The Professors of the Semester Fall 2019

Buena Vista, Va.—Southern Virginia University students nominated Assistant Professor of Music Mackenzie Romriell and Associate Professor of Economics Zebulen Riley as the Fall 2019 Professors of the Semester. In a forum held in their honor, Professors Romriell and Riley told their stories, gave advice and shared why they love to teach at Southern Virginia University.

Romriell focused her address on the changing expectations we have for our lives. Drawing on examples from her own life and evolving expectations of career, family and life, Romriell encouraged students to embrace unexpected change.

“I believe that one of biggest lies being told to us today is deeply embedded within a truth,” Romriell explained. “The truth is that you are enough. The lie is that you don’t have to be anything more than you are right now.

“When we stop growing, we stop living,” she continued. “We have the potential to become anything we want. I am proof that life can be beautiful, even when it is unexpected.”

As she concluded, Romriell shared her gratitude for the unexpected changes in her life that led her to teach at Southern Virginia University.

“This is such an amazing place to be,” Romriell said. “I have a wonderful family, great friends, brilliant colleagues and the best students.

“I love my job,” continued Romriell. “I never expected that I would be calling this place home. Thank you for taking part in [changing] my expectations.”

Following Romriell, Riley spoke about the reasons he loves teaching economics at Southern Virginia University.

“Teaching here is by far the most fun I have ever had in a classroom,” Riley said. “The finest students I have ever taught have been at Southern Virginia University. Our students want to learn, they want to wrestle with ideas and they want to be challenged and problem solve.

“Another reason I love teaching at Southern Virginia University is our open and unabashed love for our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ,” he continued. “I have been spiritually blessed and my own faith surely strengthened by being a part of this University these last few years.”

In closing, Riley expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside fellow Southern Virginia University’s professors, whom he described as some of the best in the world.

“Thanks to our dedication to small class sizes and our faculty’s passion for teaching and learning and it’s student-centered focus, students at Southern Virginia University have greater lift and launch potential than most of their peers at other institutions.”