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!” 

Local Company Awards Nursing Scholarships to NCWU

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – SE&M Constructors, Inc., a Rocky Mount based, family-owned company for over 100 years, recently established the SE&M Constructors, Inc. Annual Nursing Scholarships at North Carolina Wesleyan University. “There is such a high demand for quality nursing in this region and NC Wesleyan is doing a great job of trying to fill that need. As a local company, we care about the communities we serve, so helping Wesleyan students further their education and careers in nursing seems like a tremendous benefit to all of us,” states Harry Bynum, Chairman of SE&M Constructors, Inc. and member of NC Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees.

The SE&M Constructors, Inc. Annual Scholarship will be awarded to NCWU nursing students enrolled to receive their Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. The number of recipients may vary annually depending on the number of nursing students applying for the scholarship. NCWU’s BSN degree prepares experienced registered nurses for advanced leadership, management, clinical, research and nurse educator positions. Dr. Evan D. Duff, President of NCWU, states “This is another example of how our community benefits from organizations who believe in the mission of North Carolina Wesleyan University. These funds will directly impact nursing students who will further their education to meet the needs of our local hospital and medical practices. It directly impacts the public health of Nash and Edgecombe counties.”

The scholarships will be awarded with a minimum of $2,000 and a maximum of $2,500. Applications for the scholarship will be administered through the Financial Aid Office. Students interested in applying for this scholarship may contact the NCWU Financial Aid Office by emailing

The Dunn Center Announces The 28th Season Series

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – The Dunn Center at North Carolina Wesleyan University will kick off its 28th season series on Friday, September 13 with the family-friendly Fool of Illusion show performed by Reggie Rice. The 2024-2025 season will include seven shows from a variety of genres with season tickets on sale starting June 1 for $150. As a season ticket holder, you get a reserved seat and ticket for all seven shows. The price is right and the parking is free.

Rice’s show has been named the “Comedy Magician of the Year” for the last three years by the International Brotherhood of Magicians. He will combine magic and laughter to create Fool of Illusion. You have never seen anything like it. This is a 90- minute, family-friendly show that includes audience participation that will have you on the edge of your seat. Rice makes the adults laugh and the kids scream.

“The Dunn Center is a true gem in eastern North Carolina and I’m proud of the exceptional lineup that we have to offer this season,” stated Sheila Martin, Executive Director of The Dunn Center. “For those who have attended a show here in the past, we look forward to having you back for another exciting performance. For those who have never been to our venue, I encourage you to come check us out and witness all that we have to offer.”

Also joining the lineup is Departure: The Journey Tribute Band who will pay tribute to one of the greatest bands of all time on Friday, September 27. The group has been together for over sixteen years and is considered the most respected Journey tribute band in the nation.

John Floyd, a Rocky Mount native, will return to his hometown on Friday, October 11. Floyd is a comedian, speaker, and author. This particular show will be filled with clean, hilarious comedy. He has performed on the same stage with Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy winners such as Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx, and Dave Chappelle.

Friday, October 18 will feature the music of Cobain, Novoselia, and Grohl. A Nirvana Experience was formed in 2021 and performs the most accurate and captivating Nirvana live show since the real thing. They use vintage instruments and leave the audience satisfied, yet longing for more.

Larry and Joe come to The Dunn Center Friday, October 25 to present a little bluegrass, Latin grass, and folk music. There will be sounds of a harp, banjo, cuatro, fiddle, maracas, guitar, bass and whatever else the duo decides to bring along in the van. Joe Troop is a Grammy-nominated musician from North Carolina and Lairy Hails, from Venezuela, is a legend of Llanero music.

Friday, November 1 will be a night to remember as Damn Tall Buildings (DTB) will perform bluegrass with a little punch, attitude, grit and gravy. Assured is a love for the floor-stomping old-time music from the incredibly talented musicians.

The grand finale for the season will be The Prince Xperience on Friday, February 7, 2025. This group brings the most authentic production of Prince and Revolution in the world. Lead singer, Marshall Charloff, together with world-class performers, have entertained over 30,000 fans since the group formed fourteen years ago.

For more information on these season shows, as well as other cultural events and art shows, please visit All season shows are on Friday evenings beginning at 7:30 p.m.

