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   Perhaps it was inevitable or some predictable physics formula that would dictate what Allen Dotson would do or become.  Born in Badin, NC, his father was a chemist;  his brother was a mathematician.

   And so he became an amalgamation of sorts—a physicist—having once considered biology and even the lure of astronomy (which he continues to dabble in). But eventually the enticement of quantum mechanics inspired him to look at physics and the rest of that narrative led him to a B.S. at Wake Forest (1960) and a Ph.D. at UNC (1964).  From 1964-1981, he taught at Western Michigan University.  Since 1981, St. Andrews has been his home and laboratory and this past semester, Dr. Dotson said goodbye to classes but likely not the last of being seen and welcomed on campus. 

   His academic and research career began at Western Michigan teaching physics, analytical and statistical mechanics and eventually chaired the physics department.  He likely would have stayed there, but family concerns brought him back to North Carolina and a job at St. Andrews.  He never left but for one somewhat strange semester.  At the conclusion of the fall 1994 semester, he was informed that he didn’t have a job any longer—and at the time he was the chemistry and physics chair.

  The end of 1994 saw a college-wide restructuring of faculty and staff positions that might have meant the loss of his position.  During the spring of 1995, without much planning and with no certainty of a position for the future, Dr. Dotson went to Ecuador and taught English as part of an on-going exchange program St. Andrews had established with the University of Cuenca.  

   Upon his return, Dr. Dotson agreed to devote more time to teaching mathematics.  Not only was his position retained, but Dr. Dotson was appointed chair of both physics and mathematics.  In the years that followed, he taught a myriad of physics-related courses and labs, as well as courses in mathematics and SAGE while mentoring many students and advisees.  Plus, he chaired the annual McNair Science and Religion seminars.

   In 2008, he was acknowledged by his faculty peers and awarded the Distinguished Faculty Award.

   Mixed in with his campus activities and teaching, the more reclusive part of his life was being played out in a number of research projects and papers that were being developed in Morgan-Jones, particularly as they related to his focus on theoretical and particle physics.

   The list is significant:  Quantum-Theoretic Definitions of the Measurement Event;  What Determines Whether a Wave Function is Inherently Necessary?;   On Creating Values of Physical Properties NonlocallyNonlocal Interactions:  A Jammerian Analysis;  Interpretive Principles and the Quantum Mysteries; Bell’s Theorem and the Features of Physical Properties.  He often wrote letters to the “American Journal of Physics” and “Physics Today.”

   Paralleling Dr. Dotson’s rigorous teaching and classroom approach, his research would also resemble his precision as his 1988 paper on Quantum-Theoretic Definitions of the Measurement Event begins:  “Two ways of defining measurement events in quantum mechanics are discussed in the context of spin-correlation analyses … The standard approach does lead to models, but fits well with one understanding of the Copenhagen interpretation and may help to clarify options in further developing that interpretation.”

  And, as St. Andrews professors and departments have been known and urged to collaborate, Dr. Dotson acknowledges then Philosophy professor Dr. William Alexander who apparently provided “encouragement and assistance in selecting some of the reference material” for the paper on Quantum-Theoretic definitions.

   Other engagements included lecturing in Colorado, Salt Lake City and a return to Ecuador for a summer of teaching English in 2006.

   His ability to integrate study, research and mentoring also played a profound part in students who went on to graduate school including Matteo Palimeno (Sardinia, Italy) who came to study forensic science and mathematics and graduated in 2017.  Matteo earned his M.S. in Applied Math with a concentration in Dynamical Systems this past spring at San Diego State University and will begin his Ph.D. studies in Applied Math at the University of California Merced this fall.

   Matteo refers to Dr. Dotson as a superb mentor:  “As you can see, if I stretched my arms out, I would spin more slowly, whereas pulling my arms in makes me rotate faster,” Dr. Dotson said as he spun around the classroom to show the principle of Conservation of Angular Momentum.  While that was not the first time I met Dr. Dotson, it was a remarkable moment that made me appreciate his passion for the material he was teaching and the job he was doing.  Dr. Dotson was an important mentor to me, and our individual study sessions pushed me to pursue a career in science research.  I was lucky enough to meet him and have him as a teacher, and I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed.  I hope he will enjoy his well-deserved time off and I would like to congratulate him on his remarkable career, and wish him the best for this new chapter of his life.”

