NCWU Receives Grant for Digital Humanities Teaching & Learning

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University recently received a $60K grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities. Over the two-year grant period, NCWU will expand the Digital Humanities Lab, create a new course (Introduction to Digital Humanities), improve faculty knowledge of the digital humanities, incorporate local history into digital humanities projects, and promote undergraduate student research projects using digital humanities tools and methods. The proposed expansion of NCWU’s digital humanities programming is aligned with the institution’s mission and commitment to the eastern North Carolina region and its emphasis on innovative teaching approaches to use new information technologies.

Project co-directors, Dr. Jason W. Buel (Communication/Media Arts) and Dr. Shane M. Thompson (Religious Studies) established NCWU’s first Digital Humanities Lab as a physical space on campus to raise the profile of the University’s humanities, with the goal to make them more exciting, accessible, and modern to the general student population.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Joseph H. Lane, Jr., states “We are very excited that Dr. Thompson and Dr. Buel have received this grant. Their work in the area of digital humanities is the perfect example of the ways that North Carolina Wesleyan enriches our students’ lives with innovative teaching approaches that take advantage of the amazing new tools that can enrich our classrooms and our contributions to the community.”

The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965 created the National Endowment for the Humanities as an independent federal agency. The law identified the need for a national cultural agency that would preserve America’s rich history and cultural heritage, and encourage and support scholarship and innovation in history, archaeology, philosophy, literature, and other humanities disciplines. The Endowment awards grants to top-rated proposals examined by panels of independent, external reviewers.

About The National Endowment For The Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at:

University Recognized by ACSM’s Exercise is Medicine® Program

NCWU among 145 Campuses Honored Worldwide 

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University is one of only 145 universities and colleges around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on its campus. Faculty/Staff Personal Training, Wesleyan Wellness initiatives, the Walk with the President, the Lunch and Learn Series for Health, and other physical activity events conducted by the NCWU Health and Movement Science Club helped NCWU earn Silver level designation from the Exercise is Medicine® On Campus (EIM-OC) program. Exercise is Medicine is a community-impact initiative of the American College of Sports Medicine.

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and give students the tools to cultivate physical activity habits that will benefit them throughout their lives,”said interim CEO Katie Feltman, CAE. “These campus programs are nurturing future leaders who will advance a key tenet of Exercise is Medicine: making physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in health care.” 

“We are excited to have received the EIM-OC Silver distinction for the fifth year in a row! This distinction was made possible by the collaborative efforts of our students, faculty, staff, and administration, who continue to support our efforts to promote the health benefits of physical activity on campus,” said Dr. Shannon Crowley, Associate Professor of Public Health, and Exercise is Medicine on Campus program advisor. 

Of the 145 campuses recognized this year, 83 received Gold, 44 received Silver and 18 received Bronze. All Gold, Silver and Bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized on May 29 at the EIM recognition ceremony at ACSM’s Annual Meeting.

EIM-OC calls upon universities and colleges to promote physical activity as a vital sign of health and encourages faculty, staff and students to work together to improve the health and well-being of the campus community.  

EIM-OC launched its recognition program in 2014 to honor campuses for their efforts to create a culture of wellness. Schools earn Gold, Silver or Bronze status based on their activities. Gold level campuses have created a referral system where campus health care providers assess student physical activity and refer students as necessary to a certified fitness professional as part of medical treatment. Silver campuses engage students, faculty and staff in education initiatives and make movement part of the daily campus culture while Bronze level campuses promote and generate awareness of the health benefits of physical activity.  

About Exercise Is Medicine 
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) co-launched Exercise is Medicine® (EIM) in 2007 with the American Medical Association. ACSM continues to manage the global health initiative, which seeks to make physical activity assessment and promotion a standard in clinical care, connecting health care with evidence-based physical activity resources for people everywhere of all abilities. EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity promotes optimal health, is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions and should be regularly assessed and included as part of health care. Visit for additional information. 

