Professors and Mentors Spotlight

Any list of influential professors and mentors from Roanoke College would be an incomplete list. So many professors have made a positive impact on Roanoke students that it would be impossible to list them all. Several were nominated for the Maroon Spotlight and are recognized here. Thanks to all Roanoke professors, past and president, for all they do for Roanoke students. 

Homer Bast: Bast was a professor, administrator and coach at Roanoke College. He held a variety of positions during his tenure, which was from 1946 to 1979, including: coach, registrar, history professor, director of admissions, director of the summer program, and director of the evening program. He was inducted into the Roanoke Athletic Hall of Fame in 1971. In 1978, Bast was named an "honorary alumnus" by the College's Alumni Association. Upon his retirement in 1979, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. The C. Homer Bast Physical Education and Recreation Center was named in his honor in 1982. Roanoke's track was named for the storied coach in 2006.

Billie Jean Beamer '52: Beamer was a distinguished member of the Roanoke College community, as a student and as a faculty member. As a student, she was the captain of the women's basketball team in 1950 and 1951. She was chosen to be on the all-state field hockey team in 1952 and was a member of the Blue Ridge Field Hockey First Team and Southeast Field Hockey First Team from 1953 to 1958. Beamer became a National Field Hockey umpire in 1968 and became manager of the U.S. Field Hockey Team that traveled to Guyana in 1969. After 37 years at Roanoke College as an instructor and coach of women's basketball, volleyball, tennis and field hockey teams, she was conferred the status of Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Charles W. Bondurant: Bondurant, former professor of chemistry at Roanoke College, mentored numerous chemistry students through the years, significantly impacting the career paths of many individuals. In particular, he was a very strong supporter of women in science. He encouraged women to pursue advanced degrees and to have significant career aspirations at a time when science was still commonly a man's field. Two College awards are named in his honor-the Dr. C.W. Bondurant Student Affiliate Award and the Dr. Charles W. Bondurant Sumer Scholars award.

Susan Dunagan: Dunagan, the winningest coach in the history of Virginia, was the Maroons' head women's basketball coach until her retirement in 2014. At the time of her retirement, she was both the school and ODAC career-wins leader, with more than 600 victories. The Roanoke Valley native posted a 33-year career record of 611-271, including a 449-141 mark in ODAC play. She compiled sixteen 20-win seasons, a conference-record 13 ODAC Championships and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. Dunagan was named ODAC Coach of the Year nine times. She was named Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) District Coach of the Year in 1997 and named Virginia State Coach of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID) in 2000. In the spring of 2001, the legendary coach was inducted into the Roanoke College Athletic Hall of Fame.

Stephanie Garst: Garst is the executive director for the U.S. Play Coalition, a partnership that promotes the value of play throughout life. She also serves as lecturer for special events management courses for the Travel and Tourism major at Clemson University and advises the Clemson Event Planners Association. Prior to her current work, she served as director of Community Programs and Special Events at Roanoke College for 13 years. She has received many awards during her career, including the Kenneth R. Garren Award: Outstanding Staff Member for Promoting and Encouraging Diversity - Office of Multicultural Affairs, Roanoke College. 

Ed Green: In 1976, Green came to Roanoke as assistant men's basketball coach, and the College saw radical changes in its team records and spirit. In 1977, he became head coach and his NCAA Division II team had the greatest turnaround of any NCAA college or university team, finishing with a 14-11 record, a 10-win turnaround. For seven straight years after his first season in 1977-78, the Maroons enjoyed at least 20 wins or more a season. Named South Atlantic Regional Coach of the Year five times and Old Dominion Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1981, Green was also named Eastern Basketball Magazine's Div. III Coach of the Year in 1982. He led the Maroons to seven straight ODAC Championships (1981-87) and to the NCAA post-season every year during that span. His 1982-83 team holds the school record for wins in a single season (31) and advanced to the National Quarterfinals. Green served as the director of athletics during his final eight years at Roanoke. He is a member of the Roanoke Athletic Hall of Fame.