   Beyond physics and science, another dimension that applies to Dr. Dotson’s interests is his faith and how it has led to affirm that science and religion produce a vital and coherent whole.  His first book (with the hint of a second in the making) is titled “The Relevance of Jesus’ Own Gospel—the views of a physics teacher” (WestBow Press 2013).  He, as almost in a classroom, initiates a study and  discussion of how religious experience and scientific evidence can coexist and reaches his conclusion, “that God loves—all people everywhere—with a love that will never end and that is good enough for me.”

   And that is the calm, unassuming physicist preaching out of the classroom.  But to digress briefly, Dr. Dotson did create a bit of a local stir in 1996 when he dared to disturb the “Secret of Gravity Hill” in a Fayetteville Observer story, that spot in nearby Johns where legend has it that cars and trucks roll up hill, defying gravity.  Armed with a carpenter’s level and a pickup truck (not his), he took on Gravity Hill and declared it was gravity acting as it should.  “Vehicles were not going up hill on their own, it just appeared that way and the level proved it.“

The actual physics of it is not strange.  You are really rolling downhill even though it looks like you’re rolling uphill—it’s an illusion.”  However, his scientific “discovery” was not warmly welcomed, he says, and received some negative responses. 

   But other than Gravity Hill and one semester away, Dr. Dotson says life at St. Andrews has been good.  He has loved the students (says they are more career oriented now), respects and appreciates his colleagues, still walks to campus from his apartment at Scotia Village and loves to look at the stars. 

  Theoretical physicist and 1965 Nobel winner Richard Feynman once quipped that, “Einstein was a giant: his head was in the clouds, but his feet were on the ground.  Those of us who are not so tall have to choose!” 

   Dr. Dotson appears to have chosen wisely, and for 38 years, St. Andrews has  benefitted from each dimension.


  (Postscript:  Dr. John Knesel, Chair of the Department of Natural and Life Sciences, added this about Allen Dotson):  When I arrived at St. Andrews in August, 2010, one of the first professors I encountered was Dr. Allen Dotson.  He became a mentor, advisor and example to follow.  When I was appointed as Chair of the Department of Natural and Life Sciences, he continued this role as he taught me the “ways of St. Andrews,” the history so essential to understanding how things functioned here and continued to serve as a role model.  His role in this has been invaluable.  His teaching of me (and other new faculty) consisted of examples, gentle questions about plans, vision and how I intended to accomplish goals.  These gentle questions extended to queries about what I was reading, where I came from, my background, how I was becoming part of SA – all adding up to an excellent transition into this unique college setting.

   Over my time here I have seen countless examples of Dr. Dotson as a quintessential faculty member.  These include a complete love of him by alumni, his willingness, albeit retired and on a part-time appointment, to teach “extra” (example teaching calculus-based physics as a tutorial, building a variably scheduled physics laboratory to teach students in smaller groups, teaching astronomy as a general education offering and presenting at our Friday Science at St. Andrews seminar series); his willingness to chair the McNair Science and Religion seminars; his willingness to attend any and all faculty functions (faculty meetings, opening convocations, baccalaureate and commencements and seminars) and his constant presence as a scholar.

    Once, early on, and happening again and again, Dr. Dotson walked by my class and a student exclaimed, “Dr. Dotson is just so precious.”  Indeed he is.

SAU Summer Countdown

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   St. Andrews University, a Branch of Webber International University, has announced its intention to introduce the Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration degree and the Bachelor of Science in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness degree.  Additionally, St. Andrews has an application for licensure for both programs pending before the University of North Carolina Board of Governors which is required prior to the start date of either program. 

   The Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration degree (BAHSA) prepares students to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery in diverse provider settings within the healthcare industry.  Health services professionals manage medical information and healthcare staff.

