Fun for the Fam: Family Weekend Sept. 20-22

It’s not time yet to pack your bags, but it is time to think about registering to attend Family Weekend, which is set for Sept. 20-22. This event gives you the chance to spend time with your student as well as learn more about the university where they will be spending the next four years (give or take).

Parents and other family members can get to know Longwood better—and spend time with their student—during Family Weekend.

The cost is only $20 per person (students attend free) for a weekend of fun activities on campus, though a few events do have an additional cost. Details are available on the Family Weekend website.

When we say Family Weekend is for the whole family, we mean the WHOLE family.

You can also submit your registration on the website and find information about nearby accommodations. It’s a good idea to go ahead and make your hotel reservations if you’re planning to attend.

Here are a few of the weekend’s highlights:

  • Friday
    • Casino Night with food and cash bar
  • Saturday
      • Exploring downtown Farmville

        Be sure to take some time to explore downtown Farmville.
      • Yoga class
      • State of the University address from President W. Taylor Reveley IV
      • Picnic lunch
      • Activities: volleyball, cornhole, ladder golf and more
    Cornhole is one of the games planned for Saturday afternoon.

    Department open houses

    • Free admission to the Robert Russa Moton Museum
    • Dessert reception sponsored by the Parents Council
    • Entertainment by mind reader, hypnotist and psychic entertainer Robert Channing

For the most up-to-date information, including changes to the schedule of activities, download the Guidebook app and search for Longwood Family Weekend 2019.

You can also call 434-395-2103 if you have questions.

It’s sure to be a fun weekend. We’d love to see you here—and we bet your student would, too!

—Sabrina Brown

Happy 4th of July and Welcome to the New Members of the Lancer Family

Because the Longwood campus is relatively quiet during the summer, Lancer Parent Pipeline doesn’t publish regularly between the end of May and the beginning of August.

But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to welcome the many parents who signed up for the blog during new student orientation last week. Thank you for joining!

Orientation introduces new students and their parents to Longwood and what lies ahead.

We are so excited that your students have chosen Longwood, and we can’t wait for them to arrive on campus next month. They—and you, too—have an incredible journey ahead.

Peer Mentors are a big part of orientation and a great resource for new students.

There are so many opportunities for students to take advantage of here:

Brock Experiences

Brock Experiences are a group of courses that take students throughout the U.S. to explore important issues. This summer students followed the path of the Colorado River as they learned about water rights.

—An incredible variety of student organizations
Intramural and club sports

Intramural sports compete against other teams of Longwood students. Club sports compete against teams from other schools.

—WMLU, our student-run radio station
—The Rotunda, our student newspaper
Music ensembles
PRISM and other research opportunities

PRISM gives students the opportunity to conduct research during the summer alongside faculty members. The program provides housing and a stipend, as well.

And there are many, many more.

Please encourage your student to get involved on campus. I know it can be hard for freshmen—and even students who have been here a year or two—to put themselves out there, but they’ll be so glad they did. They’ll make friends, meet others who share their interests, learn something new and discover their own potential. They may be surprised at how easy it is to connect with other students and faculty here.

College is a place for your students to develop their independence, so it’s fitting that we’re talking about just that on Independence Day. But don’t worry, parents of freshmen, your students will still need you—just maybe in a different way.

If you’re seeing this post as a member of the Lancer Parent Pipeline Facebook group, remember that you can also sign up for a weekly email of posts at: (You can unsubscribe at any time if it doesn’t work for you.)

I hope you and your families have a wonderful 4th of July!

Look for the next Lancer Parent Pipeline post in August.

Sabrina Brown

A Few Reflections on Commencement and the Class of 2019

Where did the time go?

For those of you whose students graduated this past Saturday, I imagine this is a thought that has crossed your mind several times since then.

Wheeler lawn overflows with happy graduates and their families.

Being a part of commencement—even peripherally—has always been one of my favorite things about working at a university: a crowd of excited soon-to-be graduates; happy (and sometimes relieved) families and friends; witty mortarboards; loads of smiles and a few tears. What’s not to love?

You’ll get to meet some of the members of the Class of 2019 in the July issue of Longwood magazine. (If you would like to be added to the magazine mailing list, email me at

Yahoo — all through!
Commencement means smiles all around.

