Emory & Henry cultivates a pervasive spirit of generosity, and those touched by it act on behalf of others without thought of reward or recognition, according to Delilah White, a 2005 E&H graduate who has dedicated her life’s work to generous acts and nurturing the generosity she finds in others.
White serves as the founder and president of VETWorks Consulting, which helps military veterans find jobs and deal with other challenges in their lives. She also serves as the project and communications manager for the Center for Principled Problem Solving at Guilford College.
Founders Day Replay
In 2013, White demonstrated her own sense of generosity when she donated a kidney to a colleague, Belvie Morant, thus saving her life. The two women worked at the time at Danville Community College as career coaches and outreach specialists focused on providing education and career training access to under-represented and underserved populations throughout southern Virginia.
“The roles we played at the community college – helping people get an education to advance their careers – are vital for the economic development of our community, but few people performed these roles with the passion, care and success that Belvie has,” White said. “When she told me she was dying, I said, ‘No. You’re not going anywhere. The work you do is too important.”
Morant joined some 500 people gathered Thursday, March 26, in the sanctuary of Emory & Henry’s Memorial Chapel to listen to White as she encouraged others to perform continually important acts of generosity. Emory & Henry students, she said, acquire the habit of generosity “simply by living, learning and growing in a generous environment.”
To those students, White spoke of a need to recognize the many ways they are being supported to discover and act upon their generous natures. “Be present and be conscious, because there is magic happening here, and you are here in this environment for a reason,” she said.
Founders Day at Emory & Henry, which marks its 178th year of existence, is a time to recognize others who have been generous to their College and their communities through their service and success.
Two individuals were honored with Founder’s Day Service Citations: David L. Lester, chief financial officer for The Nicewonder Group, and B. Fielding Rolston, a retired executive with Eastman Chemical Company in Kingsport, Tenn.
Lester, a native of McDowell County, W. Va., has spent most of his career with The Nicewonder Group of Bristol, Va. Lester serves as chief financial officer, co-managing member or director for many of The Nicewonder Group’s assets. Lester served on the E&H Board of Trustees for eight years. He also has served on the Board of Directors for Wellmont Health System, a major regional provider of health care in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. He served on the Executive Committee and Finance Committee of the board and also served as its treasurer. For the past two years, Lester has chaired Wellmont’s Special Strategic Options Committee.
Rolston served as vice president of supply and distribution for Eastman Chemical Company before becoming the company’s vice president of customer service and materials management and then vice president for human resources, health, safety and environment. He retired as senior vice president for human resources and communications with more than 38 years of service at Eastman. He currently serves as chair of the Tennessee State Board of Education. Previously he has served as chair of the Wellmont Health System board, the Eastman Credit Union board and the United Way of Greater Kingsport. He is a member of the E&H Board of Trustees and has served its treasurer as well as the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee and the Budget and Audit Committee.
During Founders Day, the following individuals were honored as recipients of distinctive alumni awards:
Dr. Rebecca Buchanan, James A. Davis Faculty Award:
Buchanan is an assistant professor in Emory & Henry’s Health and Human Performance Department. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, where she attended on a full scholarship in track and field. She has a master’s degree in sports management and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In 1994, she served on the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. Dr. Buchanan was a member of the U.S. World Championship Track and Field Team in 1997 in Athens, Greece, and finalist for the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia, and was an NCAA All-American from 1988-1992 while at UNC. She is a coach for Glade Spring Little League, a member of the Busy Little Bees Child Development Center board, a judge for the McGlothlin Excellence in Teaching Awards, a member of the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, and a deacon at Glade Spring Presbyterian Church.
Eric W. McClure, A.L. Mitchell Young Alumnus of the Year Award:
McClure graduated from Emory & Henry in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications. Immediately after graduation, he accepted a position at Morgan-McClure Motorsports, a company founded by his family in 1983, and bought his first race car. In 2003, he made his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Rockingham. In 2004 McClure competed in his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race, driving a second entry for Morgan-McClure Motorsports, where he qualified at 35th, led a lap, and finished in the 26th position. In 2006, Mr. McClure secured Hefty® brand as a sponsorship partner and began a full-time presence in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2011, he added Reynolds Wrap® as a sponsorship partner. In 2014 he finished 19th in driver standings and completed his ninth consecutive season in the #24 Hefty ®/Reynolds Wrap® car, making his the longest active streak in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
R. Dean Newman, Fred Selfe Distinctive Service to Emory & Henry Award:
Newman graduated from Emory & Henry in 1962 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. He has served on the Emory & Henry Alumni Association Board of Directors as a representative for the 1960s decade. He is currently the owner/operator of Newman Sales, a dealer network for several major heating and barbecue manufacturers in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and Penn-sylvania, and he owns several patents for heating products. He and his wife, Judy, live in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and have two children, including Paige who is a 1991 Emory & Henry graduate.
Dr. James B. McNeer, Distinguished Achievement Award:
McNeer graduated from Emory & Henry in 1961 with a double-major in history and political science, and while a student he served as student body president and co-captain of the basketball team. He received a master’s degree in history from West Virginia University, and an administrative degree and doctor of education degree at the College of William and Mary. He served as president of Richard Bland College of William and Mary, Petersburg, Virginia, for 16 years. He was mayor of Colonial Heights, Virginia, for 12 years, and also served as chair of the city’s school board and library board. He was previously named the city’s Outstanding Young Man, and was once voted the city’s hero by Lakeview Elementary School. He was recently named a lifetime member of the Colonial Heights Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the Presidential Award for Leadership and Courage in the Cause for Human Rights by the Virginia State Unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He received the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service and the Gatlin Award from the Petersburg Chamber of Commerce for work done to save Fort Lee. He currently serves as a director for Virginia Commonwealth Bank and a trustee for Southside Regional Medical Center. He is married to Nancy Wilkinson McNeer, E&H Class of 1962.
Dr. W. Mark Handy, Carl and Ruth Looney Humanitarian Award:
Handy graduated from Emory & Henry in 1986 with a bachelor of science degree in biology, and graduated from East Carolina School of Medicine and the ETSU Family Residency Program. He is a family medicine practitioner in Abingdon, Virginia. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, the ISHN Board of Quality Assurance, is medical director of Hometown Hospice, and is medical director for Intrepid Home Health. He received the Board of Governors for East Carolina University School of Medicine Scholarship. He is president and CEO of Abingdon Medical Arts, president and CEO of Triple H Farms of Alleghany, president and CEO of William M. Handy, M.D., P.C., and associate professor of medicine at University of Virginia (UVA). He is a past winner of the Teacher of the Year Award at UVA, the Resident Teacher Award, and was named local Medical Director of the Year for Emergency Medical Services. He is an accomplished banjo player and champion clogger, and is a member of Mountain Park Old Time Band and Tune Town Band, which won Vocal Group of the Year at Blue Ridge Acoustic Uprising in 2014.