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The Passing of a Faculty Pioneer

VWU Remembers Dr. H. Rick Hite

University News | February 14, 2024

It is with great sadness that Virginia Wesleyan University shares the passing of Professor of Theatre/Communications Emeritus H. Rick Hite. Dr. Hite, who received his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University, and Ph.D., Michigan State University, first came to Virginia Wesleyan in 1969 as its first full-time theatre professor. 

Throughout the years, Dr. Hite mentored many aspiring actors and actresses. Louisa (Mulford) Greg ’77, who later went on to Hollywood and had a decades-long career in commercials, film, and television, remembered her time learning from Dr. Hite with great fondness, most notably one of her film classes. “We were each able to write, produce, film, perform in, edit, and screen amongst ourselves, our own short films,” she says. “Also, playing Rosalind in Professor Hite’s production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It was one of my all-time favorite roles as an actress.” 

In 1979, Dr. Hite was one of three professors appointed to serve on a task force to develop proposals for a strengthened general studies model. According to VWU Archivist and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Kenneth R. Perry Dean of the College Emeritus Stephen S. Mansfield who wrote “Wisdom Lights the Way,” a book detailing the Virginia Wesleyan’s first half-century, “they interviewed colleagues, visited other campuses, and began to develop courses that could be offered on a pilot basis, in preparation for a comprehensive revision of the distribution requirements by the mid-1980s.” This effort is credited with helping to ensure that Virginia Wesleyan students received a full encounter with the liberal arts. 

During his 30 years at Virginia Wesleyan, all three of his children graduated from the school, Chris '91, Jonathan '02, and Margaret "Meg" '93. When he retired in 1999, Dr. Hite was among the first faculty members to retire from the school, serving as a reminder that Virginia Wesleyan had hit another milestone in its growth. 

At Dr. Hite's request, no services are planned. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.