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Staff Appreciation Day

14 May 2018, 11:33 am Written by

St. Andrews recognized staff and faculty years of service during a reception and recognition held May 11 in the Hagan Atrium and Choral Room.

President Paul Baldasare greeted a packed room filled with staff and faculty who attended to honor individual achievements that ranged from 10 to 50 years of service to the university.

Led by Dr. Edna Ann Loftus who planned the event, all recipients received a plaque along with a narrative detailing each person’s accomplishments.  She was assisted in the presentations by Glenn Batten, Mary McDonald, Paul Baldasare and John Knesel.

Ten years of service recipients were Mr. Randy Hernandez and Dr. Teresa Reynolds.  Fifteen years of service recipients were Dr. Joe Bunting, Dr. Rona Leach-McLeod and Mr. Tom. Waage. Twenty years of service recipients were Mr. Glenn Batten, Professor Jackie Dwelle, Mr. Stevan Hernandez and Professor Jim Miles.  A 50-year award went to Mr. Rooney Coffman.  

The admissions department initiated a pineapple plant for hospitality to staff who demonstrated significant time to their department for greeting and working with families and students who were visiting St. Andrews.  Those included John Knesel, Peggy McElveen, Steven Harris, Stephanie McDavid and Melinda McCoy.—30—​

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Conner Smith, a graduating senior from Gastonia, NC, won the 2018 Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association (IHSA) National Championship Horse Show Team Open Western Horsemanship and earned the AQHA High Point Western Rider.  His St.

Andrews team went on to finish fourth in national competition against schools including Ohio State University, Middle Tennessee State University and the first place team from the University of Findlay (OH).

Results were released on May 8.  The competition was held at the Pennsylvania Farm Complex in Harrisburg, PA.  St. Andrew’s Hunter Seat Team finished 10th in the nationals at the same location with the winning team from Skidmore College (NY) and teams from Stanford University, Boston University and Purdue.

Smith’s St. Andrews coach Carla Wennberg fought back tears of excitement and pride in her student whom she described as a leader for the team.  He went from the Intermediate division to Open under her tutelage, but she credits other trainers for helping to develop the talented rider.
“He’s put a lot of effort in with other trainers to help him with reining,” Wennberg said. “I can’t take all that credit.  We’ve had some great horses for him to learn on and a real special horse named Puddy.  We all have a great connection and we respect each other and he works hard.”

“You know I just took what Carla always says, ‘You can never wait, you just have to start from where you are and learn from what happens as the days pass and build from that,’” Smith said. “Consistency is key, so just working toward consistency and correctness was how I ended up on top.”
Smith complimented Jade, the horse he drew on the final day of competition, and described her as sensitive, very correct and a good mover.  “She was a lot of fun.  She was great on the rail, excellent on the pattern, very smooth and I was able to show off a lot of different maneuvers throughout the pattern,” he said.
Smith has been a member of the IHSA for four years and this is his second trip to Nationals.  In his sophomore year, he placed third in Team Advanced Horsemanship.
After graduation, Smith has a job in Charlotte with a company that does search engine optimization and web design.  “I guarantee you he will stay in the horse industry as a competitor,” Wennberg said.—30

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Graduation - May 2018

7 May 2018, 3:44 pm Written by

Baccalaureate and graduation took central position on St. Andrews University’s campus as they held their 121st Commencement on Sunday, May 6, on the DeTamble Library Terrace for 115 graduates in the class of 2018 with degrees covering the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration.

The weekend began Saturday with Baccalaureate in Harris Courts in the Physical Education Center.  The speaker, the Rev. W. Robert Martin III, a 1986 graduate of St. Andrews, recently returned to Laurinburg to serve as the Pastor for Laurinburg Presbyterian Church.  His sermon, “The Galilee Directive—Out to the Margins” focused on looking forward: “What journey will you now take, degree in hand, so as to change not only you but the world you will inhabit?  And as you answer these questions, never forget, and never fear, that Jesus goes out ahead of each you into the Galilees you will find and, hopefully confront—for it is there that he awaits the power and the promise of your presence! Be on your way—and as it has done for me, may such a journey change you some so that you might change the lives of others!”

As is the tradition for Commencement, graduates gathered on the residence side of the campus, led by the St. Andrews Pipe Band and the faculty who then walked across the causeway between the two lakes.  Family and friends then greeted them as they entered the terrace that is next to DeTamble Library.