About The Dunn Center
The Dunn Center is a premier venue for concerts, shows and conferences in eastern NC. Located on the campus of NC Wesleyan University, in the heart of Rocky Mount, The Dunn Center is proud to host the Wesleyan Season Series of cultural events and concerts. In addition to these world-class performances, The Dunn Center features a variety of campus and community events, including Wesleyan Players productions, concerts of the Tar River Swing Band and Orchestra and other various performances by nationally known artists. The Mims and Gravely Galleries, located within The Dunn Center, hosts a variety of exhibits, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture. The galleries are open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., as well as during performances. To learn more, visit and follow on Facebook.

NC Wesleyan University Sends Off Class of 2024

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – On Saturday, May 4, North Carolina Wesleyan University held its annual commencement ceremony at the Rocky Mount Event Center. The University celebrated 300 graduates, marking its 84th graduation.

The event was open to graduates, faculty, the platform party and guests of graduates where over 2,000 were in attendance. University Chaplain, Rev. Edwin Ferguson, gave the invocation, followed by a performance of the Star-Spangled Banner by alumna, Ms. Latisha Scott ’06.

President Dr. Evan D. Duff welcomed the crowd to the momentous occasion and congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments noting, “Your degree is provided by an institution which seeks not only to dispense knowledge and develop the habits for lifelong learning, but also expects its graduates to be responsible citizens, contributors to the common good and individuals who care about others. As we celebrate together, we acknowledge the obligations all of us have to help bring about a better world.”

Keynote Address

The commencement address was given by Dr. Kara Renai King, Vice President and Site Lead for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals – Rocky Mount facility. Dr. King delivers value to organizations through her servant leadership style complimented by her strong foundation in science, strategic mindset, and the ability to create an environment that fosters joy, creativity and innovation. Hallmarks of her leadership are building high performing teams, elevating leadership capability, and delivering results.

black female executive
Keynote speaker for 2024 Commencement was Dr. Kara Renai King, Vice President and Site Lead for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals

Dr. King sits on the board of Eastern University and the International Leadership Association (ILA). She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hampton University, a master’s degree in Cell Biology & Biotechnology from University of the Sciences, and a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Eastern University.

Dr. King addressed the graduates stating, “You, the class of 2024, have shown remarkable adaptability and perseverance in completing your studies amid these unprecedented challenges. You have demonstrated that you are not only ready for the future, but that you are also capable of shaping it. You have proven that you are not only scholars, but also leaders, activists, innovators, and changemakers. You have earned the right to celebrate your achievements today.”

She went on to offer the Class of 2024 two things to keep in mind “Life is about continually discovering and developing yourself. To reach your own version of greatness, you will need deliberate attention, deliberate actions and a deliberate attitude. So, activate your GRIT.” GRIT being an acronym for Greatness Requires Intentional Transformation. She also encouraged them to “overcome your inner war.”

Dr. King ended with “There’s no need to look to your left or to your right nor in front or behind you—instead, everything you need to activate your GRIT is already inside you.”

After Dr. King’s inspiring speech, Mark Hinson inducted the Class of 1974 into the Golden Bishops Circle. The Golden Bishops Circle, affectionately known as GBC, was started in 2021 by the Office of Advancement in collaboration with University leadership as a way to honor graduates that have reached their 50th year as Bishop alumni. In creating the GBC, Wesleyan aims to keep the history of Wesleyan and the educational journey alive … to celebrate its past, honor its present, and inspire the future.

Student and Faculty Awards

Dr. Patricia Brewer, Professor of Education and Coordinator of Special Education, 2024 Exemplary Teacher Award recipient

Dr. Patricia Brewer, Professor of Education and Coordinator of Special Education, was presented with the 2024 Exemplary Teacher Award. This award recognizes excellence in teaching and promotion of student learning, civility and concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education, service to students beyond the classroom and service to the larger community beyond campus.

Candela M. Diaz Babilani, Algernon Sydney Sullivan award recipient

Candela M. Diaz Babilani received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, which honors a senior 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 to others or served others in some way. 

Ms. Babilani is a Political Science graduate from Argentina who has distinguished herself on the Wesleyan campus and in the community by her leadership of the Worldwide Welcome Team for international students at North Carolina Wesleyan and by coordinating a number of Optimist International events on campus including a clothing drive to support families in crisis and efforts to provide supplies for the campus food bank.  She plans to work for a year before entering graduate school. 

