders in both their careers and communities. Her lifelong work with the Future Business Leaders of America inspired generations of Southwest Virginia students.
“Mom was professional, she was an optimist, and she was a Christian,” the couple’s son, Jim N.L. Humphreys said.
He told the crowd that his parents’ decision to move to Wise County to work at the College was one of the best choices they made. He also thanked those gathered for honoring his family with the tennis complex dedication.
“We thank you for this tribute to Jim and Betty and for their unparalleled legacies at this College and this community,” Chancellor Donna P. Henry said to the Humphreys and Thomas families.
Henry told the family and friends of Jim and Betty Humphreys that she and her family notice as they walk across campus in the evenings that the tennis complex is always in use.
“Competitive athletics is an important part of the UVa-Wise experience,” Henry said. “At UVa-Wise, as at all Virginia public colleges, athletics — everything from facilities, staff, travel for competitions, and supplies — is funded through private monies only. This spectacular facility is made possible through the benevolence of the Humphreys and Thomas families.”
Generous donors are essential to small colleges such as UVa-Wise, especially as the College is in the final transition to NCAA conference affiliation, Henry explained.
“We are proud to note that UVa-Wise has not only the best athletic facilities in our new conference, but some of the best in the nation,” Henry added.
Marcia Gilliam, chair of the UVa-Wise College Board, recalled the many times she played tennis with Betty Humphreys.
“Betty excelled in tennis, just as she did in everything she did in life,” Gilliam said. “Her elegant and graceful manner on the court was apparent to anyone watching her game while beautifully dressed as if she were on center court at Wimbledon.”
Gilliam said she never had the opportunity to play tennis with Jim Humphreys, but said she heard many stories of his talents and playing ability that matches his wife’s.
The tennis complex gives students and the community the chance to improve their game at any level of play, she told those gathered.
“Jim and Betty Humphreys are allowing and challenging us to do what they so loved doing…playing competitive tennis with friends and foes in a beautiful setting and on wonderful courts,” Gilliam said.
About Jim and Betty Humphreys
Natives of Lee County, Virginia, Jim and Betty Humphreys moved to Wise County in 1966 when Mr. Humphreys joined the faculty as head basketball coach of what was then Clinch Valley College. He served the College from 1966 to 1977 in several positions including associate professor of education, director of admissions and financial aid, and dean of students before leaving to work at the Humphreys Group.
Mrs. Humphreys joined the faculty in 1968 and was an associate professor of business at the time of her death in 2014. A renowned teacher, role model, and FBLA coordinator, she inspired her students to become community and business leaders. The couple, lifelong athletes and tennis enthusiasts, left a legacy of extraordinary support for UVa-Wise.
Photo Caption: Chancellor Donna P. Henry and Jim N.L. Humphreys
Photo by Tim Cox
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise has inducted students into its honor societies for the 2014-2015 academic year. The following is a list of the honor societies and the new members:
Alpha Phi Sigma
The mission of Alpha Phi Sigma is to promote analytical thinking, rigorous scholarship and lifelong learning; to keep abreast of the advances in scientific research; to elevate the ethical standards of the criminal justice professions and to sustain in the public mind the benefit and necessity of education and professional training. Inductees for the 2014-15 academic year are:
Devin Johnathon Cash Cassie Rhea Carnes
Rhiannon Kelly Coates Codi Daniel Collins
Kelli Christine Hess Heather Nichole Huntington
Aaron Michael Lawson Lewis Edward Moore
Shyla Casey Mullins Sydney Dalton Pack
Robert Warren Payne III Malachi Emery Phillips
The Darden Society
The Darden Society, the College’s oldest honor society, is named for Colgate W. Darden, president of the University of Virginia when the College was founded. Criteria for membership requires that students be on the Dean’s List for their first three full-time semesters (a grade point average of 3.500 or higher). Juniors and seniors may be nominated for selection by their departments. Darden Society inductees for the 2014-2015 academic year are:
Alicia Marie Armistead Darja Dominika Blach