   The BAHSA degree offers a capstone research project that integrates acquired healthcare knowledge, business skills, legal and ethical foundations, strategic and critical thinking and leadership in healthcare organizations.  A BAHSA graduate will be able to apply for entry-level administrative/managerial positions in a diverse range of healthcare facilities including hospitals, healthcare organizations, health insurance companies and nursing home/residential facilities.

   The Bachelor of Science in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness degree (BSSPF) is designed to prepare students to assess, design, implement, manage and motivate health, fitness and sports performance in diverse settings.  BSSPF students select an education pathway that leads to positions such as a sports performance coach or athletic fitness conditioning coach, a certified fitness trainer, group fitness/exercise instructor, personal fitness instructor or fitness facility manager.

   The BSSPF degree at St. Andrews provides students with an understanding of the scientific principles needed to optimize sports performance and to improve the health, fitness and the lifestyles of individuals and groups.

   St. Andrews expects to offer introductory courses in these new programs for the fall semester.  The university has hired qualified faculty to implement these academic additions. 

   For additional information and current course listing, please contact St. Andrews at 910.277.555.

   The University’s mission is to offer students an array of business, liberal arts and sciences, and pre-professional programs of study that create a life transforming educational opportunity which is practical in its application, global in its scope, and multi-disciplinary in its general education core. Students will acquire depth of knowledge and expertise in their chosen field of study, balanced by breadth of knowledge across various disciplines, while pursuing a degree at associate, bachelor, or master level. Special emphasis is placed on enhancing oral and written communication, and critical thinking skills. The international quality of the student body enriches personal experience and promotes understanding of international cultures and influences. Through an atmosphere in which self-discipline, creativity and cultivation of ethical standards are enhanced, the University is dedicated to teaching its students the “how to learn, how to think, and how to apply method” to each new challenge.

[Frank Barrows, St. Andrews College ’68, and former Charlotte Observer managing editor, died June 12 in Charlotte.  Reprinted below, with permission, is the news release/story.]

Frank Barrows, longtime Observer writer and editor, dies at 72
By Bruce Henderson and Jim Morrill, The Charlotte Observer

   Frank Barrows, a beloved former top editor of the Charlotte Observer whose journalism career took him from sports writing to leading the Carolinas’ largest newsroom, died Wednesday at his home in Charlotte. He was 72.

   Barrows held many writing and editing jobs in his more than 30 years at the Observer. He left the paper in 2005 after 13 years as the newsroom’s managing editor, during which it was twice a finalist for Pulitzer prizes and scored hundreds of other awards.

Mark Ethridge, who preceded Barrows as managing editor, called him “one of the most brilliant editors and great writers who I ever knew.” 

   “He was a genius. He could conceptualize stories. Stories are about what happened to people, and he could understand the character arc of any story better than anybody I ever knew.”

   A curmudgeonly Observer copy editor Barrows had once fired sent him a note when Barrows stepped down: “You were the only one worth a damn.”
   Barrows’s wife, former Observer editorial writer Mary Newsom, said he had been ill recently with flu-like symptoms. His heart apparently “just stopped” Wednesday, she said. Barrows had had diabetes for years and had been on dialysis for five years.
   Born in Lewes, Del., Barrows’s family moved to Martinsville, Va., when he was a child. He started calling ballgame scores into the Martinsville Bulletin as a teenager and worked there in summers during college. After graduating from St. Andrews College in Laurinburg in 1968, he joined the Observer in 1969 as a sportswriter, later becoming a columnist.
   His deep reporting and analytic writing, before the time of blogs and social media, made him an authoritative voice on ACC basketball.    Barrows once wrote an exhaustive account, in 1979, about why legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith had never won an NCAA title. Minutes after Smith finally won his first championship in 1982 came the coach’s first comment: “I guess we proved a very bright writer from Charlotte wrong tonight.”

   As a writer, he was legendary for the quirky discipline he demanded of himself.

Former Observer editor Rich Oppel said he’d been in the job a short while when he saw Barrows at work, legs straddling a computer, earmuffs on his head and a bottle of Tab at his side, all while occasionally punching himself in the face.

