“Across the hills of old Virginia” is the beginning of the Emory & Henry alma mater….I still remember rolling down I-81 with a jubilant joy grounded in a love for Southwest Virginia almost seven years ago. I’m now filled with an “eager longing” for those “sweet mem’ries there entwine” as I pack up our house and prepare for a move across the Blue Ridge mountains. Being a member of this community has been a great honor for all of our family. This place has embraced us like no other and as such, has become a sacred community for us.
I have been fortunate to see so many students develop and grow in their time at Emory & Henry College. Being able to see them enter at Orientation and then watch them cross the stage at graduation is a special memory for me. So many faces of great people who are now out there making an impact on this world. I have noted that the students who really flourish here have to—in some way—immerse themselves in this community. It is almost like a release of an identity to a trusted institution with the faith that the institution will mold and shape you in a positive and value-driven way. Having witnessed this process happen over and over again, I believe that immersion in the Emory & Henry experience is a special part of what creates such a dedicated alumni who love this place so sincerely.
Part of that immersion for many students is through student groups like the Resident Advisors, Greek Life, Orientation Leaders, Spiritual Life, Athletic teams, and the Outdoor program (to name just a few). Each of these groups make a great difference on this campus. I have worked most closely with the RA staff and the Greek students over my time and seeing each group improve and grow in talent and number has been a highlight of my tenure at E&H. Thank you so much to the students for trusting in me and in our Student Life staff, you are what makes our jobs special!
The Student Life staff team at Emory & Henry is a special group of talented and dedicated professionals. I have loved every day that I have been able to work with these great individuals. To a person, they are uniquely focused on student success and are willing to go the extra mile to help students grow and support E&H however they can. I will miss our fun times together whether on an intramural team, at late-night breakfast, or working with the Angel Tree. The E&H community should celebrate their good work and appreciate the compassion, dedication, and talent necessary to wear all the hats required of our work.
My position has also afforded me the opportunity to work closely with all corners of this campus. In a recent slow drive around campus, I noted that there isn’t one part of this place that I don’t have a great memory from. Yes, many of them come from pledge weeks, but a lot also involved times with Coaches, Admissions staff, Faculty, Staff and others. Working together to find new ways to make Emory & Henry College a more compassionate community and a principled institution of learning has been a real treat. You can see it every day and our stats back it up. We have some of the best faculty-student engagement in the country and I don’t think it stops with our faculty. The faculty are fantastic, but I see that same commitment in the locker rooms, residence halls, and meeting rooms every week. Honestly, it got to the point for me in the last couple of years that if I wanted to get across campus quickly, I had to avoid the main path. There was simply too many people to talk with if I walked on the main brick path! That type of connections is what makes this place special.
Thank you for touching my soul. Thank you for being the kind of generous and caring community that made it possible for us to adopt two young boys from Ghana and know, without question, that they would be loved here. Thank you for embracing the best teacher I know, my wife Krista, and letting her use her special gifts to inspire and educate. Thank you for loving all of our family and for accepting us for who we are. I leave this place with an unbelievable sense of pride, a deep feeling of humility, and an undying loyalty to the community here at Emory & Henry College.
So Hail Em’ry! Hail Em’ry! Hail to old E…H…C!!!!
former Associate Dean of Students at Emory & Henry College