August is always a special time on campus as we prepare for the return of our Marlins. This year feels especially exciting as we plan a semester filled with fun new activities and Marlin traditions, something we've been unable to do for over a year. Work crews are busy with construction and renovations on campus to help make this year the best it can be. Soon Work & Learn students will arrive to help us further prepare our classrooms and facilities for a new semester.
I'm pleased to announce a new member of the Marlin family—Mary Ryberg will become the Vice President for Finance, effective September 7. Mary comes to VWU with 22 years of senior-level financial management experience, most notably at the Illinois College for Optometry. She holds both the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) designations and earned a master’s degree in accounting with a graduate credential in forensics and fraud along with a master’s degree in information systems, all from Roosevelt University in Chicago. We look forward to welcoming her to campus soon.
We've made several other important announcements this past month including our newest class of Batten Honors College students and our membership in the New American Colleges and Universities (NACU). We welcomed rising high school juniors and seniors to campus for Virginia Private College Week. Current students participated in a statewide heat mapping study, thanks to a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges.
VWU continues to meet the rising challenges of higher education and is actively promoting the doubling of the Pell Grant at a national level. This kind of federal support will make college aspirations for many low-income students more attainable. Additionally, we've created VWU First, a resource for first-generation college students and their families.
We can't wait to have all of our Marlin students back with us soon.