Alexis May Reinert, President’s Cup Award recipient

The President’s Cup Award was presented to Alexis May Reinert, a senior who best exhibits those characteristics considered most desirable in a graduate.  Of particular importance is the attainment of the highest standards of academic performance as demonstrated by the overall grade point average at North Carolina Wesleyan University. The recipient is also chosen by the Honors Awards Committee.

Ms. Reinert is from Orrtanna Pennsylvania.  She graduated in December with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science, and she earned the highest overall grade point average in the senior class while playing many roles on campus as a tutor, a leader in the Taylor-Crocker Honors Program, and a member of the women’s soccer team. 


Dr. Kara King was awarded a Doctor of Science Honorary Degree from NC Wesleyan University. This was presented to her from the graduating Pfizer interns, was recommended by the Honorary Degree Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees. In addition, NC Wesleyan’s ROTC program commissioned five graduates into the United States Army. These students took the oath of office from Major William Burgdorf. The newly commissioned Second Lieutenants include: Robert Augburn, Comaggio Brady, Cullen Davis, Joshua Denton, and Morgan Waters commissioned into the U.S. Army.

The event was live-streamed and recorded so family and friends who were not able to attend in person could celebrate with their students virtually. The recording can be viewed at and the University’s Facebook page.

NC Wesleyan Commencement 2024

NCWU Recognizes Outstanding Employees at 2024 Awards Ceremony

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University recently held its 2024 Annual Employee Awards and Recognition Ceremony on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. The University’s Employee Awards ceremony provides recognition to coaches, faculty and staff for their years of service to the University and for exemplary service to the campus and community.

Wesleyan Service Awards

Recipients of the Wesleyan Service Award were Kimla Brandt, Carl Lewis, Margaret Love, Doreen Thierauf and Jay Quinan. These employees demonstrated outstanding service to the campus and/or community that was above and beyond their job responsibilities.

Kimla Brandt worked with Ascent Studios and their production of the locally filmed movie “RENNER.” She went above and beyond her job responsibilities to make sure the needs of their production crew and cast were taken care of during their stay at Wesleyan.

Dr. Carl Lewis donated a new bee hive to campus and went through the steps to become an affiliate university for Bee Campus USA. Through his efforts, NCWU is only 1 of 8 universities with this distinction in NC and only 1 of 170 in the nation.

Dr. Margaret Love, Dr. Doreen Thierauf and Dr. Jay Quinan are employees that donate much of their time practicing and performing with the Wesleyan Singers. The Wesleyan Singers not only perform at campus events, but they also perform in the community and have gone above and beyond their job functions.

Jefferson-Pilot Professorship Award

This year’s Jefferson-Pilot Professorship Award winner was Dr. Shannon Crowley who presented her Lecture on April 25th. Regarded as one of the highest honors and form of recognition a faculty member may receive, this award is designed for the faculty members scholarly contributions to their students, the campus, and their professional field of study. Nominations are made by Faculty Council and a grant is made available to the recipient for professional development.

Distinguished Staff Award

The Distinguished Staff Award was presented to Taylor Stone, Director of Student Success Services. This award is designed to honor those staff members who have exhibited outstanding work performance and/or service and dedication to the University or the community. Examples include, but are not limited to, outstanding program development, positive attitude in relationships with faculty, staff and students, noteworthy achievement or exemplary leadership on the campus or in the community.

Justin Clark was presented with the Inspirational Award honoring an employee who exemplifies a positive attitude and demeanor that is inspirational to students, faculty, staff, and the greater campus community. This person makes an extraordinary effort to support others whose efforts improve morale and positively impacts students, faculty, and staff as well as demonstrate the University’s core values.

Chuck Taylor Leadership Award

The Chuck Taylor Leadership Award was given to Mike Armbruster, Assistant Athletic Director, Internal Operations. This award is presented to employees who demonstrate and live the following: Principles of servant leadership; Building community by promoting a work environment that is respectful, collegial and supportive; Orienting goals and achievements in line with the University’s mission; Exhibiting strong stewardship of institutional resources (time, talent, financial); Developing a shared vision of institutional excellence; fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and creativity, which contributes to the efficiency and effectiveness of productivity. This individual is also an effective leader of people.

Longevity Awards were also given to various full-time and part-time employees for their years of service.  Recognition was awarded in 5-year, 10-year, 15-year, etc. increments of service to the University for the contractual or fiscal year.

