Maryhelen Willhite Endowed Scholarship Established

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Bishops are often asked, “What makes Wesleyan different?” or “Why Wesleyan?” The answer is simple. It is the people, the community. This is proven once again by another generous donor, Maryhelen Willhite Jones.

Maryhelen is the daughter of the late Dr. W. Lyle Willhite who was a professor at NC Wesleyan from 1976 to 1984. Her dedication and commitment to Wesleyan runs deep and in 1996, she was able to assist one of Dr. Willhite’s former students, Rick Bradham III, ’81, in establishing The Dr. W.L. Willhite Endowed Scholarship.

Maryhelen Willhite Jones

Because of her late father’s influence, Maryhelen made her first contribution in the spring of 2024 to establish The Maryhelen Willhite Jones Endowed Scholarship, her own Second Generation Legacy Scholarship. This award will be given to undergraduate students majoring in Marketing who have excelled in academic and extracurricular accomplishments at NCWU.

Dr. Willhite instilled in Maryhelen to be bold and give with purpose and passion. Now she has been able to “bring that ‘can do’ boldness to NCWU through another endowed scholarship with the Willhite name.”

Maryhelen says “I believe in not only paying things forward, but also paying them inward.”

Although her background is in the Arts, International Relations, and Information/ Library Sciences, she has a passion for all things Marketing: brands, products, companies, non-profits, social causes, innovations, and ideas. Maryhelen states, “If I had to do it over again, I would go into the field of Marketing. What I can do instead is to help support those who decide to do just that.”

Maryhelen knows that Wesleyan’s undergraduate marketing degree involves research skills, critical thinking, demographics, collaboration, creativity, communication, persuasion, information, observation, social, economic, and cultural considerations, and yes, sometimes playfulness!

“My ultimate focus is on the students, who no matter what their career fields end up to be, are ethically grounded and have a strong moral self-compass,” says Maryhelen Willhite Jones.

“The Dr. W. L. Willhite Endowed Scholarship has been financially supporting Wesleyan students for over 27 years. To have a scholarship established by his daughter, Maryhelen, that will impact lives in the same way is a grand gesture. We are grateful for the ongoing support from the Willhite family, which will continue to make a difference for future Wesleyan alumni. The relationship developed has been meaningful and of great significance.”

Khalil Robertson’s Leadership and Journey at NCWU

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – A true man of many talents, Khalil Robertson is a senior graduating from North Carolina Wesleyan University. Although he has a bright future ahead, he will be leaving NCWU with a touching and lasting impact. Robertson has been active on campus, supporting multiple student ministries, a leader for the Male Minority initiative developed on campus with NCICU, and has accepted a full-ride scholarship to Duke Divinity School where he will obtain a Master of Arts in Christian Practice (MACP).  

Recent graduate, Khalil Robertson, accepted a full-ride scholarship to Duke Divinity School.

Robertson is a prime representation of the personal, practical, and purpose-driven education that students receive at Wesleyan. He started attending NCWU in 2020, the first academic year held during COVID-19. This did not intimidate him from getting involved and engaged in the campus community as he tuned into Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) via zoom. During the spring semester, he began teaching Bible studies and attending Refuge Campus Ministry. He was instantly involved with campus ministries every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Robertson was Assistant Chaplain to Reverend Barry Drum in 2020 where he had the opportunity to conduct a baptismal service. Upon Reverend Ferguson’s hire, the two formed an immediate bond and Robertson shares, “If it wasn’t for him I can say I wouldn’t be as confident in myself and ministry without him”. The preaching led to counseling and taking part in the worship teams. Robertson expresses “As a graduating senior, I have really enjoyed the community that I’ve been a part of in all the ministries, it’s really been a life changing experience for me, and I thank God for the relationships built with the Moore family, Word Tabernacle Church, Presence Church, Connect YTI, and so many others.” Rev. Ferguson responds, “I am proud of Khalil and excited for his future. He will make a positive, lasting impact wherever he goes and I am grateful that God allowed our paths to cross.”

