Linda and John Snyder. Courtesy of Roanoke College.

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Roanoke College gets $5 million gift for science center

A 1964 graduate of Roanoke College and his wife have given Roanoke College $5 million that will be used toward construction of a new Science Center.  

Roanoke College alumnus John Snyder and his wife, Linda, said their gift was inspired by John’s fond memories of Roanoke College, respect for President Emeritus Michael Maxey and a belief in the importance of quality science education. 

The planned science center is projected to cost $70 million. The college has raised more than $50 million in cash and pledges to date. The center will house three of Roanoke’s 10 most popular majors: psychology, biology and environmental studies. One-third of all courses on campus will be taught there, and every student will take at least three courses from the programs that will be housed in the center. Most student research will also take place there. 

Following graduation, Snyder worked for several years at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He served as CEO of Louisville-based EPI Corp. for 32 years, expanding it into one of Kentucky’s largest providers of rehab and recuperative inpatient care.

Snyder said that spending his career in a science-based industry only strengthened his belief in the importance of science education, which in turn fueled his decision to donate to the Science Center project. 

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Liberty has record enrollment this year

Liberty University says this fall’s enrollment is its biggest ever, on-campus enrollment hitting a record 15,800 students. Liberty’s online programs enroll 115,000 students for a total of 130,000 students.

These numbers come as college enrollment across the country has fallen slightly. In a statement, Liberty attributed the growth to “Liberty’s unwavering commitment to its biblical foundation and mission, reassuring many parents, alumni, and donors that it will not falter as so many other historic universities that were founded on the Christian faith have. Today, more families are looking for a university like Liberty.”

Last fall, Liberty marked its largest class of new residential undergraduate students (including transfers) at 4,800 students; this year’s incoming class is a close second at 4,600.

The current residential population includes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries, the school said.

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Emily Bowen. Courtesy of Mountain Empire.

Mountain Empire’s Bowen named Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow

The Appalachian Regional Commission has named Mountain Empire Community College Dental Assistant Program Director Dr. Emily Bowen to participate in the 2022-2023 class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute, a leadership and economic development training opportunity for individuals currently living and/or working in one of ARC’s 13 Appalachian states.

As part of her training, Bowen will complete a nine-month curriculum anchored by six multi-day seminars across the Appalachian region focusing on each of ARC’s strategic investment priorities, which aim to strengthen economic and community growth in Appalachia.

In her current role as the Director of Mountain Empire Community College’s Dental Assistant Program., Bowen has developed and implemented a dental assistant curriculum, training a multitude of students who have more than a 90 percent job placement rate in their field. MECC’s program recently expanded to include an advanced DA-II training through a collaborative agreement with Germanna Community College. 

She served as one of the primary organizers of the SWVA Oral Health Summit held in 2021, serves on the Lenowisco Oral Health Partnership as a Coalition Member and Planning Committee Co-Chair and serves on the University of Virginia’s Cancer Center Without Walls Community Advisory Board, working to prevent HPV.

Appalachian Leadership Institute fellows were selected via a competitive application process to reflect the Appalachian region’s wide range of economic development challenges, opportunities, and strategies.

Upon completion of the program, Dr. Bowen will automatically become part of the Appalachian Leadership Institute Alumni Network, a peer-to-peer working group of experts helping foster collaborative solutions that will build a stronger future for Appalachia.

To learn more about the program, visit: To meet the 2022-2023 class of fellows and learn more about how they are working to transform their Appalachian communities, visit:

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Ferrum College professor to hold book signing

Eric Vanden Eykel, associate professor of Religion and Forrest S. Williams Teaching Chair in the Humanities at Ferrum College, will hold a book signing to sign both of his new books — The Magi: Who They Were, How They’ve Been Remembered, and Why They Still Fascinate and Sex, Violence, and Early Christian Texts.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, November 14, 2022, in the Panthers Den in Franklin Hall on campus.