Grant, Community Partnerships Allow for Food Pantry at NC Wesleyan

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – A long-term study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that food insecurity among college students is associated with decreased college graduation rates and lower chances of obtaining a bachelor’s or advanced degree. North Carolina Wesleyan University is working to change these statistics. Thanks to a grant of more than $10,000 from Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) Foundation, the College’s Department of Education partner, NCWC has established a new food pantry on campus.

ECMC Foundation is a nonprofit, national foundation working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds. Thanks to the work of Dr. Molly Wyatt, Interim Provost, and Dr. Jason Modlin, Dean of Students, ECMC Foundation accepted the College’s proposal to address food insecurity by issuing two grants. Food insecurity can take on different meanings for different people—struggling to afford food, eating less, not eating as healthy or going hungry.

The College’s new food pantry is located in the Leon Russel Chapel on campus and is open to all members of the Wesleyan community. The ECMC Foundation grant allowed for the purchase of commercial refrigerators and freezers so that both perishable and non-perishable food can be offered.

“Going without food is something that no one should ever have to face. Through the generosity of several organizations, we are fortunate to be able to offer healthy food options for our students so that they can concentrate on excelling in the classroom,” stated Campus Chaplain, Rev. Edwin M. Ferguson.

In addition to the grant from ECMC Foundation, NCWC has partnered with several community organizations, including Ripe Revival Market and The Mercer Foundation, Inc., to provide the pantry with fresh produce and food items. Ripe Revival Market is a local company that delivers product and grocery boxes directly to the homes of its customers. They are committed to helping in the fight against hunger, providing healthy foods to those in need. Ripe Revival supports family farms by finding homes for their excess produce. For every purchase of their goods, they donate back to make a difference for those who are hungry. The Mercer Foundation, Inc., founded by NC Wesleyan’s Director of Military Studies, Lt. Col. (Ret) James Mercer, seeks to create healthy opportunities for children and provide assistance to disabled veterans. The major goal of the organization is to transform lives. They equip disabled veterans with necessary tools, education and vocational training, and provide balanced meals for children in high-risk environments.

Dr. Modlin and Rev. Edwin M. Ferguson, the College’s Chaplain, are exploring options for long-term sustainability of the food pantry, including a continued partnership with Ripe Revival Market. This partnership would consist of Ripe Revival Market donating a box back to the pantry for every box that is purchased by NC Wesleyan employees. The NCWC Alumni Board is also working with NC Wesleyan’s Office of Advancement to establish a pathway for raising funds to expand the pantry. Those who are interested in partnering with the College to support its new food pantry can contact Rev. Edwin M. Ferguson, at 252.985.5575 or

Two New Residence Life Coordinators Join Wesleyan

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – When students return to North Carolina Wesleyan University in the fall, they will be greeted by two new faces— Derick Stephenson, Jr. and Mackenzie Stamper. Both have joined the College’s Residence Life staff as Area Coordinators.   

“We are excited to welcome Derick and Mackenzie to our Residence Life professional staff. I look forward to developing this team to serve our residential students and continuing to build our Resident Advisor team. These two new professionals are coming to campus at an exciting time! We look forward to preparing them for RA Training in August and to serve our residents who will move in shortly thereafter,” stated Steve Burrell, Director of Residence Life.

Derick Stephenson, Jr.
Residence Life Area Coordinator

As an Area Coordinator, Derick will be responsible for residents in Petteway Hall and the Wesleyan Inn. He comes to NC Wesleyan most recently from Profound Gentlemen where he served as a coach to undergraduate males of color enrolled in teacher education programs. His emphasis is on social-emotional learning as a tool for setting and achieving goals, as well as building strong relationships. Derick previously served as an educator through the Teach for America program in the Edgecombe County Public School System. He brings a wealth of mentoring experience and a passion for young people, as well as knowledge of developing workshops and programs to facilitate personal growth. Derick holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Christopher Newport University.

Mackenzie Stamper
Residence Life Area Coordinator

Mackenzie Stamper will be the Area Coordinator for Collins, Pash, Bradley, Taylor, Boddie and Jin Halls. Mackenzie previously served in a number of residence life roles at Indiana Wesleyan University, including Resident Advisor (RA), Resident Director (RD) and Graduate Assistant of Community Learning. She brings extensive experience and knowledge of campus residence life, including new student orientation. Mackenzie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Strategic Communication from Indiana Wesleyan and will complete her Master of Arts degree in Student Development this December, also with Indiana Wesleyan University.

Residence Hall Improvements Coming to NC Wesleyan

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Infrastructure improvements are coming to North Carolina Wesleyan University, thanks to a $50,000 grant from The Cannon Foundation, Inc. The funds will be utilized to replace flooring on all three levels of Petteway Hall, which primarily houses freshman male residents.