I guarantee you’ll be impressed with how Longwood has prepared them for life after graduation.  Here’s a bit of a sneak preview:
—Two young women are heading off to teach in a remote village in Alaska.
—One student was inducted into the U.S. Army and will be working on a Ph.D. in emerging infectious diseases at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
—Another is already working as a storyboard artist for SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon.

I must admit I see commencement a bit differently now that my own daughter has walked across the stage at her university. It’s one of those occasions that marks an end and beginning, so I’m wondering if we’ll be together next Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m wishing I’d spent more time talking to her about things that matter. I’m wanting to know a little bit more about the person she became during her college experience. And, of course, I’m very excited about what lies ahead for her.

It’s a Longwood tradition for faculty to greet students after they cross the stage.
The identities of seniors who portrayed Longwood’s mascot, Elwood, are revealed at commencement.

So, for those of you whose students have a year or three or four still to go here at Longwood, this is my advice. Resist the temptation to wish for your student’s remaining college years to pass quickly. Instead, savor every experience—the amazing, the not-so-good and the unexceptional. All of these experiences will help your student grow. Spend time with your student when they’re home for a break or on the weekend. Do a little talking and a lot of listening.

Family members get to celebrate, too!

Parent Pipeline is wrapping up for the school year with this post. I will have an additional post coinciding with Orientation, and then resume regular Thursday posts in August.

I hope you have found some useful information here as well as content that makes you feel more connected to your students.

Finally, I would be extremely grateful if you’d share any ideas you have for posts in next year’s Parent Pipeline. This blog is for you, so please let me know what you would find most helpful and/or meaningful. Or you could let me know what your favorite posts were this year.

You can email me at or post your ideas in the comments section on the Parent Pipeline Facebook page at

Have a great summer!

—Sabrina Brown

Ask the Experts: Answers to Some Hard Questions

Campus security, costs and successfully transitioning to college are among the serious and sometimes difficult topics being discussed at colleges and universities today.

Longwood has addressed some common questions related to these topics with the help of the people who work most closely on these issues.

Below are some of the questions we asked these Longwood experts as well as links to the websites where you can find their answers to these questions and more.

Campus Security
Col. Bob Beach, chief of campus police

—Is the Longwood campus safe?
—How does Longwood communicate with students and others during an emergency situation?
—We live in an age of understandable worry about active shooter scenarios in public places like college campuses. What does Longwood do to prepare for such situations?

College Costs
Justin Pope, vice president and chief of staff to President W. Taylor Reveley IV

—Why does college, and Longwood in particular, cost so much?
—What about all those new buildings I see on campus? Are my tuition and fee dollars paying to build them?
—What is Longwood doing to keep tuition increases down?

Transition to College Life
Dr. Emily Heady, senior director of student success and retention

—If you were to list the three biggest obstacles students face in transitioning to college, what would they be?
—What are some things parents should do—and should avoid doing—to help a student transition to college?
—What happens if a student struggles to make friends, or with the college workload, or with academics in general? What support systems do we have?

—Sabrina Brown

I will be on vacation next week, so Lancer Parent Pipeline will return May 23.



Dog Day Afternoon Helps Take the Stress Out of Exam Week

Longwood went to the dogs yesterday afternoon.


Here a dachshund. There a pair of Westies. Several Labradors and retrievers. Some with pedigrees and some without. But all of them intent on giving students a break from the stress of final exams. A total of 37 dogs belonging to faculty and staff were registered to participate in the twice-yearly event, which is known as Study Paws and is organized by the student Therapeutic Recreation Organization (TRO).

Talk about puppy love!

Sophomores Kaitlyn and Molly were among the students who came out for a little canine-induced relaxation.

Molly said she needed a break from preparing for her first exam, which was at 8 a.m. today. Cash (a small poodle mix), Sunny (a Chihuahua mix) and Gizmo (a Pomeranian) gave up lots of hugs and sloppy kisses—just what the doctor ordered.

Gizmo the Pomeranian

Kaitlyn, who was particularly fond of Gizmo, sent her father a text saying she wanted one of the small, fluffy dogs. He wrote back saying he wanted one, too.

Other students giggled and laughed as they took photos with their new furry friends.

