Category Archives: Virginia

Former Marlin Chronicle editor, ’97, revered after fatal accident


Editor in Chief

Supermom. Committed. Magnificent as a person, parent and student.

With so much admiration, Jennifer Bush Lawson, class of 1997, truly was the epitome of the type of graduate Virginia Wesleyan aspires to develop.

On Feb. 24, Lawson died in Arlington from injuries sustained in a traffic accident. The legacy she left on this college and her community will continue to positively influence the lives of so many people.

“She was a beautiful person, very humble and never judgmental,” said alumni Kristen Winkler Cayton, also class of 1997. “She was genuinely kind to every person she met.”

Lawson, fondly known on campus as Jenn Bush, excelled as Editor in Chief of the Marlin Chronicle in the mid-1990s.

“We bonded while spending many hours in the old Marlin Chronicle office that was in Village I,” said Cayton, who also worked for the student-run newspaper. “We worked really hard to make the paper the very best it could be at that time, and we had fun doing it.”

A journalism major, Lawson graduated in 1997 with Summa Cum Laude honors. She began her career as a media relations specialist at the Association of American Medical Colleges. Lawson then worked for Edelman Public Relations before becoming a senior associate at Schmidt Public Affairs in Alexandria.

“Jenn was beyond an outstanding student,” said former Marlin Chronicle advisor and Professor of Journalism, Dr. William Ruehlmann. “She was an outstanding individual. She had a giving heart and a laughing spirit.”

Lawson, 39, is survived by her husband, Neal Lawson, and their three young children.

“Her examples of moral courage, unswerving citizenship, faithfulness to family and instinctive support of the underdog remain encouragements to all who knew her, and we will never, never forget her,” said Ruehlmann.

“She was a wonderful friend, more like a sister to me, and she was an incredible mom,” said Cayton. “I will cherish the time we had together, and it all started at Virginia Wesleyan.”

Norfolk slated for outlet mall


News Editor

Nike, The North Face, Michael Kors. These are just some of the many designer brands that have outlets in Williamsburg. Soon, these brands could call Northampton Boulevard home. In January, Simon Property Group Inc., the country’s largest owner of malls and outlet centers, announced plans to redevelop the Lake Wright Golf Course property and transform it into Simon’s second Premium Outlets mall in Hampton Roads.
As of Feb. 6, Simon had not announced any specific retailers. However, Wesleyan students have their opinions about what should be included.
“Having an outlet mall so close is really exciting!” said freshman Taylor Simon. “I would love to see outdoorsy kind of stores like The North Face or L.L. Bean.”
According to Simon Property Group Inc.’s proposal, the company plans to invest about $75 million into building the 90-store mall. The project would bring 800 permanent jobs and 300 construction jobs to the area.
“I think these outlets will be great for students,” said Director of Tutoring Genai Hill. “I myself am not a big outlet mall shopper, but I think the job opportunities will be wonderful for students who are looking for work close by.”
This project will be the most significant retail development in Norfolk since Macarthur Mall was built in 1999. Construction is slated to begin in August of this year and to be completed in August of 2015.
“We are already in construction mode around here,” said Hill. “We might as well just keep on going for another year!”
However, not all students are excited about having another mall so close to campus.
“I do like the idea, but we have JANAF right around the corner of the school and I think it is counterproductive,” said sophomore Erin Combs. “I mean it all really depends what they put in there. I just feel like everywhere else is already so close.”
Aside from the mall itself, Simon Property Inc. plans on creating up to 65 acres of green space, to include at least two retention ponds, walking trails, a possible amphitheater to host open-air music concerts, picnic areas and boat rentals.
“When I think outlet mall, I tend not to think about green space at all,” said junior Kelly Jacobson. “Setting aside an area for human use is still less beneficial to the environment than letting it be on its own in its natural state, untouched. It could go both ways. From an environmental perspective, nothing good comes from malls. But, it is better than just building a mall and not thinking of the environment at all.”
Regardless of students’ opinions, the outlets are coming. More information about retailers will be printed as it becomes available.

Marlins rock the vote

Students pose for a photo with Bob the Marlin during the Marlins Rock the Vote event.

Staff Writer

Freshmen did not just gather together in front of Village 1 on Aug. 21, 2013 for food and drinks, carnival rides and a live band. They also had the opportunity to start exercising their civic duty by registering to vote. At the Freshmen Festival there was a Marlins Rock the Vote table that gave students, mainly freshmen, the opportunity to register.
The voter registration initiative was organized through the Election Engagement Committee, made up of faculty, staff and students. However, the idea first came about a year ago through VWC’s newest sorority.
“Zeta Phi Beta had an interest in doing a voter registration drive,” said Diane Hotaling, director of the Community Service Office.“Zeta Phi Beta partnered with AAUW [American Association of University Women] to run the drive that was overwhelmingly successful.”
Because of the drives last year, the Community Service Office gained great resource in alumnus Meaghan Groah.
“[The Campus Election Engagement Committee] wound up with a political science intern, Meg Groah, who came on board to help us ensure that this was embedded in life [at] Virginia Wesleyan,” said Hotaling.
Groah’s job as intern was to organize and manage the Rock the Vote event. According to junior Mindy Bertram, a member of the Election Engagement Committee and volunteer at the Rock the Vote event, “none of it would have happened without Meg.”
The event was considered a success according to the freshman that participated.
“I think it went well because I heard a lot of people signed up to vote,” said freshman Nikki Nedwick. “Why not sign up? It was a quick and easy process.”
The event staff also thought it went well.
“It went so good,” said Bertram. “I think we engaged the freshman class right when they got on campus.”
Overall, 83 students were registered in a roughly two hour time span, and it is possible that number will grow as the semester goes on.
This is not the only event the Election Engagement Committee is planning this semester.
“There is an event on September 19,” said Bertram. “[The event is] intertwined with the FYE classes.”
This event focuses on voter education. Students will be able to practice using voting machines and other methods to get students comfortable with voting by Election Day.
“We are also doing a faculty panel [later in the semester,]” said Bertram. “They are going to have a debate on the issues in the Governors election.”
The Virginia gubernatorial election will be held on Tuesday Nov. 5. The faculty panel is an informative session with the purpose of fully informing students before they cast their vote.
Some students think Rock the Vote should be done every year.
“I definitely think it should, because before coming into college I wasn’t as aware of this and I didn’t think to sign up to vote. So, I think it is good thing that they had that service available.”
The Election Engagement Committee has already made students more aware of the election process and continues to improve student participation in elections. Although the Rock the Vote event was only the first step of a strategic plan to fully inform student voters, it was a significant start to getting students in the habit of voting and making them able to say,

“I am a Marlin, and I vote.”