Three new faces joined Longwood University’s Board of Visitors this fall, though their first official appearance at Convocation was familiar to them all.
New members Dr. Judi Lynch ’87 and Ron White had previously served a term on Longwood’s governing body and as Board officers, while Kristie Proctor ’04 remembered her own capping just 18 years ago. Each brings a distinct set of experiences to the Board and hopes to help spur growth in different areas.
For Judi Lynch ’87, Longwood roots run deep. As a student, she was a member of Alpha Delta Pi, active in student government, an Oktoberfest usher, and Green and White spirit leader.
“Longwood is home,” said Lynch. “It’s such an important part of who I am. The school molded me into a citizen leader, and I feel that continuity in what it’s doing now for current students.”
In 2010, she was first appointed to the Longwood Board of Visitors by Gov. Bob McDonnell and served as vice rector for two years. During that term, she also served on the governor’s School and Campus Safety Taskforce. She was appointed to a new 4-year term by Gov. Glenn Youngkin starting this past July.
“Being on the Board is one of the most amazing privileges of my life,” she said. “As an alumna, it’s extra special because I’m able to return to some wonderful developments that continue to make this place very special. One of the things I noticed at my first meeting back—and this speaks volumes for Longwood, Rector Mike Evans, President Reveley, and the other members—is that we new members just fit right in with everything that was going on and were able to share in the enthusiasm and excitement for this university. It’s a wonderful thing to share in that vision.”
Lynch’s career started in the Longwood admissions office before she earned a master’s degree in education and a Ph.D. in higher education administration, both from Virginia Tech. She is a longtime public servant who has worked in leadership roles on the staffs of members of both the House of Delegates and Senate, and is currently Chief of Staff to Del. Jason Ballard. She is the president and founder of LynchPin Connections, and previously served as principal of Saint Gertrude High School in Richmond.
Kristie Helmick Proctor ’04 is also coming back home to her alma mater as the newest member of the Board of Visitors.
“When I was on campus for my first Board meeting, I had an overwhelming sense of optimism and excitement for the future,” she said. “The feeling was nearly identical to how I felt when I waved goodbye to my parents from my dorm window in French Hall at the start of my freshman year. It feels surreal that as a first-generation college student I now have the privilege of serving the university on the Board of Visitors.”
That perspective as the first person in her family to graduate college along with growing up and working at her late father’s small business has informed her perspective and makes Proctor’s an important voice on the Board.
“I hope to play a role in continuing to build on the successes Longwood has seen, with a particular focus on growing the number of first-generation students,” she said. “Additionally, as the daughter of a small business owner and working with my father, I strongly believe there is tremendous value in Longwood’s ability to create entrepreneurs. I hope to play a part in supporting the University’s efforts to build the business owners of the future.”
Proctor is the Executive Director at "The Virginia Rural Center” an organization created by the Virginia General Assembly that works with policymakers and community leaders to promote economic prosperity throughout rural Virginia. She previously worked at the National Federation of Independent Businesses and in public affairs at Transurban and AAA Mid-Atlantic.
In addition to her sociology degree from Longwood, Proctor holds a master’s in government from Regent University and is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership.
Ron White has spent a career as a citizen leader, serving more than two decades in the U.S. Army followed by a senior staff position for U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes and now as an executive at Southside Electric Cooperative. Like Lynch, he was first appointed to the Board in 2010 by Gov. Bob McDonnell, serving eventually as Board secretary, and appointed to a new term this year.
“When I stepped on campus the first time and immersed myself in Longwood, I immediately understood that it is not just a place of academia but a way of life,” said White. “Whether I’m interacting with students or talking with faculty or having a conversation with staff, there is a unified sense of belonging, there is a passion that is palatable. It’s not just something that’s superficial—it’s real.”
In his first term on the Board of Visitors, White served along with Lynch on the search committee that recommended Reveley as the university’s 26th president, ahead of the entire Board’s unanimous choice. He said there is always progress to be made, and the Board’s role is to utilize their diverse experiences to do what’s best for students, faculty, and the institution.
“There’s a different mindset at the heart of Longwood,” he said. “It’s a sense of responsibly to make the places where you live and work a better place. When you get that diploma, it’s not an end. It’s a beginning. That diploma is a passport to go out in the world and make a difference. It’s so much more than just an education.”
White has also served on the boards of the Robert Russa Moton Museum, John Tyler Community College, and the Richmond African American Scholarship Fund.