Birdsongs honored by VWC
Published 3:32 pm Monday, September 5, 2016
Suffolk’s Birdsong family has been bestowed several honors lately by Virginia Wesleyan College, with which the family is deeply connected.
Future social sciences students at Virginia Wesleyan will study at the Birdsong School of Social Science. The name change was announced recently as part of a slate of major changes to the institution’s academic structure.
“It’s a very nice honor,” said George Birdsong, chief executive officer of the Birdsong Corporation, the largest peanut sheller in the country, which is based in Suffolk.
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He is a trustee emeritus of the school, having joined the Virginia Wesleyan College Board of Trustees in 1989 and having served as board chair from 2007-2010.
Birdsong and his wife, Sue, trace their connections with the college back to the groundbreaking for a residence hall on July 18, 1965, where they were in attendance. Gov. Mills E. Godwin Jr., also a Suffolk native, and Sue Birdsong’s father, Major T. Benton, who was mayor of Suffolk, were also in attendance, and George Birdsong’s uncle, Harvard Birdsong, was a key participant and charter member of the Board of Trustees.
“We have a bunch of family folks that have been involved since the beginning,” George Birdsong said recently. “The family has supported it, because it’s Methodist church-related, and it’s the only private school of that nature in the Hampton Roads area.”
Among the Birdsong contributions to the college have been support for construction of Birdsong Hall and Birdsong Field and an endowment that funds the Office of Community Service.
In addition to Harvard, George and Sue Birdsong, Thomas H. Birdsong III and his wife, Jane, are supporters, as is the Birdsong Corp. itself, according to a press release from the college.
George Birdsong also will be the keynote speaker during the Founders Day Convocation at the school on Sept. 8.
“George Birdsong — and the entire Birdsong family — have been instrumental in the life and success of this remarkable college since its founding,” college president Dr. Scott D. Miller stated in a press release. “It is an honor for us to have him as our first Founders Day Convocation keynote speaker.”
Also announced recently were three other renamed schools at Virginia Wesleyan College: The Joan P. Brock School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences; the Susan S. Goode School of Arts and Humanities; and the Batten Honors College.