Also, our very own Coach John Brackett received a framed jersey in honor of his 800th win at Wesleyan. Coach John Brackett’s journey has come full circle, as an alumnus of Wesleyan. With his unparalleled dedication, remarkable achievements and lasting impact on the softball program, his 800th career win stands as a testament to his unwavering commitment, exceptional leadership and the lasting legacy he has created within the University.

Congratulations to all employees who were honored and we thank each employee for your dedication and commitment to NC Wesleyan University! For more information regarding Faculty and Staff Awards or to nominate an employee, visit

View the event photo gallery.

New Scholarship Opportunities Announced

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University (NCWU) has announced three new scholarships that will accept applications starting Fall 2024. Each scholarship was generously offered in memory of a loved one and aligns with Wesleyan’s beliefs of being personal, practical, and purpose-driven.

Charles Randall Ranke pictured wiith his son Stephen Ranke, NCWU Infrastructure & Systems Administrator

The Charles Randall Ranke Scholarship is an annual scholarship established by Stephen Ranke (Infrastructure and Systems Administrator with NCWU), in memory of his father, Charles Randall Ranke. Charles Randall Ranke was a proud veteran of the U.S. Navy, and an Eagle Scout with the B.S.A. The scholarship will be available to any student with preference given to an Eagle or Gold Scout with the next consideration being any Veteran student. The student must be of good character, remain in good standing with the University, maintain an overall 2.5 GPA and have a financial need. In the event no student meets the aforementioned preference, it will be awarded to a worthy student according to the Universities’ general financial aid criteria. This will become available Fall 2025.

Keiya Fields McKoy and Denikee Fields Davis complete forms in honor of their mother Gail Fields

Gail B. Fields Annual Scholarship is established by Keiya Fields McKoy and Denikee Fields Davis (Student Affairs Administrative Assistant for Wesleyan) in memory of their mother. Gail Fields was not only Wesleyan’s loyal and dedicated receptionist, but friend and family. The scholarship is open to students majoring in Religious Studies to fund research, tuition, and educational expenses in furtherance of their degree. The recipient should be a sophomore, junior, or senior with a GPA of 2.5 or greater. Student selection will be determined by the Financial Aid Office and the Religious Studies Department.

Judith Vilagos Parsons ‘75 and Dr. Evan D. Duff, President

Howard Parsons Biomedical Endowed Scholarship is established by Judith Vilagos Parsons ‘75 in memory of her husband, Howard T. Parsons ‘74. Judith Parsons established an annual scholarship in 2022 that honored her late husband, but she wanted a scholarship that would remain even after her memory. Mrs. Parsons shares, “The quest for knowledge is a lifelong pursuit and for Howard and me, Wesleyan was pivotal in shaping not only our lives and careers, but also our understanding of how we can best serve others. Our hope is that this gift will assist students in their own journeys, and allow the same wonderful experience of learning Wesleyan provided us.” Primary consideration will be given to Biomedical Science students or other areas of science to fund research, tuition, and educational expenses in furtherance of their degree. Scholarship recipients will be selected by the Biomedical Science faculty, with preference given to those who would most benefit academically and financially. Recipients must be a U.S. citizen of good character, remain in good standing with the University, maintain a minimum of 3.0 GPA in the sciences and 2.5 overall GPA.

For more information about Wesleyan’s scholarship opportunities, please visit or information about donating for a cause you are passionate about, visit

Dr. Janice B. Howroyd Named as NCC Commencement Speaker

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – Dr. Janice Bryant Howroyd, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The ActOne Group and a native of Tarboro, will give the keynote address during Commencement at Nash Community College on Friday, May 10. To learn more about NCC’s Commencement, visit

Howroyd is a wonderful partner for both NCWU and NCC. She joined NCWU’s Boards of Trustees in 2020 and also established The Janice Bryant Howroyd Endowment that allows eligible students an annual scholarship opportunity. NCWU also established a partnership with Howroyd’s company The ActOne Group to provide extensive career development services for current students and alumni.

Through a partnership with NCWU’s Adult and Professional Studies Program, students who graduate from NCC have automatic acceptance and can take advantage of our transfer friendly policies, competitive transfer scholarships and tuition breaks, as well as the 2+ Wesleyan Grant Program.

Janice Howroyd

The ActOne Group is a multi-billion-dollar, award-winning, international talent and talent technology enterprise with multiple divisions that serve all areas of employment. Founded by Howroyd in 1978, it now operates in over 35 countries and offers staffing services via Apple One, A-Check Global and AgileOne, among other platforms. The organization also aggregates some of the world’s best technologies and systems that support worldwide staffing and HR needs.  