Dora L. Bobrosky Chelsea Paige Brummitt
Cassondra Maria Chadwell William Frank Cline
Jared Keith Colley Codi Daniel Collins
Victoria Ruth Countiss Daniel Griffin Deane
Kevin Blake Dotson John Forrest Duncan
Zachary Tyler Evans Ahliyah Curtrese Gavin
Sarah Louella Hall Wesley Todd Harris
Corbin Foster Scott Hayslett Ashley Nicole Hooven
Corey Blake Jenkins Edward Nathaniel Lawrence
Kimberly Ann Lawson Jonathan Charles McCullough
Kaitlyn Nicole Owens Sydney Dalton Pack
Amon Ivory Paterson Ethan Michael Samerdyke
Conner D. Stanley Julia Lange Sturgill
Ashlee Sue Taylor Derrick S. Torres
Mackenzie Lauren Trent James I. Vanover
Daniel Scott Vickers Javier Adolfo Wagner
Anthony Christopher Wallis Kelsey Rochelle Webb
Channing West Andrew Townley Williams
Lambda Pi Eta
Lambda Pi Eta is the honor society of the National Communication Association, whose purpose is to recognize, foster and reward outstanding scholastic achievement in communication studies. The Rho Xi Chapter inductees for the 2014-2015 academic year are:
Taylor Nash Cline Ahliyah Curtrese Gavin
Alana Grace Johnson Chelsea Amber Justice
Joy Noelle Mitchell Tessa Leigh McCoy-Hall
Madison Brooke Ray Mychaela Starr Richardson
Shannon Christine Walker
Phi Alpha Theta
Phi Alpha Theta, one of the nation’s largest honor societies, is devoted to excellence in the study of history. Requirements for induction include an overall grade point average of 3.00 and a minimum of 3.00 in history classes. Inductees for the 2014-15 academic year are:
Jeremy B. Cash John Forrest Duncan
Rachel Anastasia Fischer Edward Nathaniel Lawrence
Jessica Marie Miller Kayla Nicole Ratliff
Katelyn Danielle Sturgill
Psi Chi is a national honor society founded to encourage, stimulate and maintain excellence in scholarship and to advance the study of psychology. Psi Chi members for the 2014-15 academic year are:
Natalie Gayle Battaglia Troy Adam Boring II
Mattie Nicole Crockett Tara Nicole Cuffee
Morgan Lee Gabbert Cassandra D. Gilliam
Jenna Nicole Gray Lewis Edward Moore II
Haley Brooke Musick Victoria Anne Pedigo
Chelsea Camille Polly Samantha Gail Reed
Sarah Ann Rhoton Melany Renee Robinson
Meagan Rose Roth Jayanna Shantele Smith
James Walker Stowers Maria Aparcero Suero
Catherine Maria Taylor Tori Alexis Wiener
Sigma Delta Pi
Sigma Delta Pi, the national Spanish Honor Society, serves to recognize outstanding students in the fields of Spanish language, civilization, and literature. Sigma Delta Pi inductees for the 2014-15 academic year are:
Ashley Dawn Blaylock Anthony Tyler Moore
Ashley Carroll Tuttle
Sigma Tau Delta
Sigma Tau Delta’s central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature. Sigma Tau Delta inductees for the 2014-15 academic year are:
Victoria Ruth Countiss John Douglas Dotson
John Forrest Duncan Marie Hunsucker
Megan Adora Hurd Kelsey Rae Long
Shelby Caroline Roberts Ethan Michael Samerdyke
Brittany Renee Stoots Julia Lange Sturgill
Sigma Theta Tau
The mission of Sigma Theta Tau, the Honor Society of Nursing, is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Members must have a grade point average of at least 3.500 and be in the top 35 percent of their class. Inductees for the 2014-15 academic year are:
Allison Nicole Gilliam Lori-Kaitlyn Looney
Christel Leann Starnes Allison Elaine Sturgill
Vanessa Michelle Underwood
Sigma Zeta is a national honorary society whose purpose is to promote interest in the study of mathematics, computer science and the sciences, and to recognize students who have attained outstanding achievement in those fields. To be eligible for membership, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in all math and science courses completed. Alumni of the Alpha Xi Chapter of UVa-Wise include physicians, dentists, engineers, scientists, teachers, and professionals in many other fields. The Alpha Xi chapter inductees for the 2014-2015 academic year are:
Austin Drake Counts Tanner Storm Dorton
Caleb Daniel Fast Tyler Graham Garrison
Shirley Michelle Guzman Bailey Curtlan Helbert
Dustin Seth McGill Jessalyn Gabrielle Mullins
Mark Benton Mullins John Alexander Nauss
Jordan Scott Nickels Jessie Lynn O’Quinn
Michael Romey Phillips William Parker Robertson
Megan Nicole Roop Gabrielle Lee Smith
Kristin Nicole Smith Shelby Leighann Stewart
Ashlee Sue Taylor Derrick Scott Torres
James Ira Vanover Kelsey Rochelle Webb
Channing Tyler West Chelsea Elizabeth Whittington
Tanner Samuel Winesett
By Dalena Adams
Morgan Goodbrod and Ashley Hooven found themselves in a difficult situation last year when their college — Virginia Intermont — shuttered its doors.
