Pamela Northam, educator, environmentalist, and First Lady of Virginia, will deliver the Virginia Wesleyan University Commencement Address on May 19, 2018—the first formal graduation ceremony as a university. Pam Northam has taken a leading role in Hampton Roads and Virginia to protect water quality, improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and ensure the Commonwealth’s natural beauty is preserved for generations to come.
She was most recently the Community Outreach Coordinator for Lynnhaven River NOW (LRN), a non-profit environmental group working to improve the water quality of the Lynnhaven River. Along with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, LRN is housed in the Brock Environmental Center—“Virginia’s greenest building”—located in Virginia Beach. Northam oversaw advocacy and outreach programs to homeowners, congregations, and businesses to help them to become more sustainable.
Prior to joining LRN, Northam taught high school biology. Then, recognizing a need for STEM in elementary education, she became a national award-winning science specialist. She worked to develop an inquiry-based, hands-on curriculum for students in grades K through 5. After spending more than 20 years volunteering with school PTAs, she was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Science Museum of Virginia, and is also on the board of the innovative E3 School in Norfolk.
After studying at Baylor University and the University of Texas, she initially specialized in pediatric occupational therapy, where her work included rehabilitation hospitals, teaching hospitals, and special education. She and her husband traveled extensively during his service in the U.S. Army.
“Northam will join the Virginia Wesleyan community to share a special moment with the Class of 2018, their family and friends,” said Virginia Wesleyan President Scott Miller. “It is an honor to conclude the first year of the Greer Environmental Sciences Center with an address by such a distinguished advocate for the natural world.”