Making a new large, furry friend

“Studying for finals is stressful, and this is a great opportunity for students to take a break and decompress while surrounded by puppy love,” said Dr. Ann Bailey, assistant professor in the Therapeutic Recreation Program and faculty sponsor for TRO. “It’s also another unique opportunity for faculty and staff members to have some fun and interact with students outside the classroom.”

This event, like many others on campus, shows off the close-knit family atmosphere at Longwood. Some dogs and their owners are Study Paws regulars, including yellow lab Maggie and her human, Dr. Jake Milne ’99, a sociology professor and organizer of the first event several years ago. Milne was there with his wife, Heather Milne ’99, a staff member in communication studies.

Did someone say “fetch”?

Other staff members who participated included Lauren Whittington and JoDee Stringham from University Marketing and Communications, Paula Ellison from psychology, and Wendy McMillian and Suzanne Stetson from the registar’s office. Among the other faculty members who participated were Dr. Sarai Blincoe, assistant dean for curriculum and assessment, and her husband, Dr. Adam Blincoe, an Honors College faculty member.

The Brock Commons fountain is a great place to cool off—for dogs and humans

Temperatures yesterday approached 90 degrees, but neither the students nor the dogs seemed to mind—not even the Great Pyrenees or the Maremma-Abruzzese sheepdog, huge white dogs that easily weighed 150 pounds. That may have been due to the proximity of the Brock Commons fountain, which provided a great spot to cool off for humans and dogs.

—Lauren Whittington, senior writer in University Marketing and Communications, and Sabrina Brown contributed to this post

Acting Naturally: 60 Students Turn Out To Help With Annual BioBlitz

Earth Day was on Monday, but Longwood celebrated a little early with its annual BioBlitz, a full-on day of nature exploration held this year on Saturday, April 20.

That morning, about 60 Longwood students joined biology and environmental sciences faculty at Lancer Park, where Longwood’s Environmental Education Center—BioBlitz headquarters—is located. Suited up in BioBlitz T-shirts and hip waders, with binoculars, nets and clipboards at the ready, the students had no complaints about getting up early.

Hip waders are standard attire at BioBlitz.
Children were fascinated by the different plants and animals they encountered.

As it got closer to the 9 a.m. starting time, community members began to gather, excited to get going on a guided, down-and-dirty tour of local flora and fauna.

“If you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty—and even if you are—BioBlitz is always fun for the whole family,” says Dr. Sujan Henkanaththegedara, a Longwood biology professor and one of the leaders of the event.

Dr. Sujan Henkanaththegedara (left) is a biology professor and a primary force behind BioBlitz. Carrie Reaver (right) is one of his students.
William Kish (left) is Dr. Henkanaththegedara’s research student.

Before the day was over, the Longwood students and faculty had helped BioBlitz participants to identify and catalog about 240  plant and animal species. Turtles, crayfish, salamanders, insects, flowers and fungi are among “usual suspects” cataloged each year.

The birds look so close!

Back at the Environmental Education Center, “touch tables” gave the 100 adults and children in attendance the opportunity to get an up-close look at both live and preserved specimens of local wildlife. A scavenger hunt rounded out the day’s agenda.

Randy Durren, a lecturer in biology, mans one of several “touch tables,” which gave participants the opportunity to see wildlife up close.

BioBlitz is one of the many ways that Longwood students give of their time to enrich the Farmville community—and that’s what citizen leadership is all about.

Lancer parents have good reason to be proud.

—Sabrina Brown















Eggs-citement in the Air: Egg Hunt Brings Out the Kid in Students

College students officially became adults when they turned 18. But is there still a lot of kid in there?

Today’s campus egg hunt, masterminded by Longwood’s police department, left no doubt about the answer to that question.

Students crowded onto Brock Commons just before noon, soaking up the sun and waiting impatiently for the starting signal. More than 500 eggs were “hidden” in the grass, shrubs and flower beds, most of them filled with candy and a few with slips of paper noting a prize.

In just a couple of minutes, students had scooped up all the eggs on Brock Commons.

When it was “go” time, squeals and cheers rose up from the crowd as students scooped up eggs and cracked them open. One lucky student found the golden egg, which entitled her to a crisp $100 bill.

Another 500 or so eggs were given out to students by officers.

