Leading with integrity
Dr. David W. Bushman
An accomplished academic leader, Dr. David W. Bushman draws upon his extensive experience in higher education administration and in the classroom as President of Bridgewater College. Dr. Bushman became the College’s ninth president in 2013.
During his time at Bridgewater, President Bushman led the development of new academic and co-curricular programs at the College, including the creation of the Center for Engaged Learning, academic schools to support the College’s academic departments in the creation of new majors and programs of study, May Term, a new advising structure for first-year students, and Eagles Engage—a student life curriculum that is focused on learning and growth outside the classroom. Dr. Bushman oversaw the College’s launch of graduate programs, with BC’s first master’s degree program in 2017. He led the College through an inclusive, comprehensive process to create Bridgewater’s current strategic plan—The Vision for Our Future: Strategic Plan 2025. Many of the goals in that plan are underway or have already reached completion under Dr. Bushman’s direction, including the development and launch of a new brand, messaging platform, and marketing plan for the College, as well as the undertaking of a Strategic Resource Allocation process by which the College collectively determined which programs to prioritize and expand in the coming years.
In his time at the helm, Dr. Bushman has successfully piloted the rejuvenation and expansion of the campus physical plant, including the creation of a centralized Department of Student Life and student gathering space in the Kline Campus Center and, most notably, the planning and construction of the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons. President Bushman has been an active leader in fundraising initiatives throughout his tenure at Bridgewater College, securing over $55 million in philanthropic support for Nininger Hall, endowed scholarships, high-impact learning practices (such as The Research Experience @ Bridgewater), and the complete reimagining of the library to become the John Kenny Forrer Learning Commons.
While at BC, President Bushman has served in leadership capacities in a variety of higher education groups including Chair of the Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia and Chair of the President’s Council of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).
Dr. Bushman came to BC in June 2013 from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md. where he was the founding dean of the university’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics. In this role, he oversaw numerous academic programs and new academic program development as well as strategic and communications planning and fundraising for the school.
Prior to leading Mount St. Mary’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics, Dr. Bushman served as President of Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C. While at Lees-McRae, Dr. Bushman oversaw the college’s successful bid for re-affirmation of accreditation from Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and developed and implemented a new strategic plan for the institution. During his time at the helm, Lees-McRae engaged in a number of significant campus renovation projects, implemented curricular and co-curricular enhancements, and increased its first-year student retention rate significantly.
Before joining Lees-McRae in 2004, Dr. Bushman served in a variety of roles at Mount St. Mary’s, including Dean of Academic Services, Director of Assessment, Chair of the Department of Science and Associate Professor of Biology. Dr. Bushman earned his bachelor of science in biology summa cum laude from Loyola College in Maryland. He graduated from the University of Maryland with both his master of science and doctorate in entomology. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Dr. Bushman worked for several years in private industry as a research biologist and research fellow. He has been published in the field of entomology as well as undergraduate science education.
Greetings from Bridgewater College! To our prospective students, parents, alumni and friends, I’m grateful we’re on your mind. Our website offers a window on the life of the College through which you can explore the latest news and events at Bridgewater. As with any window, though, the view is not complete – I hope you’ll visit campus and experience all that Bridgewater College has to offer.
I’m often asked to speak about the mission of the College and our commitment to excellence in the education of our students. I relish these opportunities because I know firsthand the transformative power of the Bridgewater experience, and it is something very much worth sharing. We intentionally design the student experience here to focus on connections—with inspiring classmates, with our faculty of scholars and mentors, with big ideas, and with the broader world.
Because of these connections, BC is a place where students can be themselves, let down their guard and know that they belong. But we ask important things of our students, too. To be there for others, to talk with—not at—one another. It’s this shared sense of responsibility and accountability that reflects our heritage and makes life at Bridgewater engaging and complete. Students participate in energizing and thought-provoking classroom discussions. They see the world from different perspectives. And, in the process, they make some of the most meaningful friendships of their lives.
While we are a relatively small community of 1,500 students, the opportunities available to our students are big. Our students conduct research with faculty, study abroad during May Term, become excellent public speakers, participate in internships around the region, and discuss and learn from the different perspectives of their diverse peers. Connections guide everything we do at Bridgewater, inside and outside the classroom. These connections ensure that our students graduate from BC prepared and courageous, with a sense of purpose that prepares them for professional accomplishment and personal fulfillment. They are ready to make a difference, in their communities and in the world.
I hope you will join us and witness for yourself the power that comes from the relationships and connections we build here.
With warm regards,
David W. Bushman, Ph.D.