“The updated flooring in Petteway will be a welcome upgrade for our students. The ability to upgrade the residential areas on campus aid in making a good first impression when students and their families arrive for the first time to move in,” stated Steve Burrell, Director of Residence Life.

Any remaining funds will be used to also replace flooring on the second and third levels of Collins Hall. To avoid any inconvenience to students living in these residence halls, renovations will take place over the summer.

About The Cannon Foundation, Inc.
The Cannon Foundation, Inc. is part of the philanthropic legacy of Charles A. Cannon, industrialist and humanitarian, who was President and Chairman of Cannon Mills Company for more than half a century. The Foundation continues Mr. Cannon’s philanthropy through funding in healthcare, higher education, human services and community.

New Residence Life & Student Activities Coordinator Joins NCWC

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINANorth Carolina Wesleyan University welcomed a new Residence Life & Student Activities Coordinator this fall. Ms. Nadine Verner will manage and reside in Roberson Hall, as well as work with Wesleyan’s Greek Life students in the Student Activities department.

Nadine was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and is an alumna of Alverno College of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she studied Communication. As a continuous learner, she is currently in her second year pursuing her master’s degree in Education at Abilene Christian University in Texas. Nadine’s experience in higher education includes residence life, student activities and various support services. She has been a part of many organizations, both as a student and advisor, and is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

In addition to overseeing Roberson Hall, a first-year female residence hall housing up to 130 students, she will also provide leadership development and event management support to the Office of Student Activities. She is charged with encouraging and supporting students’ academic, social, cultural and emotional growth and retention. Her responsibilities will also include managing and recruiting resident advisors, desk assistants and game room attendants.

“We are excited to have Nadine join our team due to her previous experiences with residence life and student activities. Her background, energy and professionalism will allow Nadine to connect with students to advise, mentor and help shape them during their college career,” stated Steve Burrell, Director of Residence Life.

In her free time, Nadine loves to explore new places and craft. Nadine recently joined the College in welcoming the NCWC community back to campus for fall 2020 and looks forward to supporting the Bishops and fulfilling the mission of the College.

NC Wesleyan Hires New Dean of Students

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University recently welcomed Dr. Jason Modlin as its new Dean of Students. Modlin comes to Wesleyan from Louisburg College, where he previously served as Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. 

Among his many accomplishments at Louisburg College, Modlin was instrumental in developing a Residence Hall Mentor program, an innovative approach to staffing residence halls with full-time professional relationship-builders. He also led a short-term retention effort that increased fall-to-fall retention by 7% over the previous year.

Modlin holds a Doctorate in Higher Education Leadership from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. With a 25-year career in small, private higher education, he brings a wealth of knowledge to NCWC.  

In his role as Dean of Students at NC Wesleyan, Modlin will be responsible for overseeing all student affairs operations, including the departments of Health & Wellness, Campus Life, Residential Life, Religious Life and Food Services. He will also serve as the Chief Judicial Officer of the College and the Title IX Coordinator and Adjudicator. Modlin assumes the role of Dean of Students from Dr. Molly Wyatt who had previously taken on the responsibilities of both Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Students.

“NC Wesleyan is fortunate to have brought in a highly-qualified and experienced Student Affairs professional who is both familiar with the small private college environment as well as the Eastern North Carolina region, stated Dr. Molly Wyatt, Interim Provost. “Dr. Modlin is making a big impact already, having had a summer forum with the College’s traditional students and contributing to reopening plans and retention strategies.” Modlin is a long-time resident of Nash County and currently resides near Red Oak with his wife, Ami, and their three daughters.

New NCWC Bishop Gaming Association Takes Second at Triangle Esports Championship

Nicolas Ritondale, BGA Elite Team Member, competing in Fortnite at the Triangle Esports Championship. Nicolas is 1 of 200 players that registered to play.

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Students on North Carolina Wesleyan’s campus are excited about the new addition of an esports club called The Bishop Gaming Association (BGA). The club is devoted to promoting the culture of gaming by providing experiences, advice, awareness and resources to students interested in exploring, playing and discussing video games of all platforms.

The Bishop Gaming Association seeks to create a competitive environment between students who find enjoyment in playing video games. Video game tournaments – known as esports – are quickly becoming a must-have on many College and University campuses. According to, there are approximately 125 varsity esports teams in North America. Although, the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), says that there are currently more than 130 active collegiate varsity esports teams.

The Triangle Esports Championship took place at the Herb Young Community Center in Cary, NC. The event had over 1,000 people in attendance.

On February 8, Wesleyan students participated in North Carolina’s only esports tournament, the Triangle Esports Championship (TEC), held at the Herbert C. Young Center in Cary, NC. The competition invited approximately 2,000 professional and amateur players to compete for cash and prizes in games including Fortnite, Rocket League, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Street Fighter. Proceeds from the tournament directly benefit the nonprofits Kramden Institute and the Triangle Literacy Council in supporting their efforts for digital inclusion and literacy campaigns in North Carolina. In 2019, the tournament raised $50,000 to further community digital inclusion and literacy efforts. North Carolina Wesleyan was a proud sponsor of this year’s tournament.