William Greer: Greer is regional director of development at Washington and Lee University. Before joining the staff at W&L, he served as the associate dean for Student Success Initiatives and director of orientation programs at Roanoke College from January 2008 to September 2012. Greer also served as the director of development and church relations at Roanoke from September 2012 to September 2014. He has been described as a staff mentor whose leadership and influence shaped students' lives.

Paul Griffin: A men's lacrosse coach at Roanoke from 1972-81, Griffin put the program permanently on the map, with national rankings every year except his first season. His brightest accomplishment was guiding the Maroons to a national championship in 1978. The 12-win season was a 14-year school record. Under his leadership as athletic director from 1977-81, Roanoke's varsity squads won four state championships and several conference titles. Griffin, a member of the Roanoke Athletic Hall of Fame, later served as the director of athletics at Jacksonville (Florida) University, the University of South Florida and Arkansas State University, and as senior associate director of athletics, interim director of athletics and special assistant to the director of athletics at Georgia Tech. During his career as a coach and administrator, Griffin was a member of the All-American Selection Committee. In 1999, he was named by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics as the Southeast Region Athletic Director of the Year.

Joseph S. "Buddy" Hackman: Hackman joined the Roanoke College coaching staff in 1935 and served as head baseball and basketball coach, professor, and director of athletics for nearly 36 years. He led both the baseball and basketball teams to state and Mason-Dixon Conference Championships. His career record as a basketball coach was 252-207. Hackman instilled in his players the will to win and to do it with the highest degree of sportsmanship. Active with youth groups, Hackman served as an inspiration to thousands of young men. He was an All-American football player at the University of Tennessee. The Buddy Hackman Hall of Fame Display Room in the mezzanine level of the Bast Center was dedicated in his honor. He is a member of RC Athletic Hall of Fame.

The Rev. R. Paul Henrickson: Henrickson, Timothy L. Pickle Jr. and Timothy L. Pickle III Dean of the Chapel, retired in 2013 after serving Roanoke College Chaplain for many years. A Lutheran minister since 1977, Henrickson started his career at Roanoke as associate chaplain and later became chaplain of the College in 1986. He was the "face of faith" on campus, high-fiving students in the Commons, traveling to South Carolina to build houses with Habitat for Humanity and comforting the College community during difficult times. He dutifully served the students, faculty and staff with incredible compassion and love. For several years after retirement, Henrickson served as director of Church Relations for the College. Henrickson is credited with establishing a College connection to Habitat for Humanity, which has resulted in an annual spring break student migration to South Carolina for Habitat house builds, and the Habitat "R House" build on campus during fall orientation. Henrickson also established the Center for Community Service in the 1990s and has led hurricane relief trips to Homestead, Florida, after Hurricane Andrew and to Slidell, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. He was the recipient of the Roanoke College STAR (Service to All Roanoke) award in 2012.  

Dr. Jane Ingram: Ingram joined the Roanoke College faculty in 1978 as a professor of mathematics and computer science. Ingram, who retired in 2012, served as chair of the Mathematics, Computer Science & Physics Department from 2001 to 2009. She served as president of the Blue Ridge Council of Teachers of Mathematics, and received the Blue Key Professor Award in 1986 and the Dean's Award for Exemplary Service in 2010. "Dr. Ingram always had time for all students, but was an invaluable resource and role model for the female students like myself. She broke the stereotype of the 'nerdy' male computer scientist/mathematician and led by example to encourage more female students to study math and computer science," a Maroon Spotlight nominator wrote.

Mac Johnson '70: Johnson served in Roanoke College's Division of Student Affairs for 32 years, 27 of those as the dean of students and vice president of student affairs. He provided overall leadership and direction for many campus departments, including Athletics, Career Services, Campus Safety, Colket Student Center, Office of the Dean of Students and Greek Life. He created and led the College's Outdoor Adventures program for many years, leading to the dedication in 2017 of the Mac and Marcy Johnson Outdoor Adventures Center in his and his wife's name. "Mac approached his work as a calling rather than a job," a Maroon Spotlight nominator wrote.