About the American College of Sports Medicine 
The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members and certified professionals are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine. More details at  

Exercise Science Program Reaccredited

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan’s Exercise Science program has received full reaccreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)CAAHEP’s Committee on Accreditation of Exercise Sciences (CoAES) conducted a comprehensive review of all of the program’s academic offerings, facilities, and faculty qualifications and recommended a ten-year reaffirmation.  The Exercise Science program’s next comprehensive review will take place in 2034. 

exercise science students and professor

This recognition comes in a year of exciting growth and expansion for NCWU’s programs in the exercise and public health fields. NCWU launched a new Masters of Public Health program in August 2023, and in October 2023, a transformative gift from Wayne Souza (Class of 1973) greatly expanded the teaching, training, and research spaces in Wesleyan’s new (2021) Indoor Sports & Education Facility (ISEF). The undergraduate degree in Exercise Science now accounts for NCWU’s second most popular major among traditional, incoming first-year students, and the program has added new faculty members and recently passed plans for a second Masters level program that will soon be submitted to the University’s regional accrediting body.

white male exercise science professor
Dr. Meir Magal, Souza Professor of Exercise Science and Director of Exercise Science Program

“I am extremely excited and humbled to have the opportunity to direct a CoAES-accredited program, continue providing quality education, and train the next generation of exercise physiologists,” commented Dr. Meir Magal, Souza Professor of Exercise Science and Director of the Exercise Science program.

NCWU Provost Dr. Joe Lane noted, “North Carolina Wesleyan students are very fortunate to study in a CoAES and CAAHEP recognized program.  Few schools our size can boast of such accreditation.  This recognition, along with the remarkable upgrade in our facilities and equipment over the last several years, demonstrates that NCWU’s Exercise Science program is one of the very finest in our region, and we looking forward to being a leading educator of exercise science professionals well into the future.”

North Carolina Wesleyan University’s Exercise Science program welcomes students interested in a wide range of disciplines, from exercise physiology and strength and conditioning to athletic training and physical therapy, to tour our upgraded equipment and facility.

24 Hours to Make A Lifelong Impact

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – On March 26, friends and alumni of NC Wesleyan will have an opportunity to show their Bishop Pride and support the University during its fifth annual, 24-hour day of giving campaign, A Day for Wesleyan. This is a day when all NC Wesleyan University supporters, particularly alumni, celebrate the University through donations to support its vision and its students. In a short period of time, donors to the campaign can help advance the educational experiences for all students, help invest in new technologies for learning, create more scholarship opportunities, allow students to grow into their purpose, and help build Wesleyan’s future in the region.

“The A Day for Wesleyan campaign this year is focusing on the emerging needs for the University. Supporting the Annual Fund, also known as the Wesleyan Fund, gives the university the flexibility to grant more scholarships and financial aid to students in need, create more internships within our business community, invest in relevant technologies for the library and classrooms, and provide more co-curricular activities for all students,” said Mark Hinson, Sr. Executive for Philanthropic Engagement. “All gifts on March 26, regardless of size, add up to make a huge impact!”

When asked about the importance of A Day for Wesleyan, NC Wesleyan President, Dr. Evan Duff, stated; “We hope that our alumni and the community will join us in showing their Bishop Pride and support this campaign on Tuesday, March 26. When alumni and friends of the University unite to share their passion for Wesleyan, amazing things can happen for this entire community.”

Help Wesleyan continue impacting this community while also providing its students with a personal, practical and purpose-driven education. Donors can learn more and participate in A Day for Wesleyan by visiting the secure giving website,, or by calling 252.985.5581.

U.S. News & World Report Ranks NC Wesleyan Among Best Online MBA Programs

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) has been ranked among the 2024 Best Online Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) by U.S. News & World Report.

U.S. News assessed schools in the Best Online MBA Programs category based on a variety of objective factors, such as student engagement, faculty credentials, as well as services and technologies. According to their website, NC Wesleyan University was among more than 1,800 programs surveyed and only regionally accredited institution whose programs are offered mostly or entirely online were evaluated.

Professor Dr. Paul Ewell, Program Coordinator for the MBA program states, “Our MBA is more than a degree. It’s a gateway to the future of business.

“You’ll learn from the best and brightest in the field, and apply your skills to real-world challenges. You’ll also enjoy the flexibility and convenience of a program that fits your lifestyle and goals”, stated Ewell.