“It was so sad,” Goodbrod, a Marion, Virginia resident, said. “A lot of tears were shed.”
Hooven, a Church Hill, Tennessee resident, said the closure of the Bristol-based private college was heartbreaking to its students, faculty and staff.
“It was going to be my senior year in volleyball,” Hooven said. “We were a family at VI, especially the athletic teams. We cheered each other on, and it was like a family.”
Goodbrod and Hooven had plans to pursue degrees in health and physical education, but they had to consider which college they wanted to attend after VI closed. The young women, along with about 10 other stranded VI students, decided to give The University of Virginia’s College at Wise a try.
Both women played volleyball at VI, so they gave the athletic department a close look before they made their decision to enroll.
“Everybody was super nice, and the volleyball team was nice,” Hooven said. “A big reason I came here was because of the people.”
Goodbrod had already exhausted collegiate volleyball eligibility while at VI, so she considered other sports offered at UVa-Wise.
“When I heard UVa-Wise was starting a lacrosse team, I was very interested,” she said. “I met the coach and I liked the idea of playing a different sport, especially one that I’d never really known about before. It was hard to learn to play lacrosse because it was different from other sports I’d played.”
Both women treasure their time at VI, and they said it was a good experience, but they heaped praise on UVa-Wise.
“I got a lot from VI, but I think I’ve had a better academic experience at UVa-Wise,” Hooven said. “The Teacher Education Program is wonderful here, and my student teaching has gone so well at Van Pelt Elementary and Virginia Middle School.”
Goodbrod agrees and said she often tells her friends and others about the benefits of a UVa-Wise education.
“I’ve told people that if they want to go into education, UVa-Wise is the place to go,” Goodbrod said.
Hooven, a member of the UVa-Wise Class of 2015, will receive her degree in Health and Physical Education on Saturday. Goodbrod still has a year to go before she earns her degree in Health and Physical Education, but she is looking forward to continuing her studies and playing lacrosse at UVa-Wise.
Luis Roa decided to get a degree in nursing when the Puerto Rico native arrived at UVa-Wise seven years ago to play baseball for the Highland Cavaliers.
The time required to play collegiate sports while pursuing a rigorous degree proved difficult for the left fielder, so he opted for a degree in foreign studies. After he graduated in 2011, Roa went back home to Puerto Rico with a plan to enter nursing school. After a year of weighing his options, Roa decided to come back to UVa-Wise and pursue his nursing degree.
Three years and a lot of hard work later, Roa will walk across the stage once more to receive his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.
“I always wanted to go into nursing,” he said. “I worked with the trainers as a work study while I was working on my first degree. I found out that I liked helping people get well, and I knew that I’d always have a job in the medical field.”
Roa was hired as an assistant baseball coach at UVa-Wise, and he has served in that capacity for three years. He found himself going back and forth between his job, his classes and his stringent clinicals at Johnson City Medical Center, Holston Valley Medical Center, Norton Community Hospital and Mountain View Regional Medical Center.
“I was surprised at the discipline you have to have to be in the nursing program,” Roa said. “It was tough work, and since Spanish is my first language, it was difficult for me.”
Roa is looking forward to landing a nursing job once he moves back to Puerto Rico. His future plans involve pursuing a master’s degree in nursing.
“My entire family is in Puerto Rico,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being with them again. I’ve been away for a long time.”
But Roa knows he will miss UVa-Wise and Southwest Virginia.
“I love this place,” he said. “It has been a big part of my life for seven years now. I made good friends here and the entire school helped me in so many ways. I got my first degree basically for free thanks to financial aid and baseball. I had to pay for the nursing degree, but having a job here helped. I am pretty proud to be a part of this community.”
