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2008 News Releases

Holmes named director of Call Me MISTER

December 1, 2008

Dr. W. Neal Holmes

Dr. W. Neal Holmes has been appointed director of the Call Me MISTER program at Longwood University. Now in its second year at Longwood, Call Me MISTER is a scholarship program designed to identify, recruit, prepare, and certify African-American males as elementary/middle teachers in Virginia’s public schools.  The program originated in 1999 in South Carolina as a partnership between Clemson University and several colleges that have historically served African-Americans.

"Dr. Holmes is a welcome asset to the Call Me MISTER program at Longwood," said Dr. Deneese Jones, dean of the College of Education and Human Services, which coordinates Call Me MISTER in collaboration with the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences. "Dr. Holmes’ experience as a university professor in political science and African-American history will bring a new dimension to the Call Me MISTER program as it moves forward with recruitment and leadership development. Longwood is fortunate to have the caliber of expertise that he possesses to work with this initiative."

Dr. Holmes previously taught political science and African-American history at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania where he also served as interim dean for the School of Arts and Sciences. At the University of Akron he was director of the Afro-American Studies Program.

He served on the advisory board of the National African-American Leadership Conference from 1998-2001 and on the Nationwide Peace Education Executive Committee of the American Friends Service from 1996-2002. He is past president of the Liberian Studies Association and a member of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists and the National Council of Black Studies. In 1999 he was recognized as Educator of the Year by the Beta Gamma (Cheyney) chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. He earned his Ph.D. and M.C.P. from the University of Cincinnati and a B.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 2007 the Jessie Ball duPont Fund awarded a $140,000 grant to Longwood to support Call Me MISTER. The students enrolled in the program, called MISTERs, work toward a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies (elementary, middle education) or K-12 physical education. Key tenets of the Call Me MISTER program include a summer internship experience to induct new recruits from high school and community college, tuition and academic assistance to young men enrolled in elementary education certification programs, and a social and cultural peer support system.

Partnership institutions include St. Paul’s College, Southside Virginia Community College and Prince Edward, Buckingham, and Cumberland County Public Schools, which promote the program to interested and qualified students. Participation in the Call Me MISTER program is open to anybody, regardless of race or gender, if they are capable of meeting the program’s objectives. The name of the program refers to "They call me Mister Tibbs," Sidney Poitier’s famous line from the 1967 movie In the Heat of the Night.