Town and Gown: Michelle Meadows
Story by Michelle Meadows
When I arrived on Longwood’s campus in July of 2005 for an interview to be the assistant athletic director for compliance, Farmville and Longwood immediately felt like home.
As a native of Powhatan, I have always treasured a small-town vibe and sense of community it often affords. In addition to the camaraderie that was so evident that day, I was struck by the passion of those I met who truly aspired to make a difference, whether in the lives of students (and more specifically for my role, student-athletes) or within the greater community as a whole.
This was the place I wanted to be part of, and 15 years later through growing personally and professionally, building authentic relationships, and even fighting through breast cancer with the help of my Farmville family, I continue to feel blessed every day to call this community my home.
My passion is sports and always has been, and it’s through athletics that I have experienced most of my life, including my time in Farmville. From lifelong friendships to life-changing lessons in character, humility and teamwork, it has offered me my greatest joys and my greatest challenges. After graduating from Virginia Tech and concluding my career as a softball student-athlete, I quickly realized that passion was to become my calling, and I began pursuing a master’s degree and subsequently a career in intercollegiate athletics.
Throughout my time with the Longwood Athletics Department, I have been so fortunate to work alongside many wonderful people throughout the Farmville community. I am inspired every day by colleagues and members of our community that go above and beyond, pouring into the lives of students and creating a vibrant and inclusive two-college town. I’ve formed many bonds with members of our community through our athletic events, cheering on our Lancers and sharing in the thrills of victory and sometimes the pangs of defeat. I have greatly missed those opportunities due to COVID-19 and can’t wait to share in those moments again.
The richness of our community became even more personal for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. The outpouring of love, support and prayers were overwhelming and gave me incredible encouragement throughout that journey. I’m forever grateful to Katherine and Lacey Mylum, who provided meals while I was in treatment so I could continue to work, along with the Stokes and Marston families, who took care of things around my home that I couldn’t tend to.
That’s what’s so special about our community, we show up for one another. It’s that spirit of camaraderie that drew me to Longwood and Farmville, and my love for this place and our community grows deeper each year.