   “He said the only way he could write,” Oppel said, “was with a lot of Tab soda, earmuffs and striking himself in the face with a clenched fist when a sentence wasn’t good enough.”

   Added former colleague Frye Gaillard: “I literally one time saw himself take off his belt and belt himself to the chair when he was struggling with a story so he could not get up and escape from the trials and tribulations of being a writer.” 

   Barrows began wearing white shirts and ties as an assistant sports editor in 1981. He rose through The Observer’s sports and metro desks before being named managing editor in 1992, supervising a staff of more than 250 journalists.

   Reporters and editors who worked for him remembered a wry, gentle editor who supported and valued their work. Much of the staff he built had undergone hour-long candidate interviews in Barrows’s glass-walled office, which often included offbeat questions to divine their true nature.

   The highly influential text “Coaching Writers” by journalists Roy Peter Clark and Don Fry described Barrows as “an idiosyncratic editor at the Charlotte Observer.”

“Barrows agrees ... that editors should not only tolerate eccentricity but celebrate it,” they wrote.

   “He really loved helping people find their own best words,” said another former Observer editor, Jennie Buckner. “He was a coach through and through. . . . He saw the potential in stories. He saw the potential in people.”

Barrows loved basketball and sports, Mary Newsom said, but he really loved good writing.

   “He loved helping people and was so proud that so many people he had mentored had gone on to become editors. When he left the Observer, all the writers and editors said, ‘you were the one who really understood writing.’ He heard the same thing from photographers and designers: ‘You were the one who cared about design and visuals.’ That’s a real testament that people felt valued.”

   Upon Barrows’s departure in 2005, former columnist Tommy Tomlinson called Barrows “the conscience of the Observer. He’s a fan of great stories, a wise voice when you’re struggling, and he is always the last word on whether something is the right thing to do. Losing him is like losing a limb.”
   After leaving the Observer, Barrows was executive editor of Business North Carolina magazine and was named interim executive director of the N.C. Open Government Coalition, which he had helped found in 2004. He was an affiliate at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University when his wife was a Nieman Fellow in 2007-2008. 

   “He was a remarkable person as well as newspaperman,” said former Observer publisher Rolfe Neill, who retired in 1997. “His humanity showed through in everything he did. He was a splendid writer and a great teacher of younger journalists and a shining emblem that people aspired to emulate. His passion to tell the truth no matter what and to tell it in as balanced a way as he could possibly summon was probably the outstanding characteristic that he brought to the newspaper.” 

   In addition to his wife, he’s survived by his daughter, Margaret Barrows of New York City, a brother, Michael Barrows of Mineral, Va., and a sister, Lyn Barrows Boone of Granville, Ohio. Plans for a memorial service have not yet been made.


   As meticulously noted in “The Mythic School of the Mountain: Black Mountain College” (Our State magazine, Joseph Bathanti, NC poet laureate, April ’14), a small and rural college became known as perhaps the boldest and most progressive educational experience in American history.  “The purpose of the college is to lead on to creative consciousness a carefully selected group of young men and women who are eager to know, to will and to do.”

   And it was revolutionary:  no directors or trustees;  not accredited;  hand-made diplomas (for those who actually graduated, perhaps 60);  pedagogical direction was whatever students and teachers agreed upon;  no grades.

   Begun by Professor John Andrew Rice who had been dismissed from Rollins College (Winter Park FL), Black Mountain College would begin and find its home in 1933 north of Asheville, NC, a few miles from Black Mountain and sharing space with the Blueridge Assembly Christian conference and training center and then moving to nearby Lake Eden in 1941.  It would last until 1956 with a dozen or so faculty;  about 1,200 students attended over the years.  The school would serve as a metaphor for arts, literature, music, poetry, even self-sufficiency (a farm to grow their food).   Notables on their campus included Albert Einstein, John Dewey, Aldous Huxley, Buckminster Fuller and Thornton Wilder.