Her leadership style stems from her experience in a segregated educational system during her youth. Her leadership style is framed on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion values, while providing transparency and accountability for her organizational and philanthropic culture.

Howroyd is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including Black Enterprise’s coveted 2022 Woman of the Year award. She was the first-ever BET Honors Entrepreneur of the Year. She has been a presidential appointee to several committees, including Barack Obama’s Presidential Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, an appointment to the Federal Communications Commission’s Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (ACDDE), and continues to serve on the ITAC 10 (International Trade Advisory Committee – Professional Services). She is the newly elected Chair of the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University and supports inclusive programs for women and minorities as the first African American to gift $10 million to the University of Southern California, as well as millions to other institutions that include her Alma mater, the nation’s largest HBCU, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Howroyd uses her presence as an innovator and as a connector for humanity, saying, “Never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally!”

NCWU Becomes First Institution to Host “Science of Reading” Observation with NCICU

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University’s (NCWU) Teacher Education Program was visited by three representatives of the North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities (NCICU). The visit was an effort to review how the Science of Reading was being implemented into NCWU’s nationally and state-accredited Teacher Education program, where instructors teach pre-service teachers the science and art of how to teach Reading in the elementary school setting.  The Science of Reading is a research-based methodology regarding the best practices to teach K-6 students how to read and comprehend. Dr. Lois M. Hart, Associate Professor of Education, explains “NCWU’s Teacher Education Program has restructured their reading classes to align with the Science of Reading research. Elementary education pre-service teachers are provided with teaching strategies and experiences that have been proven by research to result in producing readers who are able to read fluently and comprehend at high levels.”

dr kelvin spragley and

Dr. Kelvin Spragley, Director of Teacher Education and Diversity and Inclusion Liaison, along with education faculty, arranged a breakfast, campus tour, and mock pre-service teaching demonstrations for the visit, making NCWU the first institution to host an observation visit with NCICU. Students and education faculty had the unique opportunity of paneling with the NCICU visitors and discussed all of the changes in the Reading curriculum. This followed observations of both EDU 210: Introduction to Foundations of Reading, and EDU 312: Teaching K-2 Literacy.

NCWU’s Teacher Education Program takes pride in knowing that learning to teach Reading starts in their classroom courses, and then it is the pre-service teacher’s responsibility to spread these practices, to the best of their ability, in the K-6 classrooms. Dr. Hart says “Children’s potential to become successful in school begins with learning to read and comprehend at high levels. Teachers’ abilities to effectively deliver strong reading instruction begins with ensuring all teacher preparation programs implement scientifically based reading instruction to pre-service teachers.”

college students teaching in class setting
college students teaching in class setting

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:

Bob Ross Bringing Back the Joy to NCWU

ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA – North Carolina Wesleyan University President, Dr. Evan D. Duff, along with Art Curator, Jan Sullivan Volz, and President of Bob Ross Inc., Joan Kowalski, announced that more of Bob Ross’ famous original paintings are set to adorn the walls of The Mims Gallery at The Dunn Center this upcoming holiday season. 

Bob Ross Bringing Back the JOY will be on display in the Mims Gallery of The Dunn Center, located on the beautiful NC Wesleyan University campus from Monday, December 2, 2024 through Monday, January 13, 2025. The 2024 exhibition will entail 76 different paintings than the previous ones on display at NCWU, including special pieces aside from those featured on his PBS show, The Joy of Painting. This will be the second Bob Ross exhibit in North Carolina, but still the largest exhibition ever seen under one roof globally.

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.

During the holiday season of 2023, there were 76 of Ross’ paintings on display from November 1, 2023 through January 4, 2024.  The exhibit was viewed by over 11,000 visitors that traveled from all over the country, and beyond, to see the magnificent work. “We are honored and thrilled that we will have this opportunity to share Mr. Ross’ work again with so many of his fans during the holiday season… this is truly a gift to those that cherish the memory of a great artist and humanitarian,” said Ms. Volz.

The exhibit will open to the public on Monday, December 2, 2024 and run through Monday, January 13, 2025.   Advance Tickets will go on sale Thursday, July 4th for $15 per person.  Free admission for children under five. For more information about the artwork, contact Jan VolzGallery Art Curator at 252.985.5268 or and sign up for the email list at