As a member of Wesleyan’s Black Student Association, Robertson shares, “I got into a community that felt like my family away from home.” He took this further his sophomore year by creating an organization for black male students. Sprouting from the Male Minority Initiative with NCICU, Robertson established a vision, a board of gentlemen, and an organization called Black Men Winning, with the assistance of Tim Carmichael, Giavonne Minns, Yutaka Bell, Jonah Purnell, Jaydon Denmark, Tim Willis, and leader Rev. Russell Rouse, initial advisor. 25-30 men were inducted during their first ceremony in 2022. In the second year, Dr. Spragley assumed the role of advisor where he and Robertson expanded this group beyond campus and into the Rocky Mount Community. Robertson said he was inspired by Rouse and Spragley to “take a holistic approach in developing and empowering the members in a spiritual aspect by having Bible study, traveling to other churches, counseling members individually, and ultimately helping students find outside grants to help fund their education.” Dr. Spragley worked with NCICU, making it possible for members to achieve an additional scholarship as being part of the organization. This extended to etiquette workshops, mental health workshops, hosting inspirational guest speakers, taking part in city-wide panels, retreats, community service projects with Ripple Effects and St. John AME Zion Church, study hall sessions, registration workshops to ensure being on the right track for graduation, and hosting events such as: Ebony Speaker Ball, 7V7 Football Tournaments, Game Night Tournaments, Love Day, etc.! Through all of that, Robertson believes “being intentional is the number one value that I believe carries the organization to new levels. It’s what brings guys closer, makes members stronger, and inspires others to be part of what we’ve built.” Their motto is “A successful black man is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks thrown at him.” He plans to remain involved in the ministry, but leaves the leadership to its current members and Dr. Spragley who states, “Mr. Robertson has proven himself to be a leader in the truest sense. His dedication to providing resources and opportunities to young men of color is an admirable skill set.”

Robertson’s future endeavors will be in the Master of Arts in Christian Practice Hybrid program at Duke Divinity where he looks to work as a high school social studies teacher for Wake County Schools, still actively preaching and pursuing to pastor in the CME Church. He concludes by sharing “I’m truly grateful for the support of my professors, the students, staff and faculty from the Wesleyan community, the many churches regardless of denomination, and my family for everything they’ve done for me the last four years; but most of all, I thank God for what he’s already done, what He’s doing right now, and for what He’s about to do!” 

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.

NCWU is the Pet-Friendly College for Animal Lovers

Research shows that pet ownership in the United States has significantly increased over the past three decades. In fact, according to Forbes Advisor, “As of 2023, 66% of U.S. households (86.9 million homes) own a pet.” Personally, it comes as no surprise with everything that has occurred in the last several years: the pandemic, rise in mental health and rate of inflation. So, what about college-bound animal lovers who own a pet and are looking for a pet-friendly college?

In the fall of 2023, NC Wesleyan University announced its plan to turn one residence hall into pet-friendly housing, thanks to a new program the University is piloting. This initiative allows students to keep their furry friends with them while living on campus, offering them the ability to still have access to the traditional campus life experience. One pet per student is allowed.

dogs on campus

The unique program has proved to be popular among students, as spots in the residence hall filled up quickly with the announcement. NCWU plans to move forward in the upcoming 2024-2025 academic year continuing to offer pet-friendly housing. The University’s pet-friendly housing policy is for dogs, cats and fish. Dogs must weigh under 40 pounds and have no history of aggressive behavior. All dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated against rabies and other transmittable diseases and be on anti-parasite medication. No animals may roam the campus unattended. Fish tanks are limited to 5 gallons in volume.

In addition to the joy and companionship they bring, pets also teach time and obligation management. A great remedy for anxiety and homesickness, they provide many students more structure in their daily routine, including exercise and time outside. Not to mention they can be a great icebreaker for making new friends.

At NCWU, we are committed to providing a safe and well-maintained environment for all students residing in pet-friendly housing. It is the responsibility of the pet owner to protect the rights of all students, ensure a safe and healthy living and learning environment, as well as practice behaviors that support the upkeep of university facilities and beauty of the campus. Students who bring a pet to campus are responsible for understanding and abiding by the regulations of the pet policy. Every pet owner is encouraged to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of the campus environment for their pet.

dogs pets on campus

By allowing resident students to bring their pet to live on campus, we aim to create a more balanced college experience and be the “Pet-Friendly College for Animal Lovers”. An environment that prioritizes health, wellness and connection.

If you’re a pet owner interested in college and can’t bear to leave your beloved animal companion behind, check out North Carolina Wesleyan University. The University’s Winter Open House is set for Saturday, February 3, 2024, and registration is underway. 