   Mr. Bathanti adds, “There is nothing to commemorate its considerable glory other than a terse epitaph etched into a silver historical marker on U.S. Highway 70 at West College Street, traveling west out of the charming little town of Black Mountain:  ‘Black Mountain college:  Est. in 1933.  Closed 1956.  Experimental schools with emphasis on fine arts and progressive education.  Campus was 3 mi. NW.’” 

   One building remains from the former campus, now part of a summer camp.

A collection of Black Mountain materials and photos can be found in the local Black Mountain museum.

   Just a few miles north of Black Mountain is the well-known Montreat Conference Center for the Presbyterian Church USA.

   That would have been the conclusion to the story except for the intervention of St. Andrews professor and poet Ron Bayes in 1974 (now emeritus and living at Scotia Village) along with English professor Whitney Jones who created what was the first Black Mountain College Festival at St. Andrews (Presbyterian College), featuring Buckminster Fuller and a geodesic dome built on the grass field next to the Morgan Liberal Arts Building.

   Mr. Bathanti, who taught at St. Andrews and considers Ron Bayes his "Literary Godfather,” writes that Bayes had known some of the Black Mountain writers and had kept in touch with them, a few who had been visitors to St. Andrews even before the 1974 celebration.

   1989 would bring another reprise of Black Mountain along with SA alum and poet/author Tom Patterson and the Jimmy Morgan Jazz Band. 

   St. Andrews alumni and friends organized a trip to Black Mountain in 2005 and spent three days touring various areas connected to the college.

  And in 2016, Dr. Ted Wojtasik, assistant professor of English and Creative Writing, planned the fall semester as a tribute with arts, music, poetry, prose readings and dance.  His line-up included Bathanti, Patterson, Basil and Martha King, Penelope Creeley, Helen Simoneau Danse Company and Douglas Dunn Dance Company.  Wojtasik read his poetry and Dr. Neal Bushoven, who was teaching at St. Andrews in 1974, reminisced about the earlier festival.

   Out of Black Mountain and the St. Andrews association, the Department of Liberal and Creative Arts established the Black Mountain Scholars, a group of students who engage in experimental learning and performance, using the traditions and history of BMC as inspiration.  The department has also started teaching cross-over classes that emphasize a connection between disciplines:  art with history, creative writing with music, politics with theatre, etc.

   Currently during the ’19 spring semester, the St. Andrews Black Mountain Scholars program joined the history and religious studies faculty in a team-taught exploration of the relationship between religious iconography and the Black Mountain College approach to learning.  Dr. David Herr and Dr. Tanner Capps offered Lived Theology and the Black Mountain Ethos.  Students explored the relationship between religion as a belief system and religion as a set of practices by exploring a wide range of world religions and their expressions.  They also learned the history of Black Mountain College and the long association many of its students and faculty had with St. Andrews.

   Professors Herr and Capps presented the course following the tenants of Black Mountain College that included an informal class environment, student directed inquiry, and student-faculty collaboration.  The students shared their individual research efforts in an artistic collaboration (as pictured) that served as the final project.  Using a 15 by 8 foot canvas, they created a mural blending interpretations of religious iconography with reflections on the ideas they gathered from learning about Black Mountain College.  The mural will eventually be displayed in the Division of Liberal and Creative Arts’ home, the Vardell Building, which is undergoing renovation following Hurricane Florence.

   Black Mountain Scholars have returned to Black Mountain where they spent time with Mr. Bathanti, stayed on the original campus and conducted research into Black Mountain College through the NC Western Regional Archives, the BMC Museum, and the Asheville Museum of Art.  Another trip to Black Mountain is planned for May 2020.

   Significant sources of information about Black Mountain College are available in the DeTamble Library archives and Library Director Mary McDonald ’79.   

   Additional information about students interested in becoming Black Mountain Scholars and scholarships can be accessed through Liberal Arts Division Chair, Dr. David Herr ’91, at



   St. Andrews University, a branch of Webber International University, celebrated its 122nd Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, on the DeTamble Library Terrace, as 116 graduates were joined by their families and friends.