Dr. Leona A. Sevick
Executive Vice President and Provost
Dr. Leona Sevick joined Bridgewater College on July 1, 2016. She came to the College from Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, where she served as Associate Provost and Associate Professor of English. During her nine years at Mount St. Mary’s, she directed and helped design the university’s core curriculum, developed and implemented successful student retention programming and played a central role in the university’s successful bid for reaccreditation.
Prior to joining Mount St. Mary’s, Sevick served as Assistant Academic Dean and Assistant Professor of English at Notre Dame of Maryland University. She also taught for seven years at McDaniel College.
Sevick has a Ph.D. and an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Maryland. She received her bachelor’s in English from McDaniel College.
A prolific writer, Dr. Sevick is an award-winning poet and is a member of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs and Phi Beta Kappa.
Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
Stephen Bright began his tenure at Bridgewater College in the fall of 2021, with more than 30 years of experience as a financial manager, the last 20 in higher education. Prior to joining BC, he was Vice President for Business and Finance at University of Lynchburg (Va.).
During his 14 years at Lynchburg, he oversaw fiscal operations, human resources, physical plant, auxiliary operations, and information technology for the university. Prior to his time at the University of Lynchburg, Steve served as Vice President for Finance and Administration on Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia.
Prior to his work in higher education, Steve worked in finance and operations for a variety of not-for-profit organizations. He earned his master of public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in New York and a bachelor of arts, Phi Beta Kappa, from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Dr. Leslie M. Frere
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
Dr. Leslie Frere began her tenure at Bridgewater College on July 1, 2016. Before coming to Bridgewater College, she was Vice President for Student Development at Saint Joseph’s College in Indiana.
During her ten years of increasing responsibility at Saint Joseph’s College, she provided supervision to all areas of a successful Student Development Department, focusing on professional development training for the staff and acting as a “student advocate” at all times.
Prior to taking over leadership of student development at Saint Joseph’s College, Dr. Frere served as Director of Counseling and Health Services at Saint Joseph’s College. Previously, she worked in counseling at the University of Tennessee and West Virginia University.
Dr. Frere has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology and an M.A. in counseling from West Virginia University. She received her bachelor’s in psychology from The College of William and Mary.
Director of Athletics
Curt Kendall has been Bridgewater College’s Director of Athletics since 2000.
Kendall retired as the College’s head baseball coach in 2019 after 34 seasons. Kendall led the Eagles to 12 ODAC tournament championships and 13 regular-season titles. He has amassed an overall record of 775 wins, 505 losses and 10 ties. His 775 victories rank No. 12 among active coaches in Division III and No. 24 all-time in the Division III ranks. He has been selected as the ODAC Coach of the Year six times – 1986, 1988, 2001, 2002, 2011 and 2013.
The Eagles made 10 appearances in the NCAA Division III national tournament under Kendall’s guidance. Kendall is an active member of the American Baseball Coaches Association and has participated on the NCAA Division III South Region selection committee in previous seasons. He has also served as chairman for the ABCA Division III South Region All-American selection committee and was the region’s representative on the 1997 Division III Championship Game committee.
A 1981 graduate of Bridgewater College, Kendall holds a master of science in education from James Madison University.
Vice President for Marketing and Communications
Abbie Parkhurst is the College’s Vice President for Marketing and Communications. Parkhurst graduated summa cum laude with an English degree from Washington and Jefferson College and received a master of science in broadcast journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Following graduate school, Parkhurst worked as a television reporter in Central New York.
Prior to joining the College in 2011, Parkhurst held positions in marketing, communications and public relations at Syracuse University and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center in Syracuse, New York.
Parkhurst oversees public and media relations, marketing, digital media, branding and design for the College. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Vice President for IT and CIO
Kristy Kane Rhea is the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer and is responsible for the management and security of the College’s academic, administrative and integrated technological assets and infrastructure.
Rhea adds a wealth of institutional knowledge to senior College leadership, as she has spent the entirety of her career serving the College in increasingly progressive roles. She earned her bachelor of science from Bridgewater College in 2002 and master of science in Education in Learning Design and Technology from Purdue University in 2014.
Rhea provides leadership to many operational and strategic initiatives on campus. She is a collaborative campus partner and trusted leader who engages her position to find efficiencies and opportunities with a focus on strategically advancing the institution.
Michael A. Post
Vice President for Enrollment Management
Michael Post is Bridgewater College’s Vice President for Enrollment Management. Post holds a B.S. in psychology from Mount St. Mary’s University and an M.S. in counseling from Shippensburg University.
