Two Roanoke Valley residents receive honorary degrees at Roanoke College

Steven White (left) and Regine Archer (right) receive honorary degrees at Roanoke College.

Steven White (left) and Regine Archer (right) receive honorary degrees at Roanoke College.

Salem - A well-known opera conductor and a long-time businesswoman are this year's honorary degree recipients at Roanoke College.

The College recognized Regine N. Archer of Salem, and Steven C. White of Copper Hill, during its Commencement ceremony on May 4.

Archer, who is chairman and former president of Salem's Blue Ridge Beverage Co., received the honorary Doctor of Commerce. Archer has been a Roanoke College Associate for 31 years. She created the Regine Archer Endowed Scholarship for International Students, which provides financial aid to full-time international students. She also has served on the College's Fine Arts Endowment Committee.

Archer, a native of Belgium, became president of Blue Ridge Beverage in 1972, after her husband's sudden death. The company remains in the Archer family, with Archer's son, Bob, now its president and CEO. Archer has served in many community organizations, and she has won numerous awards for her business work and service, including induction into the Junior Achievement of Southwest Virginia's Business Hall of Fame and the Lifetime Service Award by the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

In 2004, Archer created the Archer Family Endowment within the Salem Educational Foundation, in memory of her late husband, James. Awards from this endowment are made to deserving Salem High School graduates who plan to attend a four-year college or university and who have been outstanding academic students.

White, who is principal guest conductor and artistic advisor for Opera Roanoke, received the honorary Doctor of Fine Arts. White is known as one of North America's premier conductors of both operatic and symphonic repertoire, and he is the former artistic director of Opera Roanoke.  Also, he has served as principal conductor for Opera Birmingham and as associate conductor and chorus master for Florida Grand Opera.

He also has been cover conductor for various productions of the Metropolitan Opera.

Additionally, White has been a Roanoke College Associate for four years, and his gifts have supported the Roanoke College Children's Choir. By his invitation, the children's choir has been consistently featured in Opera Roanoke productions. 

During the 2012 holiday season, Maestro White guest conducted the Roanoke College Choir in its first performance of Handel's "Messiah" in more than 30 years.

Roanoke College, a classic liberal arts college in Salem, Virginia, combines firsthand learning with valuable personal connections in a beautiful, undergraduate setting. Roanoke is one of just seven percent of colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review lists Roanoke as the 18th most beautiful campus in its "Best 376 Colleges" 2012 guidebook.

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Released: May 10, 2013
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