   Piper and instructor William Caudill ’89 and the St. Andrews Pipe Band led the Class of 2019 and faculty across the cause walk to the platform set next to Lake Ansley Moore.

   This year’s class came from 17 countries and 17 states.  Degrees included Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master in Business.

   Music was provided by Sean Moore, music instructor and staff accompanist, and the St. Andrews Singers, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music Elizabeth Blair.

   Dr. David Herr, Associate Professor of American History and University Marshal, declared the opening of Commencement.

   St. Andrews University President Paul Baldasare Jr. ’77 welcomed all and reminded the seniors that their journey began with Convocation four years earlier, and today was the successful conclusion of their efforts.  He was joined by Trustee Mr. Joe Stricker, chair of the board of trustees.  Dr. Keith Wade, Webber International University President, was part of the platform group.

   Dr. Edna Ann Loftus, Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, announced the Class of 1991 Distinguished Faculty award went to Science professor, Dr. Bonnie Draper. 

   President Baldasare presented the prestigious Algernon Sydney and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards that “recognizes the spiritual qualities of the recipients as reflected in their selfless gift of their time and energy in the service of others … The Society further specifies that the Sullivan Awards are intended to recognize nobility of character in those people who, in their daily life, habitually go “outside the narrow circle of self-interest” and expend their energies in the service of others.

   The student award went to senior Gabriella Rhodes (Texas), and the community award to Laurinburg’s Jerry Riggins, owner of Jerry’s Deli and Grill and Pine Acres, for his contributions to St. Andrews for volunteering electrical contracting and expertise after the hurricane and additional contributions of service to St Andrews.

   Kayla Carter (St. Andrews at Sandhills) and Eduardo Andrade, student government president for the past two years, were the selected senior class speakers.

   The commencement speaker was the Honorable Robert S. Brewbaker, a 1969 St. Andrews graduate.  After St. Andrews, he graduated from Union Theological Seminary and later the University of Virginia School of Law.  Beginning in 1986, Mr. Brewbaker served for more than 25 years on the St. Andrews Board of Trustees.

   He is a former trial lawyer who for 27 years represented both plaintiffs and defendants in disputes including personal injury and medical malpractice.  Following his tenure as a trial lawyer, he served as a juvenile and domestic relations judge in Virginia for a decade, during which time he helped families through the difficult and emotional issues of juvenile crime, child abuse, child custody and visitation.  He continues to serve that court on a part-time basis and as a mediator of legal disputes. 

   His speech began reminiscing about where he started at St. Andrews and recalling the lake:  “A quick 53 years and 8 months ago, I sat exactly where you sit this morning.  It was September 1965.  The occasion was St. Andrews opening convocation.  I was a freshman.  Our speaker was St. Andrews president, Dr. Ansley Moore, after whom this beautiful and destructive lake is named.  That’s a bit odd because Dr. Moore was neither beautiful nor destructive.  During his speech Dr. Moore said the following, word for word.  “Here at St. Andrews, we will not teach you how to make a living.  We think you will find that making a living is relatively easy.”

   His remarks centered on seniors and their last year on campus having to deal with the devastating impact of Hurricane Florence that changed much of their lives on campus throughout the academic year.  His theme of making a life continued:  “The secret to making a life.  You see, the secret is not about strategies to avoid pain, or toil, or hard times, but rather overcoming adversity when adversity comes your way—just like you have done.  My dear and fellow St. Androids.  You have dealt with adversity correctly.  Your ticket has been punched and you will go places you could not have gotten to otherwise.  Hear this also as your call—a call for you to serve others by building community in all the places you go and with all the people you touch when you leave this special place.  Continue to show us how to make a life. “

   Following the speech, Dr. Lotus announced all graduates’ names, and President Baldasare with the assistance of Registrar Lyndsey Moss ’13, handed out individual diplomas.