After opening remarks by Dr. David Herr ’91, the University Marshal and Chair of the Liberal Arts Division, St. Andrews University President Paul Baldasare Jr. ’77 welcomed those attending, noting especially the parents who began this journey four years ago with the opening convocation that was held in Harris Courts for what was the beginning week for the class of 2018.

St. Andrews Board of Trustee Chairman Joe Strickler (Winter Haven, FL) spoke followed by the two senior class speakers who were nominated and chosen by their peers.  Linda Diane Widmer (Vass, NC) represented St. Andrews at Sandhills and Wendy Alexandra Varisco (Covington, LA) spoke for the St. Andrews campus.  Miss Widmer closed with: "I followed my heart and pursued a degree in education ... Teachers make a difference every single day, and I am so happy to be a part of that impact. So, whatever you decide to go out and do, make sure it makes you happy!"

Miss Varisco said, “Use every tool in your toolbox that St. Andrews has given you to face new challenges.  Remember what this university has taught you: don’t be afraid to embrace being different, because the school you went to certainly was.”

The Class of 1991 Distinguished Faculty Award was presented by Dr. Edna Ann Loftus, Interim Vice President and Dean for Academic Affairs, to Professor of English Betsy Dendy for her teaching, campus-wide work, constant student assistance and especially for her involvement with the SAU Gender Justice Club.

President Baldasare announced The Algernon Sydney and Mary Mildred Sullivan Award given to graduating senior Tariq Jean-Claude Getrouw (Suriname) who began an international aquatics program teaching children how to swim.  The award recognizes the spiritual qualities of the recipient as reflected in their selfless gift of time and energy in the service of others. 

The Rev. Dr. James L Morgan Jr. from Laurinburg and Laurel Hill was the commencement speaker.  He graduated from Wake Forest University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology, and from Columbia Theological Seminary where he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree.  He currently serves as President and CEO of The Morgan Company, a closely held investment firm in Laurel Hill, NC, that has its roots as a former textile manufacturing company (Morgan-Jones, Inc. 1872-1974).  He is the CEO and Founder of King Fisher Society, an ordained Presbyterian minister (PCUSA) and a jazz pianist.

            His message to graduates focused on vocation:  “You all will probably live a very long time and the rate of change in your life will likely increase exponentially.  But there will always be this one constant:  if you dare to try to find your Vocation, with a big V—that work you are called to that meets the world’s deep hunger, this long life you are about to live will be fulfilling and full of deep gladness.  The world’s needs will change, but your deep gladness will not.  You may discover more gifts, more ways of following your path and connecting to your world, but that basic sense of being called to use your gifts will always be there.”

St. Andrews University Choir with Choir Master Ed Williams and Sean Moore, accompanist, provided choral selections and closed the service with “A Parting Blessing” and the singing of the Alma Mater.—30—


(Rev. Martin’s sermon, Dr. Morgan’s speech and Wendy Varisco’s senior class speech are available below as pdfs.)


Rev. Martin's Sermon

Dr. Morgan's Commencement Speech

Varisco's Senior Class Speech

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21st Century Class - Zack Garst

25 April 2018, 12:19 pm Written by

St. Andrews alum Zack Garst ‘10 spoke to the 21st Century Management class on April 20 about his career for the Department of the Army as well as his job as a real estate investor in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC area.   He talked with the class about how he began his career with the Federal Government during his breaks from college and how he started investing in real estate at the age of 22, following in his father’s footsteps.  The main message he wanted to give to the class is how important it is to start setting goals for yourself and to make sure you have a plan in order to attain those goals in the future. —Laura Gallucci  

Baccalaureate and Commencement

24 April 2018, 9:37 am Written by


     St. Andrews University announces their Baccalaureate and Commencement services for May 5 and 6. Baccalaureate will be held in Harris Courts at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 5.  The speaker is the Rev. W. Robert Martin III, St. Andrews Class of 1986.  He has recently returned to Laurinburg to become the Pastor of Laurinburg Presbyterian Church after serving as Senior Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto, CA, for the past 15 years.  He holds a Master of Divinity degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary.

     St. Andrews choir and students will also participate in the service. 

     On Sunday morning at 9 a.m., the 121st annual commencement will take place on the DeTamble Library Terrace.  The Rev. Dr. James L. Morgan Jr. is the commencement speaker.  He currently serves as President and CEO of The Morgan Company, an investment firm in Laurel Hill, NC, that has its roots as a former textile manufacturing company (Morgan-Jones, Inc. 1872-1974).  Jim is the Chairman of The Morgan Foundation of Laurel Hill, Inc., a philanthropic family foundation.  He is an ordained Presbyterian minister.

