Annie Wimbish. Courtesy of Averett University.
Annie Wimbish. Courtesy of Averett University.

Here’s a round-up of news briefs from around Southwest and Southside. Send yours for possible inclusion to

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Averett University names new board chair, first woman of color in that position

Averett University has named alumna and seven-year Trustee Dr. Annie Wimbish ’81 as Chair of the Averett Board of Trustees – the first woman of color to serve in the role. 

Wimbish has been an educator across the South for nearly 40 years, serving in roles from teacher assistant to superintendent of schools in four states – Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina and Mississippi. She has been a senior associate with the Schlechty Center for Leadership and School Reform and now continues to prepare, develop and support leaders with the Leadership Solutions Group, LLC.  

An Averett Trustee since 2015, Wimbish has held several Board leadership positions including serving on and chairing the Academic and Student Affairs Committee and the Governance Committee. She began her role as Chair of the Board this July 1, leading the almost 30-member Board in her first full Board meeting as Chair on Averett’s Main Campus this month. 

She was the first female African American to serve as a superintendent in Hattiesburg Public School District, where she was named as one of “Mississippi’s Top Business Women of the Year” by Mississippi Business Journal, and was named “Mississippi Administrator of the Year” by the Mississippi Association of Office Professionals. She is the author of “Rubber Bands on My Socks: The Reflections of a Sharecropper’s Daughter – Family, Poverty, Potential and Progress,” and is published in the American School Board Journal with the article “Who Not to Hire:  A Superintendent Reflects.”

The Halifax County native earned her Bachelor of Science degree in education from Averett in 1981. Committed to lifelong learning, she later received her Master of Education (Curriculum and Instruction) and an Education Specialist degree (Supervision and Administration) from the University of Virginia, and a Doctorate of Education in educational leadership from Fayetteville State University.  

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Carilion gets $250,000 gift to honor former doctor and educator

Former Carilion Chief Executive Officer Tom Robertson and his wife, Sue, have given $250,000 to establish a fellowship training program at Carilion Clinic in honor of Charles L. Crockett, M.D. For more than three decades Dr. Crockett served as director of medical education at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, overseeing the development of fully accredited residencies in a half-dozen specialties with 100 residents each year. (Full disclosure: Carilion is one of our donors but donors have no say in news decisions; see our policy).

Dr. Crockett, a hematologist, came to Roanoke Memorial in 1967 from the University of Virginia, where he was assistant dean for continuing education and associate professor of internal medicine.  He died in 2001 at the age of 78.

“He recognized from day one the potential of education to set Roanoke Memorial apart,” said Tom Robertson, who retired in 2001 after 15 years as Carilion’s CEO, in a statement. “It is extremely rare for hospitals not affiliated with universities to have such a robust training program.”

Today, Carilion offers 29 nationally accredited graduate medical education programs. They include 13 residencies and 16 fellowships involving 340 trainees. Following medical school, physicians continue their training through residency programs. Fellowships provide the opportunity for advanced training in a specialty or subspecialty.

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Effects of Obesity is topic of Dec. 2 Zoom seminars by nutrition expert

A nutrition expert from the University of Indiana-Bloomington will give two talks via Zoom on Friday, December 2, on the causes and effects of obesity. Dr. David Allison’s two presentations are being sponsored and hosted by the Greenbrier Valley Chapter of Sigma Xi, Jackson River Governor’s School and Mountain Gateway Community College.

Dr. Allison’s first talk, “The Myriad Contributors to Obesity: Exploring the Roads Less Traveled,” begins at 9 am. The second, “Living Large: The Effects of Obesity, Body Fat, Food Intake and Changes on Aging and Longevity” begins at noon. Both will be available on Zoom.

Dr. Allison is Dean, Distinguished Professor and Provost Professor at the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health. He has been continuously funded by the NIH as a principal investigator for over 25 years. Much of his research, teaching and writing focuses on promoting rigor and transparency in scientific research and communication. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including a research achievement award from the Obesity Society and the National Science Foundation. Recently he was awarded a $15 million in philanthropic funding to serve as principal investigator of Aegis, a nationally vital COVID-19 immunity study.

For anyone interested in joining the 9 am Zoom presentation, the meeting ID is 884 3452 9242. The passcode is 012137. The meeting ID for the noon Zoom presentation is 862 7946 7721. The passcode is 319824.  The call-in number for both is (301) 715-8592.

For more information contact JRGS Director Eddie Graham at (540) 863-2872 or email