Welcome to Bluefield at 100! Bluefield College is celebrating 100 years and has undergone a name change! Each week, in honor of this milestone, The Confusing Middle will shine the spotlight on an individual who spent time at Bluefield University, giving them a chance to fill us all in on where they are and how they’ve been doing since the college years. I hope you’ll join us back here every week as we get reacquainted with some old friends!
This week we’re hearing from Mark Hipes!
- What have you been up to since your time in Bluefield?
I’m a regular Bluefield at 100 reader so I know that everything I include here will be mentioned later so… a lot of this, a little of that, and a bit more of the other stuff.
- Where are you living now? For how long?
In Richmond, VA since the fall of 2013.
- Did you pursue any education after college? If so, what degrees have you obtained?
No additional degrees, only certificate and licensure programs associated with a career change I made in 2020 following an 18-month journey preparing for the CFP board exam.
- Where did you earn your first “grown-up” paycheck?
Defining “grown-up” as after college–the Virginia Baptist Children’s home. I was a counselor in their emergency cottage.
- Who is your current employer and what is your job title?
I’m a financial advisor with Seven Hills Wealth Advisors.
- What are your hobbies? What do you end up doing in your spare time?
No specific hobbies right now–the “spare” time is hanging with the family, traveling, being active, and I’m particularly fond of spending that occasional hour or so in the evening on the couch (not always the greatest choice but that’s life right now).
- Have you done much traveling? Where have you visited?
A decent amount and other than touching a toe in Nuevo Laredo, exclusively in the US. I won’t list them all but two of my favorites are Maui and Maine.
- Are you married? If so, who is your spouse?
Yes, to the former Miss Peyton Mawyer since 2014.
- How did you and your spouse meet?
We had multiple connections and knew of each other. Peyton grew up and was really close with my sister-in-law Elizabeth. I met her brother Taylor when I was involved in Campus Ministry prior to arriving at Bluefield. We had quite a history of connections but Nichole Prillaman who worked at the Virginia Baptist Mission Board is responsible for connecting us.
I was at an event representing Bluefield College and Nichole and I happened to sit at the same table. We started discussing old BSU and Richmond friends/names that we both knew. To make a long story short. Nichole texted Peyton later that day and said “I just met the next guy you are going to date and the man you will marry”. She was right–and I’m grateful!
- Do you have children? What are their names/ages?
Yes–Virginia is 3 and Luke is 2.
- Tell us a funny story about your kids…
Luke has an incredible ability to destroy and create–and often at his grandparents’ house. Kid is two and somehow managed to break a bar stool in half–unrepairable–literally broke the seal holding the ball bearings in track so it could spin. Was somehow able to order movies from Amazon with the TV controller while no one knew what was happening.
- What was your favorite class at Bluefield?
I don’t often do well with favorites. I hate having to narrow something to a list of one. I’m going to go with CST Colloquium class. My mind was tired when I walked out of the class.
- Which teachers influenced your life and made a lasting impression? Why?
Eddie Stepp–his spirit of joy, his demeanor and ability to empathize with multiple sides of a discussion. Often folks that make lasting impressions are those who have the traits that we desire to see in ourselves and in that way, Dr. Stepp was an inspiration.
Dr. Lyle and Dr. Crawford–pushed me in a way that they knew I could do more academically. Pretty sure Dr. Crawford knows I never achieved it while I was there. I was the recipient of one of his “cut bait or go fish” meetings.
- What was your major and/or minor?
Christian Studies and Psychology
- What did you want to be when you “grew up?”
Involved in Campus Ministry and while not in title, I was for 15 years before making a career transition in 2020.
- What was your funniest moment in college?
I think others could answer this better. I will go with the time I attempted to die my hair blonde – it turned strawberry pink. My fix was to go with a razor but that also lead to several unfortunate situations, one of which was the inability to shave the hair on the birth mark located directly on top of my head.
- What was your most embarrassing moment?
I walked-on to the baseball team my first year at BC. I played ball in high school and a year of American Legion. I grew up in a rural area and often we would wear jeans to practice. So, when all my sweatpants were dirty, I didn’t think anything of putting on the jeans. Only once – didn’t do that again.
- What was the dumbest thing you did in college? Was it worth it?
Not focusing on academics–no and yes.
- What is your most vivid memory from Bluefield College?
Times with my roommates–Brandon, Dereck, Aaron, and Andy.
- Was there ever something you wanted to do during your college days but never did?
Condition to the point I could dunk a basketball.
- What was your go-to during Late Night in the Shott Hall dining room?
- Did you play any sports?
Baseball for a year
- How about intramurals?
- Did you pledge with a fraternity or sorority?
Yes–Phi Mu Delta
- Were you involved in any other extracurriculars (theater, yearbook, clubs, etc.)?
BSU/BCM, Residence Council, SGA, and Greek Council
- What on-campus events did you enjoy participating in or attending?
SUB and BSU events–they were all great.
- Did you jump into the mud pit on Mud Pig Day?
- Did you have a work-study job on campus?
- Did you have a job off campus?
- Which dorm did you live in? Or did you commute?
Rish and New Hall
- Tell us your craziest roommate story…
Dereck and I almost got into a fight. He would have won but it wouldn’t have been pretty.
- Which classmate influenced you the most?
Dereck Harris–I didn’t do a good job of connecting well with all the guys on the baseball team, but Dereck and I did. He arrived at Bluefield as a new believer and man that kid was on fire. He wouldn’t step foot out of his room without spending time in prayer.
Andy Berry–I don’t know what it is, but we always seem to challenge each other in the area we need it most. At least for me. We can push each other to that point because of our love for one another and we are seeking the same thing–to love God and to love others.
Kris Hardy–while we were classmates, we didn’t become close until we both started working at BC. Kris excels at everything he tackles, and his energy is relentless. I think we desire to surround ourselves with exceptional people because that will bring out the best in us and man, that is the selfish reason I cling to our friendship–I strive to be better to reach his standard.
Guys that were a part of my life then and are so very important to me today–Brandon Caldwell and Aaron Peck.
And a long list of folks that influenced and inspired me–Matt Quick, Matt Cumbow, Brandy Lovelace, Hollie Harmon-Smith, Kristi Bowles, Justin Blunt… there were a lot of great folks at BC.
- What personal experiences since college would you like to share?
I have lost both parents since my time at BC–it’s not exaggeration when I say I think of them every day. Our season of life just feels different when we walk this earth without our parents.
- What plans do you have for the next 10 years?
Oh man–just a ton. The kids’ activities will be in full swing and while I don’t want to rush anything, I can’t wait to see how they continue to develop. Create and build rich community within out family, our church, and where we live and work.
Travel–I need to see Sequoia National Park before they are lost to fire. I was sweating it watching the fires this summer! Go back to Maui with Peyton and probably our kids but man I would love to do it again with just her. I want an RV and I’m pretty sure that I’ve gotten Peyton on board with the idea.
- Give us a quote to live by…
“The end doesn’t outweigh the means”–This applies to everything in life! I don’t know who made the statement or if anyone did. I credit the lesson to my Dad. In middle school, I asked him if it was ok to get in a fight to help defend someone. He told me I needed to do what I felt was right. If that was fighting, it would still come with consequences, even if it was the “right” thing to do.
I want to thank Mark for taking time to answer all these questions and for sharing with us this week!
As of this posting, we have reached the end of available posts that have been returned by Bluefield survivors. However, if you spent time at Bluefield College and still want to participate, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you the full list of questions! Until next time, GO RAMS!