Commencement often seems so long away for students who spend four years working toward a college degree, but for 31-year-old Benjamin Butler, graduation from UVa-Wise was a long time coming.
Over the years, the Richwood, West Virginia native has watched his friends complete their college degrees, celebrate career successes, and start families. Butler was on the same path as a student at Virginia Military Institute, but life got in the way.
“I started college right out of high school, but then my grandfather got ill,” he explained. “I dropped out to take care of him for several years. I guess you could say my social life and development got put on hold. In many ways, I’m just starting out, but I’m not really worried about it.”
Butler has no regrets for delaying his own plans in order to care for a beloved family member. Many times the best comes from tough situations. He found he was actually good at patient care. In a way, the experience helped him decide to pursue a career in the osteopathic medical field.
“I found I had a knack for it,” Butler said. “I had more than one of my grandfather’s doctors tell me that I should look into making a career of it.”
When his grandfather, Hilbert Friend, passed away, Butler decided to go back to school. He got his basic emergency medical technician license as a start. Around the same time, Butler met some UVa-Wise graduates who told him their success stories about the small college in Wise, Virginia.
“I was impressed with them,” Butler said. “I decided to apply and I got accepted two weeks before the semester started. I had two weeks to get my affairs in order before I arrived on campus.”
Butler, who inherited his grandfather’s land, had to make sure his farm would remain in operation back in West Virginia while he was in Wise. Once things were squared away with the farm and his mother volunteered to keep his dogs, Muggins and Elvis, he left for Wise.
“I was quiet impressed with the science department here,” the biology major said. “It is a small program, but it produces some of the best students I’ve seen. The people I’ve interacted with here are among the smartest people I’ve ever met. The faculty makes sure that the students they produce make good impressions when they go out into the world. The College also has a high rate for medical school acceptance, but I didn’t know all of that when I first came here. It still blows my mind that we place students in some of the best medical schools in the country. When the students come back, they say that they find they are as well prepared as other students who came from Ivy League schools.”
Butler said science students who present at national conferences often are complimented on how “socially functional” they are compared to their counterparts from other colleges and universities. He thinks the secret is the size of UVa-Wise.
“We are forced to interact and speak up in class,” Butler explained. “In small classes, you will be called on, and instructors know your name and your stories. They know what is going on with you, and they can tell what type of day you are having.”
While Butler has not settled on which medical school he wants to attend, he has decided to go to apply to an osteopathic program in Lewisburg, West Virginia, and he is looking at Lincoln Memorial University and Virginia Tech as well.
Until he reaches a decision, he plans to work full time as an EMT after he graduates. He has worked, mostly on weekends, as an EMT throughout his time at UVa-Wise. He also plans to do job shadowing with a physician as part of the requirement for the osteopathic medical school requirements. In the meantime, he has plenty of recommendations from the physicians who saw him care for his grandfather over the years.
“The osteopathic programs want me to get a feel for it,” he said with a smile. “I already have a feel for it.”
Several members of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise faculty were presented with awards for the 2014-2015 academic year.
Darlene Moore, office manager for academic affairs, and Pam McKnight, assistant to the academic dean, received the Thomas Galyean Outstanding Contribution to the Academic Mission award. The award, named after the late Thomas Galyean, is given to a non-faculty College employee who has made a significant contribution to the College’s academic mission.
Marla Weitzman, associate professor of English, received the Outstanding Advising Award, presented to a faculty member who has provided exceptional service to students through advising and related activities that support the academic program.
Anne Gillfoil, professor of Spanish, and Margie Tucker, professor of chemistry, received the Distinguished Professor Award presented to faculty who have given outstanding service in many areas of the academic program over a long period of time.
Jennifer Wilson, instructor of mathematics, and Daniel Ray, associate professor of computer science, received the Outstanding Teaching Award, presented to a faculty member who excels in classroom teaching and who works particularly well with students.
Witold Wolny, associate professor of religion, received the Outstanding Service Award, given to a faculty member who has made significant contributions to UVa-Wise and the community.
Lucian Undreiu, associate professor of physics, received the Mentoring Undergraduate Research Award, presented to a faculty member who fosters relationships with undergraduates that results in research appropriate for publication or public presentation.