“I haven’t gone to an egg hunt since I was a kid,” said one student, her face lit up with anticipation and a smile.

“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” agreed another.

Mine! No, mine! All’s fair in egg hunting.
It’s more fun to hunt eggs with a friend—or two or three.

LUPD Chief Bob Beach said the goal for the event was to build community between students and the police department.

“We heard the voice of the students that they want a closer relationship with LUPD. We have worked hard on that in the past, but we need to do more,” he said.

LUPD Chief Bob Beach with the winner of $100 golden egg prize.

Previous similar events have included officers “feeding the meters” on High Street—where students often park—during exam week; and a take-a-selfie-with-a-cop contest with prizes.

When weather and staffing permit, officers head to Brock Commons in the afternoon to meet and talk to students, Beach added. Beach also regularly gathers with students for coffee and conversation.

For the egg hunt, candy-filled eggs were donated by Wal-Mart. Athletics, the Barnes & Noble Longwood Bookstore and others donated prizes. Seniors at the event could also register to win a full set of regalia for commencement and a diploma frame.

It was a BYOB event—bring your own bag.

—Sabrina Brown

Largest-Ever Gift of $15 Million Will Help Build New Campus Events Center

If you’ve ever visited the Longwood campus, you’ve likely strolled down Brock Commons, a central mall that replaced a busy city street that once bisected campus.

Hopefully your student has had or will have the opportunity to participate in one of Longwood’s Brock Experiences courses, which take students throughout the U.S. to grapple with issues of the day, such as water rights and immigration.

These transformative changes—and many others—are the work of philanthropists Joan Brock, a 1964 graduate of Longwood, and her late husband, Macon Brock.

Joan Brock ’64

But Joan Brock isn’t finished with transforming Longwood yet.

Yesterday the university announced she had made another gift—at $15 million, the largest in the university’s history—to help fund the construction of a campus events center. The facility, which will seat 2,500 to 3,000 people, will provide not only a place for Convocation, the Honor and Integrity Ceremony, concerts, speakers and other large events but also a new home for Longwood’s Division I men’s and women’s basketball teams.

In making the gift, Mrs. Brock said she wanted to continue repaying a debt to Longwood for its formative impact on her own life, and for introducing her to those who remain her closest friends.

The Joan Perry Brock Center could be complete as early as spring 2022, in time to cap off senior year for our current freshmen.

Find out more about this historic gift and about other ways the Brocks have helped make Longwood the exceptional university your student is experiencing today:

—Sabrina Brown









What a Difference a Year Makes: A Freshman Blossoms at Longwood

One of the best things about working at Longwood is having the opportunity to see the transformational power of the university at work.

My position in University Marketing and Communications doesn’t involve day-to-day—or even weekly—contact with students. So my view of that impact is usually from afar. This year, however, I was lucky enough to be able to see it up close through my work with a group of freshmen who agreed to blog about their first year at Longwood in a project we called My Life As A Freshman, or MLAF.

Not all of the students have stuck with the project, but a few have. It has been so much fun getting to know them, watching them grapple with the challenges of college and seeing them emerge—now almost at the end of their first year—on the other side. It’s been easier for some than others; and it’s been more transformational for some than others. But they all have learned and grown through the process.

One of the freshmen who has truly amazed and surprised me is Brooklynn Weissenfluh.

Freshman Brooklynn Weissenfluh (second from right) with a group of students who volunteered at a Lions Club casino night held at a local retirement community.

When the nine freshmen who’d signed up for MLAF got together at the beginning of fall 2018, Brooklynn seemed a little overpowered by some of the others in the group. They were laughing and talking, giving the appearance of being full of confidence. Brooklynn, a petite young woman with a shy smile, hung back a little, perhaps not quite ready to claim her space in the group.

As the fall semester went on, she seemed to hit her stride a bit. Her posts became more lively and assured as she talked about working with tutors in the Writing Center, making friends and going to activities on campus.

But this spring is when she really seemed to blossom.

She got the job as a resident assistant (RA) that she’d applied for in the fall, saying she wanted to “be a part of something bigger than myself and make a positive impact on the lives of Longwood students” and that she was looking forward to being a role model for the residents in her hall.