During Open House, students learn more about scholarships and financial aid, have the opportunity to speak with faculty and current students, gain information on the admissions process and can take a campus tour. You can learn more at

Dr. Ami Thompson featured in The Naturalist Publication

Ami Thompson, Ph.D., NCWU Assistant Professor of Biology, recently traveled to Ohio to present a workshop with her colleagues Melissa Sanchez Herrera, and freelance biologist Sandra Hunt von Arb. They discussed the migration mysteries of the Common Green Darner dragonfly. U.S. Forest Service administrators Karin Theophile and Mike Rizo also accompanied them. 

During the workshop, they performed tests and collected data that will inform future international dragonfly conservation & research and hopefully reveal clues about the mystery of migration. 

VIEW PDF OF ENTIRE ARTICLE  By Ray Novotny, Naturalist Emeritus, Mill Creek Metroparks

For more information: 
Ami Thompson – Dragonfly Website

Check out The Naturalist Newsletter, The Naturalist is the official newsletter of NAI’s Interpretive Naturalist Section. Find articles, news, tips & tricks, best practices, and more written by Interpretive Naturalists for Interpretive Naturalists! 

How did scientists first come know that dragonflies migrate? This video below highlights one of the first published observations of the phenomenon and tells you where you can go to observe raptor and dragonfly migration, in Minnesota.

NC Wesleyan’s MBA Ranked in Top 10 Best Online Programs by Forbes

forbes best online mba program

A September 2023 report by Forbes ranked North Carolina Wesleyan University as having one of the top ten best online MBA programs in the United States. These rankings came from The Forbes Advisor Education team. The Forbes rankings scored 476 accredited, nonprofit colleges offering online MBA degree programs in the U.S. using 16 data points in the categories of credibility, affordability, student outcomes, student experience and application process. Data was pulled for these categories from reliable resources such as Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System; private, third-party data sources; and individual school and program websites.

Learn more about the rankings and the value of an education at NC Wesleyan University.

Wesleyan…Worth It!

A hot topic right now—is a college degree still worth the time, effort and money that it takes to obtain one? At NC Wesleyan University, we think it most definitely is and here is why. 

For those concerned about debt due to college loans, Wesleyan offers several options to make your education affordable and attainable: 100% of traditional program students are eligible for some source of financial assistance and we award $24 million in scholarships, grants and financial aid each year. In fact, our average scholarship package actually lowers the cost of attending NCWU to be comparable to the cost of attending an in-state public university.

Many may think that they can make more money coming straight out of high school and going into the workforce. This may be true in certain instances, for the short-term. However, over time studies show that bachelor degree holders are known to earn as much as $1 million in additional income over their lifespan. Employers recognize that college graduates have been trained in areas of communication, problem-solving and critical thinking— skills that are transferable to any field. In a world where competition for jobs is increasingly fierce, a college degree can be a valuable asset in helping job seekers stand out from the crowd and secure their place in the workforce.

A college degree demonstrates that a potential job candidate is dedicated to learning and improving their skills. College graduates are exposed to opportunities that prepare them to make sound decisions, think strategically and offer innovative solutions to problems. In today’s economy, employers are more likely to hire candidates who have a degree than those without one, opening the door to greater and more varied job opportunities. For those who are thinking about or currently pursuing an associate degree, we have great partnerships in place to provide a seamless transfer to NCWU following completion of your two-year degree at many NC community colleges.

In college, you also gain experiential learning through project-based assignments that partner with real organizations, internships and student clubs and organizations. You can leverage these valuable experiences on your resume, in your portfolio of work and during job interviews to show employers that you are a competitive candidate. Through our Office of Career Development & Leadership, Resident Expert Program (WES-R.E.P.) and partnerships with local organizations, our students have the ability to explore potential careers through workshops, one-on-one mentoring, career fairs, internships and job shadowing opportunities. In addition, college students are exposed to a wide range of peers from all over the world allowing them to learn about different cultures, make connections and build a professional network.

Higher education is an invaluable tool. At NCWU, we provide opportunities that are personal, practical and purpose-driven to help you unlock your potential and accomplish your goals in life. To learn more about our offerings for traditional and adult students, visit our website at

NCWC Holds Inaugural RN to BSN Class Celebration

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University’s RN to BSN program celebrated its inaugural class on Wednesday, August 4 in The Dunn Center on the College’s campus. Guest speaker was Dr. Susan Haynes Little, Chief Nursing Officer/Chief Public Health Nurse for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health.