NC Wesleyan’s Master of Business Administration program is one of the most popular graduate programs at the University and was recently is one of the only private, non-profit universities currently offering an online MBA degree in the eastern NC region. The program is very affordable and offers many benefits including: rolling admissions with 100% online classes starting every eight weeks, finish in as little as 12 months, one-on-one mentoring, supportive faculty who have real-world experience offering applied assignments and career assistance. The program offers concentrations in Information Security, Executive Leadership, and Supply Chain Management. The program was also named by Forbes as One of the 10 Best Online MBA Programs of 2023! To learn more about admission requirements and curriculum information, visit

Prospective students can see how NCWU compares to other institutions and how the rankings are calculated on

About U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report is the global leader in quality rankings that empower consumers, business leaders and policy officials to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives and communities. A multifaceted digital media company with Education, Health, Money, Travel, Cars, News, Real Estate and 360 Reviews platforms, U.S. News provides rankings, independent reporting, data journalism, consumer advice and U.S. News Live events. More than 40 million people visit each month for research and guidance. Founded in 1933, U.S. News is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Bob Ross Exhibition A Fantastic Little Success

Fantastic Little Paintings by artist, Bob Ross, adorned the walls of The Mims and Gravely Galleries at The Dunn Center from November 2, 2023 through January 4, 2024. It was the first time a Bob Ross exhibition had been to North Carolina and the largest, with over 75 paintings, ever seen under one roof globally. More than 11,000 visitors poured in from all over the world to see this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit during the two-month showing.

Gallery Art Curator Jan Volz expressed, “The response to this exhibit was absolutely incredible. From corporate gatherings to individual ticket holders, people came from far and wide to be a part of this experience. We had visitors from Connecticut, Minnesota, California, Maine, Texas and even London, England.

Robert Norman Ross, an American painter, art instructor and television host known by so many for his permed hair, showed the world how to paint fun pieces of art. He was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, CBC in Canada, and similar channels in Latin America, Europe and elsewhere. Ross subsequently became known through his posthumous internet presence.

Bob Ross, Inc. President Joan Kowalski traveled to North Carolina to be part of the exhibition kick-off. “It was a joy to have her with us as we officially opened the doors to this exciting once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” stated Sheila Martin, Executive Director of The Dunn Center. Joan shook hands, took photos, shared stories and was an extra little surprise for those attending opening day.

Later in November, special guest Jim Needham visited the exhibition. Described as “The Real Deal” and retired General Manager of PBS affiliate WIPB-TV, he is also known as Bob’s best friend and producer of The Joy of Painting TV show. Needham joined us on campus to celebrate the life and work of Ross with “Remembering Bob Ross… a Conversation with his Best Friend.” Telling stories of their time together, he presented “The Real Story” and was available to answer questions about the legendary man behind all of the Fantastic Little Paintings. A huge success, this exhibit was made possible by Bob Ross, Inc. and proceeds will go toward benefiting NCWU students and to help bring future artists to the galleries at The Dunn Center. To stay abreast of upcoming shows and art galleries coming to The Dunn Center sign-up to receive email updates at

Veterans Day Celebration Planned at NCWU

Join North Carolina Wesleyan University on Friday, November 10 for a Veterans Day event celebrating and honoring the men and women of our armed forces. The morning will start off at 10:00 a.m. with a patriotic salute to all Veterans and a special pinning for Vietnam Veterans.

NCWU ROTC cadets stand and salute the flag

The event will be held at the main flagpole in front of the Braswell Administrative building with guest speaker, Rep. Allen Chesser. In case of inclement weather, the event will be moved to the Garner Lobby at The Dunn Center. Rep. Chesser is an alumnus of NC Wesleyan and currently serves on the University’s Veteran Advisory Committee. Elected in 2022, Rep. Chesser is currently the State Representative for North Carolina House District 25, which covers the majority of Nash County. Before serving in the North Carolina House, he was a police officer for the City of Raleigh and the Town of Nags Head. Rep. Chesser is a combat veteran of the U.S. Army National Guard.

“With wars and rumors of wars consistently in the headlines, it is important to pause and recognize those who have served our Country and kept America free. We are thankful to have the opportunity to honor our Wesleyan and Rocky Mount Veterans by continuing our tradition of the Veterans Day Salute. We are excited to have Rep. Chesser, Dawn Cash-Salau and Andrea Bishop joining us this year and look forward to their contribution to the day,” stated Laura Estes Brown, Associate Dean of Veteran Services.

During the ceremony, Mrs. Dawn Cash-Salau will present the Christopher Cash Scholarship to this year’s recipients. In addition, the University is supporting the local Ride of Honor taking place November 10 and 11. This fundraiser benefits the PruittCares Foundation to help veterans and bring Camp Cocoon to Nash County. Andrea Bishop BSN, RN, Administrator of PruittHealth Hospice of Rocky Mount, will be speaking briefly about this event at NCWU’s Veterans Day Salute.

