On Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, Thomas Wilkins ’78 conducted the National Symphony Orchestra at Wolf Trap in a special performance featuring Grammy and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.
Several members of the Shenandoah University community visited Wilkins at the performance, including Richard Helsley ’89 (Bachelor of Business Administration), Alumni Board of Directors President Susan Wyatt Helsley ’76, ’85 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education, Master of Music in Music Education), Executive Director of Alumni and Donor Relations Emily Burner ’16, D.Prof., (Doctor of Professional Studies in Organizational Leadership); President Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.; Chip Connelly ’92 (Bachelor of Science in Arts Management), Judy Barefoot Connelly ’74 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education), Leslie Hughes Robertson ’74 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education), Charlotte Hickerson McKee ’76 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education) and David McKee ’76 (Bachelor of Music in Music Education).
Additionally, Wilkins was awarded the Virginia Symphony Orchestra’s Dreamer Award on Jan. 20, during a special concert celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Norfolk State University’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble. The award recognizes Hampton Roads citizens who embody characteristics of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Wilkins also served as a guest speaker for a lecture series and guest-conducted the Virginia Symphony Orchestra later that week during his homecoming trip. Wilkins currently serves as the music director of the Omaha Symphony.