Norris among 73 Wayland graduates
PLAINVIEW – Virginia Norwood was one of the first employees in the Advancement Office on Monday morning. It was her final Monday as a student worker, but arriving early wasn’t unusual for Norwood who has shown dedication to all of her responsibilities while in school.
On Saturday, those responsibilities will come to an end and Norwood will open a new chapter in her young life when she crosses the stage in Harral Memorial Auditorium as a graduate of Wayland Baptist University. Norwood is one of 73 graduates tentatively scheduled to participate in Commencement at 2 p.m.
A business major from Alamogordo, N.M., Norwood is the daughter of Kevin and Kathy Norwood. She has been an active member of the student body while at Wayland. Along with her current job in the Advancement Office, Norwood has previously worked in the Office of Graduate Studies, and the Office of the President. She has served as president of the Council of Student Organizations, a group made up of the presidents of each student organization on campus. She was a member of Enactus, an organization for business students, and she participated on Wayland’s Relay for Life team. To top it off, Norwood was a three-year member of the Wayland track and field team, and played on the women’s soccer team for two years.
And she still managed to earn her degree in three-and-a-half years.
Norwood chose Wayland over the University of New Mexico after visiting campus with her mother. She said talking with then track and field coach Rohan Thompson and having the opportunity to run track helped her decide to come to Wayland.
“[Coach Thompson] started talking to me about all of the things I could do here, like get to nationals,” Norwood said. “He mentioned the small classrooms and how the professors would work with me and that was really appealing to me. And the campus was beautiful.”
Norwood made it to nationals in 2014, competing in the triple jump. Her personal best in the event was 37 feet, 1 inch.
The summer before her senior year in high school, Norwood applied at Wayland as an accounting student, but a high school teacher piqued her interest in another area of business.
“I had an amazing economics teacher and he just got me interested in economics,” she said. “I came here and majored in economics and finance. The finance part was still the numbers that I like. I’m very numbers oriented. The economics part was from the interest I got my senior year in high school.”
Norwood is going to put her degree and business interests to work right away. She has been accepted to the Enterprise Rent-A-Car management training program in Albuquerque and will start in January. She said she will spend six months in intensive training with the organization, spending two months at three different location in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe area. Students completing the training will then advance, based on a ranking among their peers.
“I’m going to be ranked with all the other management trainees in the region,” Norwood said. “If I perform in the top third percentile for three of the six months, then I can get promoted.”
Norwood said she hopes to manage a store in the future, but knows the training will be difficult.
“They say it is the equivalent of earning your master’s degree because they are trying to throw every possible situation at you in those six months,” she said. “They say it’s going to be really hard, but it is easy after you get through the training.”
And while she is excited about the opportunity, right now she is focused on Saturday’s graduation. The ceremony will stream live at wbuathletics.com/watch/ beginning at 1:45. A reception will follow the ceremony in the Pete and Nelda Laney Student Activities Center where graduates can mix and mingle with friends, classmates, family and Wayland faculty and staff.