Then I heard that she’d been selected to serve on the Honor and Conduct Board next year and that she’d been elected an officer in an organization related to her major. She also had started going to activities hosted by the Catholic Campus Ministry, a joint group with nearby Hampden-Sydney College.

Brooklynn (left) and her friend, Sydney, with Elwood at Relay for Life.

And she’s been volunteering all over, from Relay for Life to a Lions Club casino night at a local retirement community to a food pantry to a fundraiser hosted by a sorority that’s she’s not even a member of.

Was this really the same shy girl I’d met just a few months earlier?

Brooklynn is a perfect example of how students who embrace the Longwood community can find their place socially, academically and as leaders. And she’s not unique—there are so many other students on campus just like her. Longwood truly is a place where young people can find out what they’re capable of and who they are.

I sincerely hope your student is involved at Longwood. A little effort can have great rewards.

If you’d like to read more about the experiences of Brooklynn and the other MLAF students, just go to:

—Sabrina Brown

Beyond the Classroom: Stretching the Boundaries of Learning

At Longwood, learning is much broader than academics, and it can happen anywhere—not just in a classroom or a lab. We’re continually creating activities and experiences that help our students develop into well-informed citizens who care about the future of their communities and beyond. (The photo above is of students who participated in last year’s Big Event.)

A few opportunities that are coming up soon are mentioned below. Spread the word if you see something your student might be interested in!

The Big Event: A Morning of Service
Saturday, March 30, 9 a.m. to noon

Service is at the heart of citizen leadership at Longwood, and our annual Big Event service project makes it easy for students to show they are part of the Farmville community. Each year hundreds of students volunteer for a variety of projects, including yard work, painting and clearing debris. Students can sign up to participate here: The Big Event Sign Up.

Students line up to sign in for their service projects.
Organizations and individuals throughout the Farmville community can request help during the Big Event.

Eco-April Tree Planting
Saturday, March 30, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Studies have shown that in one year a 10-year-old tree absorbs 48 pounds of carbon dioxide. In that same time, an acre of trees absorbs about the same amount of carbon dioxide produced by driving a car 26,000 miles. There are about 650 trees on the Longwood campus, and we’re always working to add more. Each spring, students can learn about the value of trees and contribute to the environmental health of the Longwood and Farmville community by helping plant trees on campus. Students can sign up to participate here: Annual Tree Planting.

Students can help plant trees on the Longwood campus on March 30. More than 50 species of trees can be found on Longwood property.

Sponsored by the Office for Sustainability

Designing A Career: One Artist’s Story
Monday, April 1, 5 p.m.
Bedford Auditorium

If your student is interested in graphic design as a career, this talk should be inspiring. Antonio Alcalá, owner of Studio A in Alexandria and an art director for the U.S. Postal Service Stamp Division, is Longwood’s Rosemary Sprague Visiting Designer. His clients include the National Gallery of Art, National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Alcalá also is an adjunct faculty member at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Sponsored by the Graphic and Animation Design Program

Follow the Money: A Personal Finance Simulation
Tuesday, April 9, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Blackwell Ballroom

This personal finance simulation is designed to give students an accurate look at their current financial situation or their financial outlook after graduation. It’s a way for students to explore the serious business of how to manage their own finances in a fun atmosphere.

Organized by the Center for Financial Responsibility in the College of Business and Economics in partnership with Virginia Credit Union 

Road Trip: The Virginia Holocaust Museum
Thursday, April 18, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The core exhibits at the Virginia Holocaust Museum in Richmond narrate the complex and sobering history of the Holocaust. Visitors are presented with a glimpse into the genocide of 6 million European Jews in the 1930s and ’40s and, more broadly, into the dangers of intolerance.

The Nuremburg Trials were the first international trials of major Nazi war criminals. The Nuremberg Courtroom Exhibit gives visitors the chance to see a full recreation of Room 600 at the Palace of Justice used during the International Military Tribunals, and to experience the gravity of the trials.

Three hundred artifacts and the testimonies of local Holocaust survivors expand on this history, representing the tangible and personal realities of this tragic event. Transportation (via bus) and admission to the museum are free. Faculty may give students an excused absence if it’s for an educational activity. If your student has class this day and they’re interested in participating, they should check with their professor(s).


Sponsored by the Office of Citizen Leadership and Social Justice Education in collaboration with the Jewish Culture Club