Concord University Magazine Fall 2018

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President Dr. Kendra Boggess Vice President for Advancement Alicia Besenyei Chair, Concord University Foundation, Inc. David Kirby '79 MAGAZINE STAFF: Concord University Office of Advancement PO Box 1000 Athens, WV 24712 1-304-384-6311 Fax: 1-304-384-6017

Director of Communications Amy Pitzer Staff Writer Sarah M. Pritchett Creative Services Manager Foster Sheppard '14

The Concord University Magazine is published by the Concord University Advancement Office. A portion of the cost is underwritten by the Concord University Foundation, Inc. Submissions: Please contact Amy Pitzer at 304-384-5211 or Address Changes: Go to and fill out the Alumni Contact Information Update form under the Alumni tab!

ON THE COVER: Trumpeter Cordell Boyles marches along with fellow bandmates during the Homecoming Parade. INSIDE COVER: Mist blankets the familiar mountainous landscape in Athens, WV during a crisp fall morning.



10 Host Families 14 Staying Connected 20 Friendly Neighborhood Arachnologist 28 A Legacy in Medicine 32 Scholarship Spotlight 34 Donor Spotlight 38 Athens-Concord Town Social 42 Homecoming 52 Concord – Looking back to WWII

4 University News 9 On the Road with Roar 58 Athletics 62 Alumni Happenings 66 Alumni Spotlight 67 Class Notes 76 In Memory

UniversityNews Freshman Convocation Marks Beginning of Academic Year Senator Kenny Mann Addresses Incoming Students

From left to right, Dr. Timothy Mainland, Dr. Kendra Boggess, Senator Kenny Mann, Dr. Peter Viscusi and Dr. Sarah Beasley


Concord University celebrated the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic year and welcomed a new class of students during the Freshman Convocation on Monday, Aug. 13. The afternoon assembly took place in the Main Auditorium of the Fine Arts Center. West Virginia Senator and Concord graduate Kenny Mann served as the convocation’s keynote speaker. Senator Mann encouraged the freshmen filling the auditorium to complete their studies and graduate. “We walked in to ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ and before you know, you’ll be walking out of here with that and I want to encourage each and every one of you to see that through and be here for that day,” he said. A native of Monroe County, West Virginia, Senator Mann is a 2005 graduate of Mid-America College of Funeral Service, and a 2006 graduate of Concord. He is a licensed funeral director and is the owner of GrovesMann Funeral Home in Union, WV. Senator Mann is a past member of the Monroe County Board of Education. He was elected to the West FALL 2018 CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE

Virginia State Senate in 2016. He serves as Chairman of the Education Committee and also serves on the Finance, Banking and Insurance, Agriculture, Natural Resources, Economic Development, and the Energy, Industry, and Mining committees. He lives in Greenville, WV. Along with encouraging the freshmen to stick with their schooling and graduate, Senator Mann had additional words of advice for the incoming students. He gave those students who hadn’t decided upon a career path two key points of advice to help in their decision. “Try to think what are you personally interested in and then watch the job market,” he said. “That’s two big things right there – what’s available out there, what are people wanting that can make you successful and that you like what you’re going to do.” He also emphasized the importance of being able to communicate. “Along with your education…sharpen your people skills…and know how to talk to people,” he advised the freshmen. “You’ve got to learn how to communicate,” he said. Reflecting on his own experience as a student, Senator Mann told that students that their college days would speed past. “Here you are at your freshman orientation. Here in just a few short months, I promise you, you’ll be getting out for the Christmas break. After Christmas break you’ll come right back and then warmer weather will start coming back and guess what? Your freshman year is over with,” he said. “It flies by.” In concluding his remarks he said, “Enjoy your year. Enjoy your time here.” President Kendra Boggess also offered remarks to the freshmen. “Concord is a special place and I’m sure that you’re going to find ‘The Campus Beautiful’ becomes your home away from home. It’s our goal to have you succeed in your studies, find success in and beyond the classroom and share in some of the very best times of your life,” Dr. Boggess said. “We believe it’s a very exciting time to be a Mountain Lion, and we want to make your experiences


