In October 2023, Wayne Souza (Class of 1973) pledged a transformative gift to North Carolina Wesleyan University to advance the University’s nationally accredited program in Exercise Science. In 2021, the program moved into Wesleyan’s new Indoor Sports & Education Facility (ISEF) and recently has hired two new faculty members. The undergraduate degree in Exercise Science now accounts for NCWU’s second most popular major among traditional, incoming first-year students.
“I have a passion to give back to my alma mater. When presented this opportunity, it gave me a chance to not only give back and lend a hand, but to pull forward both NCWU students and boost an incredible program.” stated Wayne Souza in a recent interview.
This gift has allowed the University to launch a significant upgrade in equipment and facility. It also created the Wayne Souza Chair of Exercise Science. Dr. Meir Magal has been named the inaugural Souza Professor.
“I want to thank Mr. Souza for this very generous gift, I am honored to be named the Inaugural Souza Professor of Exercise Science! This charitable donation has allowed the Exercise Science Department to equip ISEF with cutting-edge resistance training equipment, enabling our students to gain invaluable experiential learning and research opportunities and engage in strength training with the University’s athletic teams.” expressed Dr. Magal.
Dr. Magal came to the United States from Israel to attend the University of Southern Mississippi where he played NCAA Division I Tennis and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Exercise Science, as well as a Ph.D. in Human Performance. In 2002, Dr. Magal joined the faculty of North Carolina Wesleyan. In his 22 years at Wesleyan, Dr. Magal has won multiple awards including the Exemplary Teacher Award and the Jefferson Pilot Professorship. In 2011, he was named a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
Dr. Magal has authored or co-authored more than 20 peer-reviewed articles as well as numerous book chapters. He served as an Associate Editor on the 10th edition of ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription and as Co-Editor of the 6th Edition of ACSM’s Fitness Assessment Manual. In addition, he also serves on the Editorial Board of ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal and ACSM’s open-access journal, Exercise, Sport, and Movement. He has been particularly active in mentoring research with undergraduate students, serving as Chair for more than fifteen senior honors projects and a co-author with undergraduate students on multiple papers and conference presentations.
He currently serves as Program Director and Professor of Exercise Science and as Chair of the School of Mathematics and Sciences.
Dr. Joe Lane, Provost of North Carolina Wesleyan, noted, “Dr. Magal represents the epitome of the engaged teacher, scholar and advisor whom we want to develop and highlight on the North Carolina Wesleyan faculty. We are proud to honor him as the inaugural Souza Chair, and we look forward to the incredible work that he and his colleagues will accomplish with our students in the years ahead.”
NC Senator Lisa Barnes and NC Representative Allen Chesser secured funding with the newly approved state budget for North Carolina Wesleyan University’s BSN Pre-Licensure program. On Monday evening, November 27, they visited the University’s campus to highlight this achievement with a $350,000 check presentation.
Senator Barnes endorsed the initiative, stating, “I fully support Wesleyan’s efforts to expand the BSN program, creating a pipeline for more nursing students to pursue their educational goals while providing well qualified healthcare staff to offset the shortages. It’s a win-win opportunity for our area.”
“Ensuring our community has access to high-quality healthcare workers will have positive impacts on the well-being of residents, as well as expanding access to quality local healthcare and creating local job opportunities,” said Representative Allen Chesser. “I am proud of the work Senator Barnes and I have been able to accomplish; to ensure valuable community partners such as NCWU so they can continue their great work for Nash County and our surrounding area.”
Both Representative Chesser and Senator Barnes are active in the districts they serve, which includes Nash County. They understand the positive impact a BSN Pre-Licensure will have on our community and they fully appreciate the significance North Carolina Wesleyan University has on our region.
NC Wesleyan currently offers a Post-Licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing through their online RN to BSN program, allowing a pathway for registered nurses with an associate degree to advance their professional role in the healthcare system. With this additional funding, the University will now be able to expand their offerings to include a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing (BSN) Pre-Licensure program. This will provide nursing students with the clinical skills necessary to deliver safe, evidence-based quality care, earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing and sit for the NCLEX exam.
“The nursing faculty and I are are extremely grateful for the monetary contribution that NC Senator Lisa Barnes and NC Representative Allen Chesser have secured for NCWU’s prelicensure nursing program, as well as their support for nursing in our community. As the healthcare system continues to evolve and become more complex, it is imperative that we provide educational opportunities for students in our community and surrounding areas to enter the nursing profession and provide high-quality care to the residents in the rural communities that we serve. We look forward to growing the nursing program at NCWU and offering the prelicensure BSN option to our students,” stated Dr. Crystal Ostheim.
President Duff also acknowledged, “Dr. Dan and Brenda Crocker have also pledged $100,000 to our BSN Licensure program. As a retired physician from our community, Dr. Crocker understands the value and importance of having qualified nurses in our healthcare system. We are extremely grateful for this donation and their unwavering support of NC Wesleyan.”
Those in attendance included: Dr. Joe Lane, NCWU Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dan Bell, NCWU Board Member; Roger G. Taylor ’70, NCWU Board Member; Terri Sharpe, NCWU Board Member; Paul A. Bauer ’86, Chairman of the NCWU Board of Trustees; Allen Chesser ’19, NC Representative; Cindy Edwards, NCWU Senior Executive of Operations; Lisa Barnes, NC Senator; Mark Hinson, NCWU Senior Executive of Philanthropic Engagement; Dr. Evan D. Duff, NCWU President; Suzanne Brackett ’87, NCWU Senior Vice President of Administration; Thomas Winstead, NCWU Board Member; and Dr. Daniel L. Crocker, NCWU Board Member.
North Carolina Wesleyan University is introducing a new unique, accelerated program designed for students wishing to elevate their associate degree to a master’s degree. Through this new pathway, students will have the opportunity to earn an Executive Leadership Certificate, Human Resources Management Certificate, bachelor’s degree and a Master’s in Strategic Leadership in approximately two and a half years.
This degree option was designed with working adults in mind by offering 100% online classes. Students can earn certificates as they go with a focus on two classes per term. The University also offers career assistance, supportive advisors and faculty, and special tuition pricing for North Carolina community college graduates*. Students admitted into the Associate to Master’s program must meet all undergraduate requirements, attain bachelor degree conferral and submit graduate admissions material before they begin the M.S. in Strategic Leadership program.
“NCWU remains on the cutting edge of programming to accelerate the educational attainment of working adults in our state. We have been a leader in alternative pathways for adults to complete their college degree for over 45 years,” stated Dr. Evan D. Duff. “This is a one-of-a-kind program in North Carolina that allows community college graduates to fast track their learning while attaining multiple credentials along the way.”
Upon completion of the Associate to Master’s program, students will be qualified to attain the following industry certifications: SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) Certification, HRCI’s Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) Certification and the Strategy Planning Professional (SPP) Certification.
If you already have an associate degree, this is a great opportunity to advance your education in less time in order to gain a competitive advantage in the workforce. Apply today to gain new skills and earn multiple degrees at a top-ranked university, taking the first step towards accelerating your career! Those who are interested can learn more at ncwu.edu/associate-to-masters.