Year in Review: Looking Back at Averett in 2021

Posted on December 31st, 2021 by Matt Bell

Through many ups and downs, pivots, changes and fluid situations, Averett University pushed through 2021 full steam ahead.

Without question, COVID-19 was still a factor in campus life. However, students, faculty and staff sought ways to overcome the pandemic’s stronghold and the Averett family is stronger for it.

From overtaking management as the Danville airport’s Fixed Based Operator (FBO), to joining the ODAC, here is a chronological look-back at some of what took place over the course of the past year at Averett.

Averett University to Join ODAC in 2022-23

In March it was announced Averett University had accepted an offer to join the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) after being extended an invitation. Averett, with 17 NCAA sports and three varsity club sports, will become the 15th full-time member of the ODAC on July 1, 2022. Since 1978, the Cougars have been full-time members of the USA South (originally the Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) — the only conference Averett has been affiliated with since the school began NCAA intercollegiate athletics in the 1970s. Check out the full story here.

Averett University to Launch Four New Online Academic Programs, New SIS

After receiving grant funding from the Danville Regional Foundation, the University announced in April the launch of four new academic programs in response to marketplace demands in addition to a new student information system (SIS). The programs slated to begin in 2022 are entrepreneurship and small business operations, healthcare administration, information systems/security, and psychology. The new SIS will provide the necessary technological infrastructure to support this expansion in online programs. Click here for the full story.

Averett School Of Nursing Continues Treasured Tradition, Begins New One

In the midst of COVID-19, Averett’s School of Nursing hosted its first-ever nurse practitioner white coat ceremony, which followed the traditional Nurse Pinning Ceremony for the 2021 nursing graduates. Both ceremonies were held during National Nurses Week on May 7, with 16 students pinned for completion of their Bachelor of Science in nursing degree. A total of eight nurse practitioners received their white coats during the inaugural ceremony, marking the beginning of their advanced practice nursing career. Read the full story here.

Averett University Launches Accelerated Bachelor’s in Nursing Program in Hampton Roads

Averett announced in May the first cohort of students in Hampton Roads had begun classes in a new Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) degree program. The University also launched the new Averett School of Nursing ABSN Learning Center in Norfolk, Va. Through the ABSN program, students are able to achieve their BSN in as few as 16 months with a hybrid schedule. Averett’s accredited ABSN program creates a new professional path for students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees – or with at least 60 non-nursing college credits – to help them shift their career and become a nurse sooner. Students also will apply their skills through clinical rotations at Bon Secours, the University’s health care partner in Norfolk. Learn more by clicking here.

New Law Degree Program Options for Averett Students through Partnership with Appalachian School Of Law

Averett and Appalachian School of Law (ASL) announced a partnership in May to help students achieve a law degree sooner. Students are now able to choose from two academic paths to obtain a law degree, including a three-plus-three or four-plus-three plan. In the three-plus-three dual-degree program, Averett pre-law students who meet certain qualifications will spend three years at Averett in undergraduate study, and receive their baccalaureate degree upon completing the first year of law school. Two years later, they will graduate from ASL with a law degree. Completing both degrees in six years as opposed to seven will save a year’s tuition while preparing them for their entire career in law. A four-plus-three arrangement with preferred admission is also part of the agreement. Click here to learn more.

Averett University Honors 2021 Averett Alumni Award Recipients at Homecoming

At Homecoming in October, three accomplished Averett University alumni and a former trustee were recognized during a presentation with Dr. Franks, and prior to the start of the Homecoming football game. For 2021, the Distinguished Alumni Award recipients were Hermon Mason ’08 and Anthony Swann ’07. Roberta Thayer-Smith ’74 was the Mary Jo Davis Outstanding Alumni Award recipient. This award is presented to graduates who have contributed to Averett and the community at large in a manner similar to long-time alumna and employee Mary Jo Davis. Finally, this year’s Fugate-Davis Women’s Leadership Award recipient was former University trustee Virginia Hamlet from Bassett, Va. Read the full story by clicking here.

Averett University Cuts Ribbon on AU Aviation Services

In October it was announced Averett had taken over as FBO of the Danville Regional Airport during a ceremony which also saw the ribbon cutting for the grand opening of AU Aviation Services. The City of Danville and the University entered into a lease agreement beginning July 1. During the ceremony, inaugural FBO Manager John Earl was introduced to officials and special guests. Read more by clicking here.

Averett President Tiffany Franks Recognized with 2022 Credo Courageous Leadership Award

It was announced in December Dr. Franks was awarded the 2022 Courageous Leadership Award by Credo, a comprehensive higher education consulting firm that specializes in working with independent colleges and universities. This annual award is presented to an independent college president who meets a number of criteria, and Dr. Franks is the ninth honoree. Read more by clicking here.

Averett University Honors First Graduates of Master of Science in Nursing Program at Inaugural FNP Pinning Ceremony

The first graduates of Master of Science in Nursing program were pinned during a ceremony Friday, Dec. 10, a day prior to Commencement. The nurses, who were recognized at Averett’s Riverview Campus, completed two years of academic and clinic requirements to be pinned as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP). In this advanced nursing role, FNPs can serve as primary health care providers, perform examinations and write prescriptions among other duties. Read the full story by clicking here.

Track and Field Announcement

A new athletics program for men and women will debut during the 2022-23 academic year. It was announced in December that varsity men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs will become the latest sports offerings at the University. With that, Averett expands its number of varsity NCAA programs to 21. Read more by clicking here.