Presidential Assistant/Associate Program Announced

09-10-2015

President Scott D. Miller announced a new program Sept. 8 designed to foster leadership and responsibility in Virginia Wesleyan students. The Presidential Assistant/Associate Program provides an opportunity for students to work directly with Dr. Miller and the Office of the President on projects that support the mission and purpose of Virginia Wesleyan College. Among the students’ projects and responsibilities are assistance with presidential communication, legislative research, social media, student leadership programs, Society for Collegiate Journalists, athletics and recreation, walkabouts, Greek life, diversity, presidential archives, and more. Dr. Miller instated a similar program at Wesley College in 1998 during his tenure as president. He’d recently served on the Joint Civilian Orientation Council at the Pentagon by invitation of then Secretary of Defense William Cohen. As part of that program, he traveled the country with Pentagon officials visiting various military installations. “I observed talented 18 to 22 year olds exhibiting tremendous leadership in critical areas and operating multi-billion dollar pieces of equipment,” Dr. Miller said. “Surely, if the military could train and trust college-aged individuals with this tremendous level of responsibility, higher education could and should do the same.” He established the Presidential Assistant/Associate Program at Wesley that fall and later continued the program at Bethany College during his eight-year presidency. President’s Assistants work eight hours per week through the College’s work-study program. They typically do not receive academic credit, unless arrangements are made to complete a departmental internship. Most President’s Assistants are appointed for the academic year and can be re-appointed for additional years. The first Virginia Wesleyan College President's Assistants are Connor Pederson, a junior psychology major from Corapeake, North Carolina; and Mario Thourogood, a junior business major from Virginia Beach. After service for one full academic year, Pederson and Thourogood will be eligible for promotion to President's Associates. “I look forward to growing this program at Virginia Wesleyan the way I have utilized it in the past,” says Dr. Miller. “It truly is a win-win: meaningful employment for students and assistance with important work for the Office of the President.”