Prior to joining Bridgewater in the summer of 2018, Post served as the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Mount St. Mary’s University. Throughout his career, Post has held a number of roles in enrollment, financial aid, student life and residence life.
Post oversees the offices of admissions and financial aid. He is a member of numerous collegiate professional organizations associated with admissions and financial aid, including the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers.
Meg Flory Riner
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Meg Flory Riner is the College’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Riner holds a B.A. in Speech Communication from James Madison University and a fundraising and development certificate from the University of Richmond.
Riner has been in the development and fundraising profession for 21 years, first beginning as a Grants Specialist for James Madison University. Most recently, Riner served the three foundations of Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System, prior to joining the College in 2014. She has consistently advanced in the field, succeeding in securing millions in philanthropic contributions for higher education, nonprofit, and healthcare organizations.
Riner oversees development, advancement services, and alumni engagement and campus events at the College and has been previously nominated by the President of the College to serve in leadership roles across campus including serving as a co-chair for The Vision for our Future: Strategic Plan 2025. Riner is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and participated in the 2022 – 2023 Senior Leadership Seminar for the Virginia Network for Women in Higher Education.
Board of Trustees for the College
The Bridgewater College Board of Trustees consists of 29 active members, including the President of the College. The board of trustees has responsibility for the management and control of Bridgewater College and its affairs.
The board has two regular meetings each year and special meetings as required. Due to the College’s historic association with the Church of the Brethren, the Board invites nominations of representatives of the six southeastern districts of the Church.
D. Bruce Christian
Chair of the Board
Bruce Christian is Chairman Emeritus of N.B. Handy Company, a wholesale distribution company with locations from Maryland to Florida. Prior to this position, he was Vice President of Human Resources for fifteen years.
Christian received his AB degree in Latin American Studies from William & Mary in 1973. His graduate work was completed at Tulane University where he received a Shell Foundation Fellowship for research study in Mexico.
Prior to his election as Chair, Christian chaired the standing committee on Institutional Advancement. He is also a member of the BC Investment and Executive Committees.
In addition to his service on the Bridgewater College Board of Trustees, he also currently serves on the boards of the Commonwealth Alliance for Rural Education, of which he is a former chairman, and the Woodberry Forest School Board of Trustees. Christian also served as Executive Director of the Old City Cemetery Museums and Arboretum in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Christian is a member of the James Blair Society and the Wren Society at William and Mary and chairs the Council of Arts & Sciences. He is a former trustee of the W&M Foundation where he served as secretary. He was co-chair of the Class of ’73 25th Reunion Gift Committee. Christian completed two terms with the Libraries Board where he was vice chair and head of the Development Committee, as well as serving on the Alumni Association Board. He was a member of the National Campaign Committee for the Campaign for William and Mary. He received the Alumni Medallion in 2013.
Christian lives in Lynchburg. with his wife, Spas. They have three children. Their son David is a member of the BC class of 2006, and his wife Caitlin graduated in 2007.
Officers of the Board
D. Bruce Christian, Chair
Dr. David W. Bushman, President
Donna P. Walker, Vice Chair
Mark A. Sherman, Secretary
Dr. Leona A. Sevick, Assistant Secretary
Steve Bright, Treasurer
D. Cory Adamson
Andrew B. Agee
David W. Bushman
D. Bruce Christian
Andrew P. Grossnickle
Jennifer L. Hedrick
Falls Church, Virginia
Hope H. Hickman
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Lawrence M. Johnson
Michael K. Kyles
J. Allen Layman
Cheryl M. Mascarenhas
Nathan H. Miller
Paul E. Mundey
Wilfred E. Nolen
Justin E. Pruett
Bonnie F. Rhodes
Denise Eller Saunders
Durham, North Carolina
Mark A. Sherman
Ashley B. Smith
Robert I. Stolzman
Providence, Rhode Island
Donna P. Walker
James H. Walsh
G. Benjamin Wampler
Dewey M. Williard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Kathy G. Wright
David A. Young
G. Steven Agee
Nancy M. Bowman
Pasco M. Bowman, II
Kansas City, Missouri
Violet S. Cox
Mensel D. Dean, Jr.
William S. Earhart
Carl R. Fike
Yancey W. Ford Jr.
A. Wesley Graves VI
James L. Keeler
Marion E. Mason
F. Gary Osborne
Anne M. Reid
Ronald E. Sink
Blue Ridge, Virginia
Rodney I. Smith
Barbara B. Stoltzfus
Mount Crawford, Virginia
James L. Wilkerson
Alumni Association Liaison