CALENDAR JANUARY 14 Spring Semester Begins JANUARY 17 CU After Hours Sophisticated Hound Brewing Company Princeton, WV JANUARY 28 Higher Education Day WV Legislature FEBRUARY 1 Groundhog Day Breakfast University Point Pais Fellowship Hall 8am FEBRUARY 28 Founders' Day MARCH 2 President's Ball Student Center Ballroom 7pm APRIL 18 Donor Appreciation Dinner APRIL 25 CU Foundation Beckley Dinner MAY 2 Senior Dinner MAY 11 Spring Commencement Check the Advancement Office website at for CU After Hours events coming to a City Near You!

valuable, challenging and exciting, so let us help you understand the available opportunities here,” she said. Dr. Sarah Beasley, Vice President of Student Affairs & Dean of Students, provided the freshmen with some practical tips for being successful at Concord. She encouraged them to “get involved in campus” by joining “clubs, or groups or volunteering”. “We know that students who get involved are more likely to be successful in college,” she said. “Also, study, go to class,” Dr. Beasley continued. She then explained ways the University assists students with their coursework. “We offer a lot of help at Concord,” she said. “We offer workshops on study skills. You can always stop by the Academic Success Center and they can work with you about how to study.” Additional helps for classroom success include drop-in tutoring, 24-7 online tutoring, study groups and office hours with professors, Dr. Beasley said. She then spoke to the students about the freshman tree planting calling it a “special Concord University tradition.” “For our first year students it serves as a symbol for the roots you are forming as you begin your undergraduate journey and it establishes your special contribution to the campus,” she said. Following the convocation, the students helped plant the beech tree by pouring cups of soil around its base in its location between Fine Arts and the Carter Center.

Keeping up with Concord Social media has allowed people to keep in touch with individuals, groups and activities all across the globe and Concord is using some of these tools to keep its alumni connected to the University and each other. You can keep up with Concord through any (or all!) of the following outlets:

Facebook: Concord University Alumni Association, Inc. and Concord University Twitter: @CampusBeautiful and @ConcordUAlumni

LinkedIn: Official Concord University page and the Official Concord University Alumni group

Snapchat: ConcordU1872

Instagram: ConcordUAlumni

We hope you will take advantage of each of these sites as a quick and easy way to keep up with Concord! CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Concord University Welcomes New Full-Time Faculty Concord University welcomed eight new full-time faculty members for the Fall 2018 semester. In order from left to right, starting at the top row:

Mr. Mark S. Botts has joined Concord’s faculty as a Lecturer in English. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Temple University and an M.F.A. from Regent University. A resident of Princeton, he has taught adjunct for Concord.

Mr. Chase Bowman has been named an Instructor in Art. He earned a B.F.S. from Marshall University and an M.F.A. from Columbus College of Art and Design. He has taught adjunct for Concord and lives in Princeton. Dr. Logan R. Browning joins the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Accounting. He earned a B.S.B.A. from Concord; an M.B.A. from West Virginia University; and a Ph.D., from Kent State University. Dr. Browning comes to Concord from Portland, Ohio. 6


Dr. Maxwell C. Deaton is serving as an Assistant Professor of Economics. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas and both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Deaton arrives at Concord from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Ms. Robbin M. Durham has been named an Assistant Professor of Social Work. She received a B.S.W. from Alderson-Broaddus College and a M.S.W. from West Virginia University. Ms. Durham has taught adjunct for Concord and lives in Flat Top.

Mr. Mark A. Mills is joining Concord’s faculty as an Instructor in Criminology. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alaska and an M.C.J. from the University of Colorado. Mr. Mills has taught adjunct for Concord and lives in Princeton. Ms. M. Marie Newcomb-Lewis is serving as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work and counselor in CU’s Counseling Center. She holds a B.S.W. and an M.S.W.

from West Virginia University. A resident of Daniels, she has taught adjunct for Concord.

Dr. Kathryn L. Nutter-Pridgen has been named an Assistant Professor of Sociology. She earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Ohio University and a Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Dr. Nutter-Pridgen comes to Concord from Hoover, Alabama. Dr. Aaron C. Paget is joining Concord’s faculty as an Assistant Professor of Physics. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Florida State University. Dr. Paget has arrived at Concord from Waterford, Connecticut. Dr. M. Blevin Shelnutt has been named an Assistant Professor of English. She received a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from New York University. Dr. Shelnutt comes to Concord from Brooklyn, New York.


