From the President

President Reveley gets to know students in the class he teaches each fall on the American Presidency.
President Reveley gets to know students in the class he teaches each fall on the American Presidency.

Recently, I attended the memorial service for Martha LeStourgeon ’46, someone whose tenure at Longwood predated my own, but who was among the many great faculty and staff who made long careers here, impacting generations of students. Martha provided an extraordinary link spanning Longwood history, graduating in the last year of the presidency of Joseph Jarman, who had taken office in 1902. She worked in the library from 1948 until her retirement in 1991, serving 19 years as director. Martha was committed to the importance of access to library resources, and to her colleagues and Longwood students.

One of the most important things that happens at a place like Longwood is a mixing of the generations. The combination of acquired wisdom from faculty and staff who build careers here, and the youthful energy of those who follow, is powerful, with benefits flowing to all involved. For many of you, as for me, great mentoring has been hugely consequential in life and work. It happens every day in every corner of Longwood’s campus. In a way, mentoring is a microcosm of the full Longwood experience, which is why we’ve devoted this issue of the magazine to the subject, and to sharing some stories that illustrate mentoring’s life-changing power.

In this age of fracturing institutions, there are fewer such opportunities for this generational mixing—and for genuine, in-person mentoring relationships. Residential campuses like Longwood matter more and more in this regard. Our role is to assemble the ingredients for mentoring relationships and encourage their formation. The tools we use include small classes, support for research experiences, and making sure we hire faculty and staff who are eager to teach and mentor. The result is lives transformed down through the generations, as Longwood mentees grow into mentors someday themselves.

By far the most important ingredient is people. About 85 percent of what Longwood spends money on is people—faculty, staff and coaches, for whom mentoring is at the heart of the job. And, of course, we have to invest in students, too, to make sure they are able to come here and reap the benefits of mentoring. That is why fundraising for scholarships is our top philanthropic priority.

All of which is to say, when you support Longwood, you are supporting people. You are making possible the relationships like those described in this magazine. You are transforming lives, now and into the far future.

My best wishes,

Taylor Sig Transparent

W. Taylor Reveley IV