Perry F. Kendig: Kendig was a professor, dean, and later, seventh president of Roanoke College. He came to campus in 1952 as dean of the College and became president eleven years later, in 1963. During his presidency, Kendig oversaw multiple building and renovation projects, including: the construction of Bowman and Marion halls and the completion of Crawford Hall and four fraternity houses, later followed by the construction of Antrim Chapel and the three-building Science Complex. In keeping with the liberal arts tradition, the curriculum was broadened and expanded to allow students choice and flexibility in their courses. When Kendig retired in 1975, Roanoke College had changed in many ways from the campus he had inherited a dozen years earlier. Kendig's Maroon Spotlight nominator credited him with "teaching me writing techniques that became the cornerstone of the classes that I, myself, later taught."

Dr. Denis Lape: Lape taught at Roanoke College for 43 years, focusing on Shakespeare and 19th- century American literature. He devoted all of his energies to the teaching of students. In later years he conducted an informal literary salon in his home, ever committed to facilitating the analysis, appreciation, and enjoyment of fine literature. "As a non-English major, he really inspired me with his reading to us in class and great lectures on literature," a Maroon Spotlight nominator wrote.

Dr. Philip C. Lee Jr. '60: Lee graduated from Roanoke College and then returned to dedicate 34 years teaching at his alma mater. He taught a variety of biology classes while at Roanoke, including classes regarding his passion, mycology. He had great love and passion for Roanoke and has been called a master of the classic teaching style of science. He challenged his students and pushed them to be the best they could be. The Dr. Philip C. Lee, Jr. Endowed Scholarship award is made annually to a Roanoke College biology major to support research during the summer under the supervision of a Biology Department faculty member.  The endowment was established by family, friends and colleagues in memory of Lee. "Dr. Lee's knowledge was, as someone stated, encyclopedic. He was brilliant! He was brilliant but he never flaunted what all he knew," a nominator wrote.

Charlie Moir: Moir is an Roanoke Hall of Famer who served as men's basketball coach from 1967-1973. Moir's teams compiled a record of 133-44, had five 20-win campaigns and a winning percentage of 75.1. Under his leadership at RC, the Maroons won five Mason-Dixon Conference Championships, advanced to four NCAA Tournaments and twice won the National Collegiate Athletic Association South Atlantic Regional title (1972-73). In 1972, he led the Maroons to the NCAA College Division National Championship, which was the first for any sport at Roanoke. For his efforts, Moir was named National Association of Basketball Coaches National Coach of the Year, the highest honor ever achieved by a Roanoke College coach. The basketball court in Roanoke's Cregger Center has been named for Moir.

Page Moir: Moir is the winningest men's basketball coach in Roanoke College history. During his 27 seasons at the helm of the Roanoke program, Moir led the Maroons to 428 wins, which is tops among current Old Dominion Athletic Conference coaches. Moir's teams won three ODAC Championships, made six trips to the NCAA Tournament and had five seasons with 20 or more wins. Moir was honored by his peers as the ODAC Coach of the Year in 1994 and again in 2016. In addition, named Moir the 2016 South Region Coach of the Year. Just one of two coaches in the history of the ODAC to reach 300 wins, Moir became the all-time winningest head coach in RC history, passing Maroon Hall of Famer Ed Green in 2003. Of the four-year players to pass through the RC program, the graduation rate over the past 27 years is 100-percent, with 34 players going on to graduate school, two on to law school and six others to medical school. A fixture in the basketball community, Moir was appointed to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Board of Directors in 2002, becoming one of just two Division III coaches on the board. Moir, son of Coach Charlie Moir, was elected President of the NABC and served from 2014-15 in that role.