“The experience of competing in the Triangle Esports Championship has energized The BGA,” stated Desiree’ Driver, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach and BGA Club Advisor. “The club now has over 100 members and The BGA Elite Team has grown to 16. It’s been exciting to witness not just the socialization and teamwork of such a diverse group of students, but the growth in digital literacy and the collaborative and innovative ways in which they teach and learn from one another.”

Jonathan Gomez, BGA Elite Team Member, ready to compete in the finals as the BGA’s top Fortnite competitor. Gomez finished 35 out of 200.

North Carolina Wesleyan University students fought competitively and placed on the leaderboards despite the many sponsored players in attendance. Cameron Bullock placed second in the Street Fighter competition and 20 out of 97 participants in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate category. Johnathan Gomez placed 35 out of 200 players in Fortnite. Chantoni Grant, Club President, along with Christian Gardner and Dequan Wiggins, competed in the Rocket League category.

The Bishop Gaming Association was started to allow an untapped NC Wesleyan community find a place of belonging. In its first month, it exploded into one of the largest clubs on campus with over 100 members.

Wesleyan Welcomes Woofs, Wags & Wiggles

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA North Carolina Wesleyan University has announced that it is now a dog-friendly campus. The community is encouraged to bring their dogs for a walk along Wesleyan’s two-mile walking trail around the perimeter of campus or complete their full 5K path all while enjoying the campus’ beautiful scenery.

Canine family and friends are now allowed on campus for occasional visits, as long as they are accompanied by their owner and stay within designated “dog-friendly” areas, such as the outer walking trail and sidewalks around campus. To maintain the cleanliness of campus and safety of guests, all indoor areas and athletic fields are not classified as dog-friendly locations. The College’s new dog policy states they must be on a flea and tick program, remain leashed at all times and have their vaccine ID tag visible or paperwork available if asked by security. It also acknowledges that owners are responsible for any clean up and disposal of their dog’s waste. Dog waste stations will start to appear on campus within the coming weeks. These will be placed around the walking trail and in other convenient locations.

“Although Wesleyan has been open to community members walking their dogs on campus, this policy makes it an official endorsement. We love our dogs and what better place to take them for a stroll than Wesleyan’s walking trail,” acknowledged Interim President Dr. Evan D. Duff.

In order to ensure access for individuals with disabilities, service dogs are permitted on the premises per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Service dogs have access to all buildings and facilities on campus, as long as they are behaving appropriately, are house broken and do not pose a threat to the health and safety of others.

NC Wesleyan looks forward to seeing their new canine guests on campus and are “pawsitive” they’ll have a dog-gone good time. For more information on the College’s dog policy, please visit

Wesleyan Staying Abreast of Student Safety

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – As part of Wesleyan’s continued efforts to increase security on campus, the College recently started offering women’s self-defense classes. College security personnel patrols the campus 24 hours a day and the Rocky Mount Police Department on the evenings and weekends; however, the safety of students off-campus and for commuters is also imperative.

Though Wesleyan cannot prevent off-campus attacks, they hope to give students the tools to be self-reliant and to prioritize their safety. Prior to the end of the semester, the College partnered with Kuntaw Legacy International Martial Arts Academy holding two well-attended sessions in May. Those in attendance were taught key self-defense tactics they can utilize to protect themselves in an unsafe predicament.

Safety is a top priority to NC Wesleyan faculty and staff. In the past few years, Wesleyan has beefed up on-campus security features through Eddie and Allison Smith Foundation grants and crime has continued to remain low. In addition to adding self-defense classes, Wesleyan provides sexual assault and domestic violence seminars and has sent out anonymous surveys to foster open communication with students about any concerns. Additional emergency blue light 911 call boxes and video surveillance cameras have also been installed in the past year. 

Feedback regarding the value of the self defense program was very positive from those in attendance. One student, Natalie Larson, has also stepped forward to seek funding from her non-profit organization, Brace Change, to ensure the program can be a monthly fixture on campus next year.

“The opportunity to bring self-defense classes to NCWC is another positive step in keeping our students safe. We plan on continuing this and other similar components in the fall semester,” stated Wayne Sears, Director of Security at NC Wesleyan. 

Kuntaw Legacy International Martial Arts is a training facility owned by William and Alicia Kossmann in Wilson, NC. William is a seventh degree black belt in the art of Kuntaw, an international champion and a multiple gold medalist of the NC State Games. Alicia is a ninth degree red belt with over 45 years of experience in Kuntaw Legacy martial arts, as well as a multiple gold medalist of the NC State Games.