Birdsong donates for VWC field

Published 11:15 pm Friday, January 31, 2014

Birdsong Corp. and George and Sue Birdsong have made a gift of $1 million to Virginia Wesleyan College for the Outdoor Athletic Complex’s synthetic turf field.

The Birdsong Corp. and the Birdsong family have been supporters of Virginia Wesleyan throughout the college’s history.

“The Birdsongs have provided tremendous leadership to the college by supporting some of our most important initiatives,” Virginia Wesleyan President Billy Greer said. “This enormously generous gift will support more than 150 student athletes playing men’s and women’s lacrosse and field hockey and will support all of our students who desire to play a variety of intramural sports.”

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Nearly 30 percent of the students at VWC participate in the school’s NCAA Division III athletics program, according to college officials.

This new synthetic turf field will provide them an updated and advanced facility on which to play and train for their respective sports.

The Birdsongs’ contribution was offered as a one-to-one challenge gift, with the family challenging other donors to commit an additional $1 million for the outdoor athletic facility by Dec. 31, 2015.

“The Birdsong Corporation and Sue and I recognize the importance of athletics to building camaraderie, school spirit and loyalty among students and alumni,” George Birdsong said in a press release announcing the gift.

“We hope having this synthetic turf field at VWC will bring to outdoor athletics the same enthusiasm and school spirit that the Batten Center has accomplished for indoor athletics.”

The gift comes in the midst of a strategic planning process the college is using to determine its future direction.

“The Arts Building and the Outdoor Athletic Complex will bring a greater sense of arrival and presence to the entrance of the college and will address the overall modernization and beautification of the campus,” officials stated in a press release about the project.

The Birdsongs’ interest in Virginia Wesleyan stems from their United Methodist faith, according to the release. They are active members of the Main Street United Methodist Church in Suffolk, and George Birdsong has been a trustee of Virginia Wesleyan since 1989.

“Our family has supported Virginia Wesleyan College from its earliest days. We’re pleased to continue our support here at Virginia Wesleyan,” George Birdsong said.

Sue Birdsong attended Longwood College and received her degree from Pan-American Business School in Richmond. She worked for Mills Godwin in his law office in Suffolk and while he served as lieutenant governor and President Pro-Tem of the Senate for the commonwealth of Virginia.

She also served on the Nansemond-Suffolk Academy Board of Directors for 10 years and currently serves on the Virginia Beach Westminster Canterbury Foundation Board.

George Birdsong received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and his law degree from University of Virginia. He is the CEO of Birdsong Corp. in Suffolk. He has been an active member in civic and community affairs, having served on the boards of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges, the Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, the Louise Obici Memorial Hospital Foundation and Hampton Roads United Way.

He received the Distinguished Service Award from Suffolk Jaycees, the Humanitarian Award from the Tidewater Chapter NCCJ and was recognized as Suffolk’s First Citizen.