The program’s RN to BSN students, along with two guests, and several community stakeholders were in attendance. All guests were welcomed with appetizers and a punch station as they entered the Garner Lobby of The Dunn Center, followed by a brief Meet & Greet and dinner as they heard from Dr. Susan Haynes Little.

Guest speaker, Dr. Susan Haynes Little, Chief Nursing Officer/Chief Public Health Nurse for the NC Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health.

During her speech, Dr. Little encouraged Wesleyan’s nursing students by reinforcing the importance of obtaining their BSN degree. “When I talk to nursing administrators, they tell me that their BSN-prepared nurses are better leaders. They tell me that they are also better at program management, data-informed decision making, writing and communicating. With current challenges facing public health, health equity, social justice and health economies—to name just a few—nurse leaders are positioned to shape the future of healthcare.”

This group included nurses entering the three cohorts of NCWC’s RN to BSN Program during its first full year of operation, which began August 2020. The 100% online, 34-credit hour program allows students to finish in as little as 12 months.

“Our Battling Bishop Nurses made a choice to earn their baccalaureate degree during a time of uncertainty due to the implications set forth by COVID-19 and now the Delta Variant,” stated Dr. Brittany Bass, NCWC’s Director of RN to BSN. “Thank you, Battling Bishop Nurses, for stepping to the plate during these times to expand your knowledge and nursing practice. It’s because of you that our communities will continue to thrive and be safe.”

A highlight of the event was a special scholarship announcement by Mark Hinson, NCWC’s Director of External Affairs and Annual Giving, reporting that among the nursing students actively taking courses at this time, the two students with the highest GPAs in the program will be receiving scholarships in the amount of $1,000.00 each. The remaining students will be receiving scholarships worth $500.00 each. This was made possible by two anonymous donors.

Stephanie Promish, the program’s first recipient of The DAISY Award

In addition, Stephanie Promish, the program’s first recipient of The DAISY Award, was honored and provided with a bouquet of daisy’s. Promish, who works as a Registered Nurse at Cherry Hospital in Goldsboro, was presented with The DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nursing Students in May 2021, where she received a certificate, a DAISY Award pin and “A Healer’s Touch” sculpture symbolizing excellence and a love for nursing that is hand-carved by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. She is the first recipient at NC Wesleyan since the inception of the College’s new partnership with The DAISY Foundation. This award is part of The DAISY Foundation’s mission to express gratitude to nurses with programs that recognize them for the extraordinary, compassionate and skillful care they provide patients and families.

NCWC Recognized by Exercise is Medicine® for Efforts to Create Culture of Wellness

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University is one of only 153 colleges and universities around the world to be honored by Exercise is Medicine® for its efforts to create a culture of wellness on campus. Programs and promotions such as the physically active, virtual scavenger hunt, the Exercise is Medicine® on Campus (EIM-OC) Mascot Challenge and other campus wellness initiatives helped NCWC earn Silver level from the EIM-OC program for the second year in a row. NC Wesleyan also obtained EIM’s COVID Conqueror badge, a new honor given to campuses that demonstrated creative adaptations to physical activity programming during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

exercise is medicine badge

“We are excited to have received the EIM-OC Silver distinction for the second year in a row, and to be recognized with a ‘COVID Conqueror’ badge for adapting our physical activity promotion and programming to the unique environment of the COVID-19 pandemic. This distinction illustrates the resolve of our students, faculty, staff and administration to continue to prioritize a culture of physical activity and wellness on campus, even during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Shannon Crowley, EIM-OC advisor. 

Of the 153 campuses recognized this year, 73 received Gold, 59 Silver and 21 Bronze. All Gold, Silver and Bronze universities and colleges will be officially recognized in June as part of the 2021 virtual Exercise is Medicine® World Congress, held in conjunction with the American College of Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting. 

“We are thrilled to recognize these campuses’ commitment to make movement a part of daily campus culture and equip students with tools to cultivate lifelong physical activity habits, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Robyn Stuhr, Vice President of Exercise is Medicine. “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.” 

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 students’ 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. 

View a complete list of recognized schools and learn more about the EIM-OC program at

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