Hello all ---

We are, amazingly, a month out from graduation and into the heart of summer, with much energy coursing through the Longwood universe. A season of fantastic Brock Experiences is wrapping up, while here on campus Girls State and summer research students are keeping us busy. Farmville is in full bloom, including last Saturday’s 10th annual Summer Garden Opera. It is a highlight of the year and this year’s performance was truly special --- with various Kinzers and Swansons among the many Longwood families playing essential roles in this wonderful tradition.

Last week the Board of Visitors held its annual June retreat, working through a range of business, including approval of the 2020 operating and capital budgets. As I always say, the seas across higher education are choppy. But thanks to the Commonwealth and the remarkable work of Louise Waller and her staff, we are in a position to make the kinds of investments that will continue our momentum, including more than $1 million each for merit-based salary increases and for Civitae, as well as increased student financial aid, even as we freeze tuition.

The Board also gave final approval to our new 2019-2025 strategic plan. This one-page document benefited greatly from the input so many of you provided. The end result is I believe a clear statement of the crucial work for what we aspire to be. It carries over essential priorities from the previous plan, but adds new ones that we must elevate to top-tier importance. Whatever your role at Longwood, I hope you will keep a copy handy, consulting it often both for perspective and as a practical roadmap in setting priorities for our work together.

The Board’s other important business was to elect its new slate of leaders for the 2019-20 year: Eric Hansen will be rector, Pia Trigiani vice rector, Mike Evans secretary, and Eileen Anderson ’83 will also serve on the executive committee.  Cookie Scott ’72, Longwood’s first African-American graduate, will officially join the Board on July 1 --- a wonderful addition to a committed and diverse group.

As Cookie prepares to join the Board, at last week’s meeting we also expressed our deep gratitude for the transformational service of Marianne Radcliff ’92, now completing her 8-year term on the Board, including twice serving as rector. Our renewed clarity of purpose about our liberal arts mission, the transformation of our standing in Richmond, and the tens of millions of millions of dollars in capital projects now in various stages on campus --- she has been instrumental in all of those endeavors. The new admissions building on High Street is among the campus projects that simply would not exist without her. In gratitude for all her service, the Board has decided this building will be formally named in her honor when it opens next fall. Few if any graduates in Longwood’s long history have more nobly and consequentially served the Alma Mater.

In challenging times, Longwood moves forward with clarity of purpose, our mission never more important. At the heart of what we do is the transformation of lives, and I am grateful to each and every one of you for your contributions to that profoundly important work. I hope over the rest of the summer you will find some time to recharge, and bring renewed energy and purpose into the coming year.

Many thanks,