Mamie Patterson: Patterson was a professor of Spanish at Roanoke from 1962 to 1987. She impacted hundreds of students over that time. Patterson was known to instill a love of learning in her students, always sharing her humor and enthusiasm. An article about her class once said it could be found by following the laughter to the classroom. She and other language professors also hosted dinners to demonstrate Spanish cooking to their students.  Alumni remember Patterson, who died in 2015, as a challenging but caring professor. The Patterson Meeting Room in the Colket Center is named for the beloved professor. Patterson was a member of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia, the South Atlantic Modern Languages Association and the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. She received recognition as a member of Sigma Delta Pi and Pi Delta Phi honorary societies. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and earned a master's degree from the University of North Carolina and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. The Dr. Mamie S. Patterson Travel Scholarship has been established for Spanish and French majors and minors at Roanoke who are participating in a language-intensive international travel course.

Finn Pincus: Pincus served for 25 years as head coach for men's and women's cross country, and track and field at Roanoke College. Pincus, who stepped down as head coach in 2016, guided Roanoke to 11 ODAC team titles in women's outdoor track and field; eight ODAC team championships in women's indoor track and field; two ODAC team crowns in men's cross country and one ODAC team title in women's cross country. Two of his runners won NCAA Division III titles - Casey Smith in the women's outdoor 10,000 meters in 2001 and Robin Yerkes in the women's indoor 400 in 2009. He has been named an ODAC Coach of the Year 21 times, most recently in April 2016 for women's outdoor track and field.

Fran Ramser: Ramser directed the women's varsity and intramural athletic programs at Roanoke College from 1946 to 1977. For 25 years, she coached field hockey teams, on several occasions to state and national recognition. Her 1961 team was undefeated and her 1971 team held a record of 12-1-1.  Many of her players made sectional teams and several received trials on national teams. She coached the women's swim team, and organized and coached the men's swim team, directing them to Little Eight championships in 1958, 1959, 1966 and 1967.

Eberle L. Smith '69: Smith is a former associate professor of social work at Roanoke. Smith, who holds a B.A. from Roanoke and a M.S.W. from Virginia Commonwealth University, joined the Roanoke faculty in 1981. In the 2001-02 academic year, Smith received the Dean's Exemplary Professional Life & Service Award. A former students once wrote: "Service was an inseparable part of the Roanoke experience...Sociology Professor Eberle Smith's passion for the plight of incarcerated youth was palpable as our class toured juvenile detention facilities." After retiring from Roanoke, Smith taught for nine years as an associate professor of social work at Hollins University. Smith was recognized in 2003 with the Roanoke YWCA's Women of Achievement Award in Human Relations.

Donald M. Sutton Sr.: Sutton served as a member of the Roanoke College administrative staff from 1956 to 1983, including 20 years in the student affairs office and several years as director of Alumni Affairs. In 1982, the newly constructed student center was christened as the Donald M. Sutton Student Center and, upon his retirement, he was given "honorary alumnus" status. Sutton's nominator for Maroon Spotlight wrote that "Dean Sutton was and is my mentor. He is one of the most intelligent and caring individuals I have ever met. He loves Roanoke and Roanoke students! I am forever indebted to him for his concern and support throughout the years."

Dr. Matthew M. Wise: Wise had 30 years of dedicated service as a faculty member of Roanoke College's English Department. A scholarship prize was established in his honor to support a senior English major of outstanding academic achievement. Former student Alan A. Block '69 once wrote of Dr. Wise: "I recall sitting in Matthew Wise's Shakespeare class and laughing uproariously at his reading of Bottom in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer's Night Dream.' There was more, but this I remember well: 'I learned to love Shakespeare under his tutelage.'" Another former student, Dr. Virgil A. Cook '59, who nominated Dr. Wise for Maroon Spotlight, submitted the following: "I first met Dr. Wise in a freshman-composition course, where I soon learned that my writing contained too many clichés and two few details to support my central theses. It was in a sophomore, English-literature survey, however, that this gifted teacher made poetry come alive. Shakespeare, John Donne, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, and Keats had never really spoken to me. Dr. Wise's in-depth explication of these poets changed their lines into profound, musical writing that moved me both intellectually and emotionally."