Open House Spotlights Erma Byrd Center Concord University partnered with the other institutions at the Erma Byrd Higher Education Center in Beaver for an open house on July 25. Individuals who attended the evening event had an opportunity to meet with faculty and staff to learn more about online and in-seat programs offered through the center that can lead to undergraduate and graduate degrees. “The open house helped people in the region understand the many educational opportunities – undergraduate and graduate – that are available to them,” stated Dr. Susan Williams, Director of Concord’s Beckley location. Dr. Williams stresses the convenience that the Erma Byrd Center offers to students in the Beckley area coupled with support to help them in their pursuit of a degree.

“As graduate programs increasingly offer online degrees, this convenience must also come with a strong support network,” she said. “Conveniently located and open until 10 p.m., the Higher Education Center is a physical location that assists online students who need access to computer labs, administrative assistance, or a safe and central meeting place for group work.” Concord representatives from academics and admissions were among those on hand at the open house to greet guests, answer questions and provide information. Refreshments and a live remote with radio station WJLS, The Big Dawg, were also part of the evening. Along with Concord University, institutions located at the Erma Byrd Center include Bluefield State College, Marshall University

Lori Pace, Instructor of Criminology, represents Concord at the Open House.

and New River Community and Technical College. The Center is located at University Drive in Beaver.

Patriot Day Ceremony Speaker Reflects on ‘Resiliency of the American Spirit’ “My ties to 9/11 are strong and run deep,” the keynote speaker for Concord’s Patriot Day Ceremony on Sept. 11, 2018 explained. “I was in the Pentagon that morning of the attacks.” Colonel Corrina M. Boggess, U.S. Army (Ret.) Ph.D. DEL, who was stationed at the Pentagon, shared her personal experiences and perspective of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. She told her audience in Concord’s Wilkes Family Chapel gathered for the morning program that it was the first time she had participated in a 9/11 remembrance ceremony. Customarily on the anniversary of

the attacks, Col. Boggess said she did not watch the news and spent the day reading a book instead. Looking back, Col. Boggess recounted how her morning was unfolding that fateful day in September, 17 years ago. “I had just finished a morning workout and was making my way to my office underground in the Pentagon,” she said. Once in her office, she spent time preparing for a 10 a.m. meeting that was scheduled in an above ground conference room. “This would actually be the same conference room destroyed at 9:37 a.m. taking the life of my senior supervisor Lt. General Timothy

Maude and fellow co-workers,” she said. Among the items on her desk, she recalled, was a draft of a “mass casualty plan”, a document she had written during the summer in collaboration with other agencies. As she worked, her attention was diverted to a news broadcast of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center in New York City. Her perspective of the situation changed when the second plane hit. “In that instant I realized the gravity of the situation. We were under attack,” she said. “I reached for that draft document that was sitting there, and I pulled it down, and opened CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



The PikeView High School JROTC Honor Guard presents the colors.

the first page, realizing I would not be making that 10 a.m. meeting.” Not long after, the Pentagon was hit. “I actually didn’t evacuate the Pentagon after it was attacked,” she said. “I continued to work in my office, accounting for those we lost and finding those transported to local hospitals for care. The building continued to burn above ground as smoke filled our offices underground.” “Around midnight I came above ground. I remember walking through the quiet corridors of the building, kind of an eerie silence, except for maybe the sound of water dripping from the sprinkler systems. I came out to stand below the carnage. As I looked at the damage, I realized our lives would be forever changed,” she said. While discussing her personal recollections of 9/11, Col. Boggess paid homage to the American spirit and to individuals who were exceptional during the attacks. She also spoke about what could be 8


learned from the tragedy. “The American flag planted in the ruble of New York City or draped over the side of the Pentagon gave us comfort in the resiliency of the American spirit,” she said. “People discovered the best in themselves through service to others.” She spoke of the bravery and selflessness of first responders in New York City and the exceptionalism of the facility manager and others in her own workplace. “It was the utility workers, plumbers, electricians and facility workers who remained in the building to insure our survival,” she said. “They were the ones responsible for draping that beautiful flag over the building with floodlights casting a glow in the night sky.” “It is through these dark hours that everyday heroes emerge. It reminds us that everyone has the capacity for exceptionalism,” she said.