Josephine Rodriguez, assistant professor of biology, received the Student Government Association’s Professor of the Year award presented by the Student Government Association, as voted on by the student body, that honors a professor who students feel have made outstanding contributions in the classroom.
Madelynn Shell, assistant professor of psychology, received the Rising Star award, presented to a faculty member with fewer than five years of teaching experience who exemplifies excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.
Floyd Beckford, endowed chair of chemistry, received the Outstanding Academic Contribution award, presented to a faculty member who makes a major contribution to enhancing the entire academic program of the College.
Jennifer Murray, assistant professor of history, received the Outstanding Research and Publication Award, presented to a faculty member who has made significant contributions to publish research in his or her discipline.
Loretha Boggs, instructor of nursing, received the Outstanding Instructional Support Award presented to the faculty member who fosters the kinds of relationships with undergraduates that result in research appropriate for publication or public presentation.
Tauna Gulley, instructor in nursing, and Walter Smith, assistant professor of biology, were recognized for receiving the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award earlier this year.
Suzanne Adams-Ramsey, professor of art, and David Kendall, professor of economics, were recognized for their service as department chairs. Retiring faculty members Loretha Boggs, instructor of nursing, and Roman Zylawy, professor of French, were also recognized during the ceremony for their years of service to UVa-Wise.
(For more photos of the event, visit our Facebook photo album.)
Dustin Fields is a 5th year Art major. Exact Details TBA. This is a cultural activity credit event. Light refreshments will be served.
A high percentage of UVa-Wise graduates are first generation college students, but Briana Jamison is an exception.
Jamison, a member of the UVa-Wise Class of 2015, comes from a long line of college graduates. Her grandparents, her parents, her sister, and several aunts and uncles received college educations. Two of her grandparents hold master’s degrees as well.
“Education was passed down from generation to generation,” the Fairfax County native said. “Education was instilled in us from birth, and it is not something that we take lightly. Going to college for me was never a question. The only question was where I was going to go.”
When searching for the right college, Jamison knew she wanted to attend a small school that offered plenty of interaction between faculty and students. She wanted to feel comfortable asking questions, and she wanted opportunities to become a part of campus life. She found that UVa-Wise met those needs.
After receiving her acceptance letter four years ago, Jamison and family decided to drive to Wise to see what UVa-Wise offered. Relying on a GPS system for navigation, they found themselves traveling up the steep curves of Tacoma Mountain Road.
“It was a seven hour trip and I took a nap on the way,” she said. “I remember waking up and we were driving up Tacoma Mountain. I was scared the whole time.”
Once she got to campus, met some other freshmen that were attending the College 360 open house, and realized there was, indeed, a town nearby, Jamison was hooked.
“I walked around campus and when I saw the lake for the first time, I feel in love with the campus and the Southwest Virginia,” she said.
A communication major, Jamison has a lyrical way with words when she describes Southwest Virginia and its vast mountains and natural beauty.
“The sunsets are always beautiful, no matter what time of year,” she said. “The mountains are amazing. There are no mountains where I’m from, so coming here from home has always been something I enjoy. The mountains and the sunsets give Southwest Virginia character. I never get tired of the scenery.”
Jamison is also pleased with the academic strength of UVa-Wise, especially the Communication Department. She chose to study communication after a high school trip to NBC Studios in New York. She had a chance to sit in an anchor chair and read a news script, and she decided then that she wanted a communication career.
“Being a communication major helped me become a more effective speaker, and that helped me to better articulate my thoughts. It also helped me become a better writer.”
Her future plans involve graduate school, but she is still deciding whether to pursue education or communication. Both fields appeal to her as graduation draws near.
Her relatives are thrilled to add another diploma to the family collection. Jamison drew smiles from staff during Senior Salute when she used Skype to share the excitement of getting her cap and gown and with her mother, Gwen, a teacher in the Fairfax County school system. Her father, George, a systems engineer, is proud of his daughter as well.
Jamison said UVa-Wise has grown during her four years on campus, but she believes it will always remain a school that will still feel like home to its graduates, even if they come back 10 or more years later.
“I believe it will still offer that welcome home feeling because UVa-Wise appreciates you as a person,” she said. “I always felt accepted.”
This performance will feature the talents of voice students under the tutelage of Christy Lee and Amber Burke. This is a cultural activity credit event.