   Campus events for seniors and families began on Friday afternoon with the Baccalaureate service, held this year in Avinger Auditorium.  Led by graduating seniors Kiah Cheatham, Lee Anne Hanke, Matthew Fletcher, Lydia Randell and the St. Andrews Singers, the guest preacher was the Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn, pastor of Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC.  Caldwell is an urban, diverse and missional faith community of about 325 that intersects a wide range of people in worship, formation and service in the community.  Prior to entering ministry in 2008, Dr. Cleghorn worked in the private sector.  For 18 years, he held various communications and public policy roles with Bank of America, retiring early as a senior vice president.  Prior to that, he was a reporter for the Charlotte Observer.  He holds degrees from Washington and Lee University, Union Presbyterian Seminary and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

   His sermon, based on two scriptural texts about water, concentrated on the idea of storms and how they interrupt lives.  “You took the best Florence could deliver and here you are. You’ve learned lessons most other schools did not offer this academic year.  Other storms by other names will come calling – in your careers, in your personal relationships, in your family life, in your own physical and mental and spiritual health. As with the disciples in the boat on the Sea of Galilee, there will be times when you wonder whether there really is a sovereign God. My advice is, as the disciples did, to stay in the boat and know that the storm will pass.”

   Following Commencement, a reception was held in The Grove.  Baccalaureate and Commencement for 2020 are planned for May 2-3.


The Baccalaureate sermon and Commencement speeches are available at the following links:

SAU 2019 Baccalaureate Sermon

SAU 2019 Commencement Speech

St. Andrews University held its annual Alumni Weekend Celebration, April 12-14, where the Class of 1969 celebrated its 50th reunion. The largest entering class in St. Andrews history, over 60 people returned to the campus to celebrate and reunite with old classmates.  The class raised over $72,000 in time for the reunion to donate to the university for hurricane relief efforts and has surpassed $83,000 in fundraising for their gift.

Bill Rinker ’69 presents President Paul Baldasare Jr. ’77 with the class gift check at the Friday evening banquet.  (R. Coffman/photo)

Bill Rinker ’69 presents President Paul Baldasare Jr. ’77 with the class gift check at the Friday evening banquet.  (R. Coffman/photo)

Instructor in Equine Studies and Dressage coach Jackie Dwelle was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Intercollegiate Dressage Association Executive Board.

This is the first year of the award to recognize an outstanding coach who has given of themselves above and beyond, to their riders, and to the IDA organization.

Ms. Dwelle has served as the coach for the St Andrews University IDA team since its beginning in 2000 and has led their team to many IDA national appearances.  Additionally, she has served as the national treasurer for 16 years.  Her contributions to the IDA organization, on the large scale, as well as on an individual level with all her riders, have been immeasurable.  The IDA adds, “For these and many other reasons, Jackie was the obvious choice for this inaugural IDA Lifetime Achievement.”

Ms. Dwelle served as the Regional Representative for the South East region in the early days of IDA before being asked to assume the responsibilities of treasurer.  She was one of the four original founding board members of IDA and also served as the IDA Secretary for many years.  During the last 20 years the digital revolution has transformed the way organizations do business.  She has been the point person working with IT to transform the membership process from mail in paper memberships to the online service that is expected today.  In 2018-2019, she worked to develop the foundation for the recently launched new IDA website ( which came online in the last couple of weeks. 

Peggy McElveen, Director of the Equestrian Programs said, “Jackie has been a board member of the IDA since its inception and has been a great supporter of its mission.  She successfully managed and hosted the IDA National Finals twice at St. Andrews University.  In her role as an Equine Business professor, Jackie has offered her students numerous internship opportunities in coaching, horse management, and event management all of which have helped to prepare the next generation for professional careers within the equine industry and specifically in intercollegiate dressage.  Her contributions to IDA have had a tremendous impact on the students and on collegiate riding.  It is very fitting that she was selected as the inaugural recipient of the IDA Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Prior to St. Andrews she worked in the horse industry as a groom, barn manager and riding instructor, working for leaders in the hunter seat industry and Olympic level riders in the discipline of Eventing.  She has been at St. Andrews for 21 years, first hired to be the Barn Manager that included developing and coaching the dressage team and teaching PE classes.  She then served as Director of Instructional Riding before joining the faculty to teach classes in the Equine Studies Department. 

