Students and faculty at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise were saddened to learn of the death of professor Betty Humphreys over the summer. Humphreys was the faculty’s oldest member, and began her work at the college in 1968. She died in June.
Her position as Grand Marshal involved the symbolic duty of carrying the UVa-Wise mace and preceding the chancellor at all formal academic events. Humphreys remained an associate professor of business, active in teaching, until the time of her death.
Humphreys saw many changes at the college during her time here, including an almost complete change of the landscape.
“Over her long career, I believe she did much to shape the character of the college and of the business program, in particular,” said Provost Sanders Huguenin. “She loved to teach and was still teaching one course online at the time of her death. I know that the connections that she made with students changed many lives for the better. She was opinionated, but patient with both students and colleagues. She worked very hard, both on her teaching and her professional activities, but she was usually humble about her accomplishments.”
After Humphreys’ death, the position of Grand Marshal went to Michael O’Donnell. O’Donnell was unable to perform the position at convocation and the duties were temporarily given to the next senior faculty member, Dr. Garrett Sheldon. Sheldon, who began teaching at the college in 1983, was very fond of Humphreys.
Sheldon, who began teaching at the college in 1983, was very fond of Humphreys.
“I knew Betty for many years,” Sheldon said. “She had an incredibly bright and quick intellect. She was very dedicated to her field, to teaching business … Let me just say she was very self-confident. She was not afraid to ex- press her views to anyone, in any position, in any terms. What you see is what you get with Betty.” An attitude of respect surrounds all stories of Humphreys, Sheldon himself saying that he has very big shoes to fill.
“She really was a genuinely warm and caring person,” said Huguenin. “We all miss her.”
This story has been updated to correct the title of Grand Marshall as belonging to Michael O’Donnell rather than Dr. Garrett Sheldon