Tolson Awarded Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award

For his great career in serving the region’s people and needs, North Carolina Wesleyan University presented Norris Tolson with the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at their Homecoming game on Saturday, October 14. Mr. Tolson is the Vice President of Special Projects for the Carolinas Gateway Partnership. The award is presented to a community leader who best exemplifies excellence in character, leadership, service to the community and a commitment to spiritual values. This humanitarian award is meant to recognize those who have selflessly given and served others and the community.

(L to R): Mark Hinson, Norris Tolson, Dr. Evan D. Duff

Algernon Sydney Sullivan rose to success in New York City as a respected lawyer and a man who “reached out both hands in constant helpfulness” to others. After his death in 1887, the Society sought to honor him and the award bearing his name was established in 1925 by the Sullivan Memorial Committee and the New York Southern Society, which Mr. Sullivan had served as its first president.

“Mr. Tolson, for many years, has been a remarkable public servant in this region and statewide.  When considering the attributes someone should possess in order to be awarded the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, he was a clear choice and is well deserving of this honor,” stated Mark Hinson, Sr. Executive of Philanthropic Engagement at North Carolina Wesleyan University.

Before joining the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, Tolson served as a senior advisor for economic development with the Williams Mullen law firm, was President and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, served as both the North Carolina Secretary of Commerce and the North Carolina Secretary of Transportation. He was elected to the North Carolina General Assembly and served in the House of Representatives from 1994 until 1997 representing parts of Edgecombe, Nash, Pitt and Wilson Counties at the time.  In 1999, Tolson served as the Chairman of the North Carolina Hurricane Floyd Relief Fund and in 2001 he was appointed to be the North Carolina Secretary of Revenue and stayed in this role until 2007.

Tolson proudly resides in Pinetops, NC.  He has three children and five grandchildren.

Celebrating the Legacy of Late Artist J. Chris Wilson

The local community is mourning the loss of J. Chris Wilson, a North Carolina landscape artist, educator, cultural advocate and historic preservationist for over 40 years. Wilson, who recently passed away in Wilmington, NC on Saturday, August 5, was known for his paintings that are part of public, corporate, and private collections in the United States, England, Saudi Arabia and Japan.

Image of J. Chris Wilson
J. Chris Wilson
Photo by Ronald L. Sowers

Wilson received his undergraduate degree in art from Valdosta State University, studied drawing, bronze casting and art history in the University of Georgia Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy, and completed his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree in drawing and painting in addition to post-MFA studies at the University of Georgia.

His artistic touch spread to Wesleyan beginning in 1988. When the historic Bellemonte House was originally moved from the back of campus to the front of campus in the fall of 1988, he served as the project coordinator and was highly involved in many aspects of its restoration. Wilson was instrumental in the successful nomination of the Bellemonte House for the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. He also painted the portrait of former NC Wesleyan professor and art collector, Daisy Thorp, that currently hangs in the President’s House in the dining room. In addition, Wilson and two others painted the large mural of chairs that previously hung outside The Dunn Center’s Carlton Boardroom. His tie to Wesleyan extends beyond the artistic work that he bestowed upon the University. He was also close with former NC Wesleyan President, Les Garner, and met his wife, Kathy, at the President’s house on campus.

Kathy served Wesleyan as a member of the Business faculty from August 1990 until her retirement with faculty emerita status in January 2017. A longtime friend and avid supporter of Wesleyan, Chris made many contributions to the University over the last several decades.

“Those who were fortunate enough to know Chris are deeply saddened by the news of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kathy and their children during this difficult time,” stated President Dr. Evan D. Duff. “There are a number of areas on campus he left a lasting legacy on. I’m glad to know these will live on for generations to come. I am honored to get to display a piece of his art in my home.”

Many of his North Carolina “Murphy to Manteo” landscape paintings have been on long-term exhibition in the House of Representatives Chamber in the North Carolina Legislative Building and The North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. His art work has been shown in galleries and museums throughout the Southeast including The Albany Museum of Art, The Burroughs-Chapin Museum of Art, The Spartanburg Museum of Art, The Fayetteville Museum of Art, The Greenville Museum of Art and in exhibitions at Blue Spiral Gallery and The Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art.

Wilson was a faculty member at Barton College from 1974-2012. He was awarded professor emeritus status in 2012 and from then until 2015, he was Barton’s first artist-in-residence. He is survived by his wife, Kathy, and children, Matthew and Singleton.