From the President

Greg Wolfrey and Betty Wolfrey ’71 recently moved to Farmville.
Greg Wolfrey and Betty Wolfrey ’71 recently moved to Farmville.

"This time you get to pick where we go since you’ve always followed me," Greg Wolfrey told his wife, Betty Gail Payne Wolfrey ’71, not long ago. Greg was the longtime County Administrator for Goochland, and Betty enjoyed an accomplished career as a teacher, elementary school principal and head of a private school in Richmond.

Now they were seeking the perfect retirement spot where they could keep busy and active, inhabiting a beautiful home in a tight-knit community. They searched all over Virginia and the South, and finally found it: Farmville.

“I really wanted a place where I could walk, where there was painting and culture for me, and sports for Greg,” Betty said recently in the dining room of their new home on High Street, a block from campus. Pomeranians Baby and Cocoa sat in her lap, and Lucy, a Brittany spaniel, hovered nearby. “I really felt like this had it all. We can walk downtown, go to sporting events. We’re auditing classes. The whole experience—we’ve just fallen in love with Farmville.”

I first met the Wolfreys at a basketball game in January, just days after they moved. Their excitement for their already packed schedule was contagious: basketball, baseball and softball games; the musical A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Forum in Jarman; the Taste of Farmville food festival and visits to the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts. As a student, Betty took a painting class with Professor Barbara Bishop ’60, then put art aside for more than 40 years. Now she’s reignited a passion for watercolors, which fill her new home.

I’m noticing more and more people—many but not all with Longwood ties— moving to Farmville to be part of this thriving two-college town. One person I see regularly at University Foundation Board meetings and other campus events is David Crute ’81, who, with his wife, Patricia ’80, recently moved from Chesapeake. David grew up in Farmville, and being closer to his son, Patrick ’10, daughter-in-law, Ashley ’10 (who works at Longwood), and their baby girl, Ragan, was part of the appeal. David still works but loves life here.

“Our social calendar is busier now than it’s ever been in our adult life,” David said. There’s just so much going on. Now with all the new restaurants going in, it’s just an exciting place to be.”

This trend says a lot about Longwood and Farmville. Charlottesville, Lexington and Williamsburg demonstrate the appeal for retirees of college towns, with their energy, events, beautiful architecture and interesting neighbors. The difference is those places have already been discovered. Farmville is just now catching on, with this spring’s opening of the high-end Weyanoke Hotel an important milestone.

“I feel like we’re getting in on the ground floor,” said Greg, who is already auditing classes on campus and indulging his love of American history. “This is heaven. This town hasn’t outgrown itself, and it really can be the ideal community.”

I hope the stories of Betty and Greg, the extended Crute family, and others discovering (or rediscovering) this great college town inspire you to visit. You might not want to leave. 

Taylor Sig Transparent

W. Taylor Reveley IV