Colonel Corrina M. Boggess

“Today in your own personal moments of reflection, I ask that you remember our fallen, but remember the exceptionalism displayed on that tragic day,” she said. “We must never forget the lessons learned on that fateful Tuesday morning, 17 years ago today.” Also participating in the program were President Kendra Boggess who issued the welcome; Mr. Chuck Elliott, vice president for information technology, introduction of the keynote speaker; and Mr. Dan Fitzpatrick, vice president of operations, time of reflection and remembrance. The PikeView High School JROTC Honor Guard presented the flags and Concord sophomore Victoria Schaefer played “Taps”.


ROAR visited Arches National Park with Michael '72 and Rose '67 Kessinger.

Kevin Given '89 took ROAR with him to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, NC.

ROAR also visited the Grand Caynyon with Michael '72 and Rose '67 Kessinger. ROAR joined Janet Conroy in celebrating her son's graduation from Marine OCS at Quantico, VA, August 18, 2018.

ROAR accompanied Janet Conroy on her trip to Prague, Czech Republic.

Sandra Saunders Lowe’68, Glenn Lowe ’66, and Judy Helms Sargent ’68 with ROAR near Denali National Park in Alaska.

Judy Hughes '62 and Chester Sword '63 celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with ROAR in Prague, Czech Republic.

TAKE ROAR WITH YOU! Wes and Sara Duncan, both 1999 grads, took ROAR with them last summer when they visited Saint Petersburg, Russia.

International student Edith Martinez took ROAR with her to the Himalayas and Moscow, Russia.

Show us where you’ve taken Roar! Find your cut out of Roar on page 79 of this magazine. CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018













or the past 20 years, Rodger Woodrum has opened his home to Concord international students who have needed a place to stay during university breaks. As a host parent, he has welcomed students from countries around the globe to his Bland County, Virginia residence. A special map in his house is testament to the many visitors who have been there. Rodger says his guests enjoy marking their home countries on the map. “They are proud to put a pin on the place where they live,” he explains. Along with Concord University students, Rodger has also hosted international students from Bluefield State College. “Some call me their American Dad. Some call this their American home,” he said. While he admits his accommodations are somewhat small and rustic, Rodger says his student guests enjoy their time there. The beautiful mountainous setting in the quiet Virginia countryside gives Rodger’s cabin home a special charm. “They’d rather be crowded and be together, than be alone,” he said. His fatherly hospitality and an abundance of fun and educational activities 10



The Homestay Program at Concord University provides an opportunity for American families to learn about other countries and cultures by having an international student stay in their home during university breaks. In turn, the international student benefits by being able to practice English conversation and learn about American culture firsthand in the comfortable, friendly environment of an American home.

Rodger Woodrum on his farm.

and experiences more than compensate for the lack of space. From surprise helicopter rides to chopping wood to performing before a live audience, Rodger offers the international students staying with him a unique cultural experience. As for the helicopter rides, Rodger works with a friend on that activity. “He comes and lands in the hayfield,” he says.

Rodger recommends the opportunity and experience of being a host parent. “I encourage other people to venture out and say, ‘I can do that!’” he said, explaining that both the students and their host families are “enriched”. “I enjoy it,” he said. “It has worked out well.” Takeshi Yamamoto from Osaka, Japan is among the international students who have enjoyed Rodger Woodrum’s hospitality. Takeshi graduated from Concord in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems degree. He is now on the University’s technology services staff and lives in Princeton. “I was an ESL (English as a Second Language) student when I stayed at Rodger’s farm,” Takeshi said. “The first thing you will hear when you get there is ‘Make yourself at home. If you see something you want, go get it’ (he instructs) with a friendly smile.” “At that time I was trying to pass the TOEFL exam so I could begin taking classes like the regular college students at Concord. Our goals were for me to learn English and learn how to drive,” he said. “Along the way, he taught me many other important things, such as how to make the perfect Ruben sandwich, gardening, kayaking, hatching chickens from eggs, and – perhaps most importantly – how to make a bird-in-the-nest breakfast, which I now prepare for my own family.” Takeshi enjoyed the lifestyle and cultural experiences that staying with Rodger Woodrum offered. Not only did Takeshi take in the sights of West Virginia and Virginia, he also traveled to Florida with Rodger to visit a relative there. “He is an outgoing guy that everybody likes to be around. He likes taking international students to experience new places,” he said. “You may think that coming from a large city like Osaka, Japan, it would be boring to stay on a farm. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.” “Rodger plans many activities including fireworks during 4th of July, Christmastime gift exchange with church friends, carnival at West Virginia state fair, picking oranges and watching a space shuttle launch in Florida, and more. Staying with Rodger means that you will get to experience real American culture, but never feel like a tourist. I enjoyed all the activities we did. My friends and I stayed at his farm many, many times. I even went to one of his family reunions," he said. Takeshi values Rodger’s friendship and the time he spent with him as a student. “I was fortunate to spend several school breaks and summer terms staying with Rodger,” he said. “Over the years, he changed from my » CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Rodger Woodrum giving Takeshi Yamamoto '09 a haircut

