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From the Editor

Dennis Sercombe Editor
All good things must come to an end. And so it is with the administration of Dr. Patricia P. Cormier, the 24th president of Longwood University. By this time next year, Longwood will have a new president. And she or he will have a tough act to follow.

As you may know by now, Dr. Cormier will be retiring at the end of this academic year. Although she will continue to be involved with our comprehensive campaign and other projects, it will not be the same campus without her. 

Not too long ago, I asked Dr. Cormier to reflect upon her presidency – what is she most proud of looking back on her 14 years at the helm. As you might suspect, she basically blew me off. Dr. Cormier is not the kind to toot her own horn, but I will be glad to do that for her. What is PR for, after all?

At one of her first town/gown meetings in 1996, one of the town leaders asked, "How do we pronounce your name?" She replied, "Just call me ‘Patty.’" That friendly approach set the tone for a presidency that would be founded upon connections – with the town, with faculty and staff, with our legislative leaders in Richmond, and, most important – with our students. 

I have worked with Dr. Cormier ever since she began her presidency in 1996. In fact, we both started during that fall semester. Over the years, I have seen her make her mark on this university in so many ways. From campus improvements to academic programming, from crisis management to executive leadership, she has built a lasting legacy.

Of course, some achievements stand above the rest: the way she rallied the campus and rebuilt our beloved Ruffner and Grainger halls after the Great Fire of 2001; her transformation and beautification of this campus from Brock Commons to new facilities like the Chichester Science Center, the Health and Fitness Center, and the new Center for Communication Studies and Theatre; her recognition that, in order to be a real player, Longwood had to move from college to university status along with the eventual and necessary move to NCAA Division I. But wait, there’s more—new and renovated residence halls, athletic facilities, improved and consistent high rankings in U.S.News & World Report, the successful completion of Longwood’s first comprehensive campaign, and our first fully integrated marketing plan.

When she looks back on these 14 years, I think she will be proudest of the establishment of the Cormier Honors College for Citizen Scholars – an idea that combines Longwood’s mission with her vision. So, it is both fitting and proper that our cover story feature both Dr. Cormier and First Gent Raymond Cormier along with some of those Cormier scholars. Bricks and mortar may fade in time, but the legacy of the Cormiers through the Cormier Honors College will live on for generations to come. 

As this 17th issue of Longwood Magazine goes to press (another Cormier initiative), we focus on the Cormier Honors College and another idea that is dear to her heart – sustainability. In this issue you will read about how Longwood has implemented an aggressive and innovative sustainability program. You will learn how students are studying sustainability at Hull Springs Farm with a story penned by one of Dr. Jim Jordan’s students, Katherine York – plus an update on new initiatives and improvements at Hull Springs Farm from Bobbie Burton, executive director.

Between the covers you will also find a story about Longwood’s comprehensive Master Plan that will take Longwood into the year 2020 with a very clear vision of a promising future. There is a story about our new nursing program, along with news articles, sports stories and alumni profiles.

Finally, there is a story about the presidential transition process and how we plan to select a new president who can meet the challenge of continuing the momentum of the Cormier years. As former Longwood Rector Marge Connelly said recently, "With Dr. Cormier’s vision, leadership, and persistent drive for excellence, it will be a daunting task to identify Longwood University’s next president. But the Board is confident that the search process, through diligent and collaborative work, will be successful in its effort to select a president who shares the values, mission, and vision of Longwood University."

Yes, it will be hard to say goodbye to President Cormier.
So, I’ll just say, "See you later, ‘Patty.’"