     St. Andrews University President Paul Baldasare ’77 will confer degrees to approximately 115 students for their Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration diplomas.—

21st Century Class - Steve Plummer

20 April 2018, 1:42 pm Written by

  Steve Plummer is the General Manager at Roaring Gap Club,a 2,000 acre summer camp with a 54 acre lake and a golf course among many other amenities.  The club has 40 buildings and a year around staff of 20 individuals. During the summer there are 170 employees. The maximum club membership is set at 300 and they have 175 private residences on the premises.

   Mr. Plummer explained about starting relationships with people and showed us how to do it as he talked to each student by asking questions when he entered into our classroom.  Mr. Plummer also said that we need to work with what we love to do so in the end of the day we never work in our lives. —Lucas Chehab​

St. Andrews University hosted The North Carolina Poetry Society’s Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poet Series Dinner, April 12, which brought together distinguished poets and student poets from the central regions of North Carolina.  Student poets were selected from middle school, high school, college, and adults not currently enrolled in school. 

Distinguished poets mentor selected student poets in writing and revising a dozen pages of poetry and coach them in the craft of oral presentation.

Camryn Massey is a 15-year-old sophomore attending Scotland Early College High School.  She is a member of the National Beta Club and the Technology Student Association.  Camryn loves science, but she's also passionate about writing poetry.  She serves as a volunteer at Scotland County Memorial Library. \

Pam Baggett's chapbook, Wild Horses, was a runner-up for the Cathy Smith Bowers Chapbook Contest and will be published by Main Street Rag in spring 2018.  Her recent poems appear in Atlanta Review, Cold Mountain Review, Kakalak 2017, Nimrod, San Pedro River Review, and Tar River Poetry.  Work also appears in several anthologies, including Forgetting Home: Poems About Alzheimers and The Southern Poetry Anthology Volume VII: North Carolina.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a 2017 recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artists Grant, and a 2017 recipient of an artist grant from the Orange County Arts Commission.  She co-hosts the monthly Second Thursday Poetry Reading at Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill and teaches free poetry workshops at the Orange County Main Library in Hillsborough.   She was unable to attend the event.

Terri Greco is a poet and psychotherapist.  A member of the North Carolina Poetry Society, she is one of the North Carolina Poetry Society's Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Adult Student Poets of 2017-2018.  Drawing upon personal and professional experience, her poems reflect the frailties and triumphs of being human and have appeared in online and print journals including Forage Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, I'm Not a Silent Poet, and The Gambler. A military dependent, Terri spent her early years living abroad in Greece, Germany, England and many of the United States. She is now glad to call Chapel Hill, NC, her home where she lives with her husband and son.—30—

(submitted by Beth Copeland)

Pepsico Recycling

13 April 2018, 10:37 am Written by

St. Andrews University has been selected as one of 19 recipients for the 2017-2018 PepsiCo Recycling Zero Impact Fund and up to $10,000 in funding.

With the help of PepsiCo Recycling’s Zero Impact Fund, St. Andrews is beginning their project titled the Green Knights Initiative to fund a recycling project on its campus. The challenge and application was to acquire funding for a collaborative venture among the Student Government Association, Office of Student Affairs and SAU Leadership. The grant will be used to initiate a recycling project that the Green Knights Initiative Committee will oversee.

As a part of the Zero Impact Fund, St. Andrews was selected out of more than 60 proposals to receive funding that will work to increase sustainability efforts on campus.

An ambitious project, the Growing Green Knights plan will introduce recycling stations in and around all resident halls, administrative buildings and outdoor areas. Recycling bins, receptacles and waste stations will be placed in all locations which the grant will cover the cost, including necessary supplies.

Their proposal covered specially referred to engaging the campus community, educating and benefiting. In part, their application stated, “The addition of recycling both indoors and out will benefit our residents, our university culture, workplaces, and the future main streets, workplaces and homes of our graduates.”

The project leaders for the grant at St. Andrews are SGA president Eduardo Andrade and Clifton Dial, Director of Residence Life and Housing. The extensive six-page application required the Growing Green Knights Team to identify specific needs, locations, costs and strategy to facilitate the project. When all aspects are functioning, the team believes that solid waste reduction could be as much as 131,000 pounds yearly and a savings of almost $10,000 for the university.

PepsiCo Recycling’s Zero Impact Fund aims to help schools across the country reach their sustainability goals by awarding up to $10,000 to support eco-innovations that increase sustainability on campus. More information on the PepsiCo Recycling Zero Impact Fund and other winning proposals can be located at

The Regional Science Olympiad held March 17 at St. Andrews University has proven to be a positive experience for area middle school students.

