Mavis (Escoffery) McKenley '11

Mavis (Escoffery) McKenley '11Mavis (Escoffery) McKenley, CTFA AEP, credits a good deal of her career success and confidence to the liberal arts education she received at Virginia Wesleyan. A 2011 graduate of the College’s Adult Studies Program, the former VWU business major now works as vice president and trust officer at AMG National Trust Bank. She’s also certified as an accredited estate planner (AEP) and a certified trust and financial advisor (CTFA)—designations she is proud of. She serves as vice president for her local estate planning council and will be the incoming board president for Samaritan House, an area nonprofit that provides advocacy and services to victims of domestic violence and homeless families. In addition to those roles, Virginia Wesleyan’s Alumni Association Board of Directors is excited to welcome McKenley as one of its newest members for 2015-2016. McKenley was born in Manhattan, but spent a majority of her young years in Teaneck, New Jersey. She enjoys playing tennis and painting and spending time with her husband of 26 years, Wayne, and their son, Nigel. The family lives in Virginia Beach. 

How did your time at Virginia Wesleyan University shape the person you are today?

I do not think I realized it at the time, but the level of confidence I exude today has a large part to do with the level of education I received from VWU. It is not just the higher level learning, but also the well-rounded learning where I did not leave just being a business major. I had exposure to many other things such as Buddhist philosophy and German films, which typically are not a part of a business curriculum.

What are some of your favorite memories of professors, mentors or friends at VWU?

It was nice being able to see the same professors throughout my time with VWU. It would not seem like a complete semester without a class with Professor Dave Garraty (business). One of my favorite memories is signing up for “Economic Modeling and Forecasting” and realizing only two other students thought that was a good idea.

How do you describe the Virginia Wesleyan experience to friends and colleagues?

Being on a small liberal arts campus allowed me to have a voice. I typically do not ask a lot of questions, and if the class was made up of 100 students versus 25 students, I would certainly not ask any questions. The smaller more intimate setting allowed for my questions to be heard. You are always going to have a few dominant personalities that tend to take some of the focus in the class, but in that smaller setting it is a lot easier to get that focus back on track.

Share your thoughts about one or more of the following: the value of a liberal arts education, the “small college difference,” unique opportunities you had at VWU.

Being that I was an ASP student with a family, I did not get to travel abroad or participate in any of the internships that were available. The “small college difference” is what sold me on the school. It was also important for me to feel safe on campus. I was attending school in the evening, and the “one entrance, one exit” campus allowed me to spend my time at VWU thinking about my education and not my safety.

Anything else about your time at VWU you would like to share?

The counselors and staff in the ASP office that helped me through the many years of my education, became a part of my life. I hope they realize the impact they have on the many students that they engage with. They made you feel that you were not on the journey alone.