Her achievements at St. Andrews include involvement in two IDA National Championships.  She led a group of students to France staying in Paris for a week followed by a week in the Loire Valley visiting the Cadre Noir and the French Equestrian National Training Centre in Saumur.  She led the Equestrian Program online presence starting with a blog adding social sites Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, developed and continues to update and revise the site. 

She chaired the Web and Social Media Committee to improve, updated some of the crucial areas and prepared recommendations to the administration regarding web and social media.  And, she traveled with the SAU program in India with Dr. Neal Bushoven. 

Ms. Dwelle is leaving St. Andrews at the end of this semester, moving to Camden, SC, and says, “Starting my next adventure.”



St. Andrews University 2019

Baccalaureate and Commencement Speakers

Baccalaureate, Friday, May 10, Avinger Auditorium

Commencement, Saturday, May 11, DeTamble Library Terrace


Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn 

Rev. Dr. John Cleghorn is pastor of Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C. Caldwell is an urban, diverse and missional faith community of about 325 that intersects a wide range of people in worship, formation and service in the community.

    John is married to Kelly and they have two daughters, one a teacher in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and the other a student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Prior to entering ministry in 2008, John worked in the private sector. For 18 years, he held various communications and public policy roles with Bank of America, retiring early as a senior vice president. Prior to that, he was a reporter for the Charlotte Observer.

    A native of Atlanta, John serves on the board of The Presbyterian Outlook, the Covenant Network of Presbyterians, Presbyterian Psychological Services and on the Anti-Racism Task Force of the Charlotte Presbytery. He holds degrees from Washington and Lee University, Union Presbyterian Seminary and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

    He contributes to several regional and national publications and is working on a book about the Intersectional Church.


Robert S. Brewbaker

The Honorable Robert S. Brewbaker is a 1969 St. Andrews graduate and earned his nickname “Brew” while at St. Andrews. The nickname stuck and most people know him by no other name. After St. Andrews, he graduated from Union Theological Seminary and later the University of Virginia School of Law. “Judge Brew” recently retired as a full-time judge of the juvenile and family court in Virginia – the court that handles matters ranging from juvenile crime to child abuse, child custody and welfare. He continues to serve that court on a part-time basis and as a mediator of legal disputes.

    With Nancy, his bride of nearly 40 years, he currently lives in Charlottesville where his daughter, her family, and his two granddaughters (ages 3 and 5) reside.  Beyond his family and his community, his current commitments and passions include – in addition to St. Andrews –- his work with Habitat for Humanity, his local Presbyterian church, and a non-profit that partners with people and organizations in Honduras in building water-tight cinder block homes with concrete floors to replace the stick and mud shacks (with dirt floors) in which the great majority of Honduran families try to survive.

St. Andrews University senior Rina Suzuki (Japan) and her painting titled “Closure” was recently selected for publication in the Circle Foundation for the Arts, based in Lyon, France.  The foundation is an international organization currently representing over 300 artists in their online gallery. 

According to their website, Circle Foundation is “a platform for the active artist, orchestrating the development of a variety of visual arts projects.”  Their goal is to provide a stage for the remarkable visual artist who can use this platform to publish, exhibit, win grants and awards, boost their resume and become established within a notable network.

The current edition highlights 95 selections, including Miss Suzuki’s work, “that examines works in photography, painting, sculpture, mixed media, collage, illustration, drawing and installation that are curated together to tell the story of what art looks like today.”  

Miss Suzuki’s art appears on the website and online magazine at page 103.  The magazine is also live on Issuu (the internet’s largest publication platform).

About her work, she said, “When my grandfather passed away, I could not go to attend his funeral, and I needed to get over the feeling of loss;  I created this piece as a farewell.  Things in this painting allow me to think about the time I spent with him but not the moment I lost him.  It has been a meaningful work to my entire family and me.”

Ms. Suzuki was born in Taiwan and raised in Japan to a family of artists. She is majoring in Visual and Performing Arts with an emphasis in Studio Art along with a minor in Gender Studies.  Her Art Professor is Ms. Stephanie McDavid.