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Speaker Line Up and Bios

We are proud to welcome the following experts and alumni professionals to headline the 2021 Homecoming program, held virtually June 4-6, 2021.

Saturday, June 5 - Keynote Speaker

Marissa Orr HeadshotMarissa Orr
Marissa Orr is a former Google & Facebook executive, bestselling author, and leadership speaker. Spending 15 years working at today’s top tech giants, she has conducted talks for thousands of people around the world, at companies and universities such as Google, Twitter, JP Morgan Chase, Pace University, Vanguard, The New School, and more. Originally from Miami, Orr received her Master’s degree in Decision and Information Sciences from the University of Florida. Now residing with her 3 kids in New Jersey, Marissa can be found reading, taking long walks, and questioning her decision to live in New Jersey.

Visit Marissa's website. Learn more about her best-selling book Lean Out


Saturday, June 5 - Power Hour Presenters

Torski Dobson-Arnold '99Torski Dobson-Arnold '99, Learning Power Hour (1) - Putting Your Best Foot Forward
Raved by college and high school coordinators across the country as "one of the few speakers that can capture and engage students at all levels," international & motivational speaker, Torski Dobson-Arnold, "America's Top Career Confidence Coach" works to motivate and inspire those in change and transition to focus on what is working and leverage that confidence in all areas of life. Her focus within niche markets include high school and college students/graduates and the transitioned/unemployed or underemployed professional that needs the right personal marketing tools to "re-energize" and "jump start" the career confidence process. Torski is the author of "Your Career Confidence: Student Success Guide", and she specializes in motivational speaking, resume writing, career coaching, personal marketing and branding.


Kim BellamyKimberly Bellamy, Learning Power Hour (1) - Discovering Your Strengths
Kimberly Bellamy is passionate about creating greater access and opportunities for individuals to achieve their academic and career goals, especially marginalized communities. She has 12 years of higher education experience including holding positions in academic support, academic advising and career development. She currently serves as Sr. Specialist, Strategic Programs and Partnerships at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) where she contributes to programs and initiatives to advance equity, diversity and inclusion across the medical education continuum. Kimberly earned her Bachelor of Science in Communication from East Carolina University and Master of Science in Education from Old Dominion University.


Amanda Lynch '02 Amanda Lynch '02, Learning Power Hour (2) - Psychological Resiliency for Children in a Post-Pandemic World
Amanda Lynch is a trauma-informed specialist at Greater Richmond SCAN and a best-selling author and founder of Rethinking Resiliency. She is a licensed educator and an expert in trauma-informed practices and mindfulness in the classroom. Lynch began working as a Special Education teacher in Richmond Public Schools in 2003. Amanda began practicing yoga in 2013 and instantly recognized the countless healing benefits yoga has to offer. She completed her RYT-200 in 2019. As a native of Glen Allen, she was very naïve to the poverty and trauma that plagued many of my students and their families. She sought out more information about substance use disorder, cultural responsiveness, and historical trauma as she navigated the systems and resources that could best support my students both in and outside of the classroom. For nearly twenty years, Lynch worked in a variety of capacities in public education, and briefly in correctional education. It wasn’t until 2006 when her best friend, Angel J. Jackson, and her father, Herbert Sharpe, Sr., were brutally murdered that she truly understood how deeply trauma could impact an individual and their family. This single event changed the trajectory of her career.


Dr. Donovan Branche '04Dr. Donovan Branche '04, Learning Power Hour (2) - Negotiating for Women: At Work, At Home, and For the Future

Dr. Donovan Branche teaches classes in the College of Business and Professional Studies and the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences. She is a proud Mary Baldwin Alumna with a B.A. in Health Care Administration. After graduating from Mary Baldwin, she earned a Master of Public Administration and Ph.D. in Strategic Leadership Studies with a focus on Nonprofit and Community Leadership. Her research interests include: Women in leadership; minority leadership in dominant society; organizational behavior; and leading in turbulent times. 

Dr. Branche has spoken at several conferences including the Lemon Symposium at the College of William and Mary, The Western Social Science Association in Albuquerque, NM, the Strategic Leadership Studies Leadership Forum at James Madison University, the International Leadership Association, Leading Change Conference, and the McDonough Leadership Conference. Dr. Branche is also published, and is featured in these two scholarly articles, among others:

  • McGowan, M.M. and Branche, D.D. (2020). Developing a social marketing plan to address wicked problems: A tool for transforming learning. Journal of Health Administration Education 36(4): 373-382.
  • Branche, D.D. and Ford, K.A. (2021). Revisioning: African-American Women and Nonprofit Leadership. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership. Online First


Saturday, June 5 - Cooking Tutorial Instructor

Cole Troxell '08 headshotCole Troxell '09

Cole Troxell is a lifelong resident of the Shenandoah Valley. He completed his grade school education in Augusta County and has his B.S. from Mary Baldwin University in Sociology & Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution.

During his years spent living in Chicago, Cole transitioned and has returned to the valley to be an advocate and mouthpiece for the rural LGBTQIA+ Community. He hopes to instill in his nieces and nephews the value of community engagement, visibility, compassion, and diversity.

Cole is currently the Customer Care Manager for Blue Ridge Fine Properties, By Shannon Harrington in downtown Staunton and is engaged to be married to the love of his lifetimes, Sabrina. His passions include cooking, community engagement, mentorship, and leadership development/advocacy within the workplace.


Quick Facts

1842 1842 University Founding
WWII WWII Time of First Apple Day Celebration
19,000 17,000 Number of Living Alumni Worldwide