Designed to enhance the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) experience, seven teams competed in a variety of competitive events under the supervision of the science staff at St. Andrews.

The varsity team from Parkwood Middle School (Monroe, NC) finished first in overall competition with wins in Battery Buggy, Crime Busters, Hovercraft, Optics, Road Scholar, Rocks and Minerals, Roller Coaster, Solar System, Thermodynamics and Towers.

Second place went to Sun Valley Middle School (Indian Trail, NC) with a first in Anatomy and Physiology, Disease Detective, Duck Tape Challenge, Ecology and Write It, Do It.

Third place went to West Pine Middle School (West End) with a first in Fast Facts, Herpetology and Meteorology.

“We are very pleased with the level of competition seen at this year’s regional event,” said Rooney Coffman, site director. “We are hopeful that the competition will continue to grow at this level.”

The highest placing team is invited to participate in the state tournament at North Carolina State University later this spring. Last year, more than 900 K-12 teams representing over 18,000 students and 85 counties in North Carolina participated in North Carolina Science Olympiad. These tournaments are rigorous academic interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of different hands-on, interactive, challenging and inquiry-based events that are balanced between the various disciplines of biology, earth science, environmental science, chemistry, physics, engineering and technology. A few of the events students participated in were Anatomy and Physiology, Crime Busters, Towers, Optics and Ecology.

Top finishers at the state level advance to the national tournament to take place in Colorado.

The first recorded Science Olympiad was held 41 years ago at St. Andrews. Dr. Donald Barnes, Dr. David Wetmore and Rooney Coffman were the originators of this event. Fifteen schools from North and South Carolina and Virginia participated in this event. This Olympiad was a daylong event, with competitions and demonstrations for high school students in the areas of biology, chemistry and physics. There were four event periods during this day, and each event period had one fun event (beaker race or paper airplane), one demonstration (glassblowing and holography), and one serious event (periodic table quiz or Science Bowl).

An article by Wetmore was published in the Journal of Chemical Education in January of 1978 documenting the success of recruiting students through Science Olympiad. Education leaders who observed the Olympiad took the concept to the national level in 1985. Today, 7,800 teams in 50 states compete in Science Olympiads

Dr. Feldman and Leaf Miners

3 April 2018, 11:40 am Written by

29 March 2018

While out cataloging plants on the St. Andrews University campus in Laurinburg, ecology professor Dr. Tracy Feldman came across an intriguing group of leaf miners on an evergreen tree.  

Curious about what species he had found, Dr. Feldman sent the specimen to the Plant Disease and Insect Clinic at North Carolina State University where they could not identify the leaf miners.

Dr. Feldman then sent the specimen to a freelance naturalist to whom he had been introduced, Charley Eiseman, who then informed Dr. Feldman that he had possibly found a new species.  

Although the specimen first sent to Eiseman has yet to be confirmed as a new one—with the possibility of discovering new species on campus—Dr. Feldman was determined to look for all the leaf miners he could. Since then, six of the more than 180 leaf miner species he has found have been confirmed as new species by Eiseman and Dr. Owen Lonsdale (Curator at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes).

“Leaf miners are considered parasites,” Dr. Feldman explains. They are insects that mine through plants for nutrients, leaving behind trails on the branches they eat that may differ depending on the species of insect and plant. Miners are not limited to one group of insects and include flies, beetles, moths and sawflies.

Scotland County is in the Southeastern Coastal Plain, which is a global biodiversity hotspot, one of 36 in the world. It “just really is not a place where people are looking for small insects,” according to Dr. Feldman. When cataloging various plants and animals, some of these leaf miners can go undetected because of their small size.

“Most ecologists go for the larger sized bugs,” he said, which are unequivocally easier to spot compared to smaller leaf miners. Dr. Feldman said he was fortunate to have observed such a small insect that led him to discover several new species of leaf miners in Laurinburg.

His next steps after the unexpected discoveries of six fly species including two Agromyza species, two Liriomyza species, one Calycomyza species and one Cerodontha species are to continue describing all the characteristics that distinguish them from other leaf miners with collaborators Eiseman and Lonsdale. They will then send a manuscript of the discovery to a publisher.

Publishing, which involves editing and rewriting, can take years before a final perfected manuscript is released describing these six new species of leaf miners found by Dr. Tracy Feldman at St. Andrews University.—30—

(written by Kiah Cheatham for COM 454)