host father to my friend. I cannot thank him enough for all the things he did for me and my friends. Thank you Mr. Rodger Woodrum!” Another recent CU graduate, Olga Novikova, also gives the Host Family Program high marks. “Host families are very important in every international student’s American life experience,” Olga, who is from Vologda, Russia, said. Concord alum Cheryl Bredeaux ’70 of Princeton was Olga’s host parent. “I stayed with Cheryl for some time before I was traveling to my other host family in Wisconsin during winter break,” Olga explained. “She showed me great hospitality, took me to the local theatre, introduced to her amazing family and shared great stories with me. She is a wonderful host!” In addition to staying with Cheryl during winter break, Olga also turned to her host parent during the summer. “She helped me a lot with storing my stuff during summers that I went to Russia. It was nice to have someone outside of Concord who I could trust with my belongings,” she said. “I always enjoyed hanging out with Cheryl during my years at Concord,” she said. “It was always a good time updating each other on our lives.” Among the activities they enjoyed was going out for pizza and ice cream. Olga says she and Cheryl remain in touch with each other. “We always send each other cards on holidays to keep up with new things in our lives. I’m forever grateful for everything she has done for me during my college years,” she said. Olga received a Bachelor of Science in Recreation and Tourism Management degree from Concord in May 2017. Following graduation, she worked for a year in Morgantown and is currently pursuing an MBA at VA Tech. “I’m very excited and thankful for this amazing opportunity to continue my education,” she said. 12


Olga is one of many Concord international students who have benefited from Cheryl Bredeaux’s warm welcome and generosity. Along with providing a place for students to stay during breaks, Cheryl has also opened her home for gatherings where groups of international students have enjoyed playing games and dining on “a table full of food”. She estimates that 30-40 international students have visited her home through the years. Cheryl has hosted students from Nepal, Zimbabwe, Japan, Bulgaria, Togo, Vietnam, and Russia. She kept students mainly during Spring Break and some over the summer. The students learned about the area with activities like going to the movies and visiting Pipestem State Park. In return, Cheryl learned about

“The Host Family Program for international students provides an opportunity for students to explore the local area, spend time in an American home and generally enjoy a connection with the community that they might not otherwise experience” - Nancy Ellison, International Student Advisor

their culture. One way was by sampling their cuisine. While the students were her houseguests, Cheryl said they enjoyed preparing dishes from their native lands. “They loved to cook,” she said. “They really liked having their own food.” Cheryl has been pleased with her time serving as a host parent. “It’s been a very good experience,” she said. “I have such good memories from these kids. We had so much fun.” “I thank Nancy (Ellison) for giving me that opportunity,” she said. “It was a blessing and one of those things that keeps being a blessing.” Cheryl, who is a retired elementary school teacher, says that Concord international students also visited her 3rd grade classroom at Mercer School in Princeton. “They talked about some customs they had in their land,” she said. The students would “dress in their native costumes” and display their countries’ flags and money. Cheryl said it was “nice to learn” firsthand about the countries her students were reading about in their textbooks.


Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving meal for the international students visiting her home during this holiday is one of the ways that Dr. Charlotte Davis shows American hospitality to her guests. She also involves them in activities like Black Friday shopping, going bowling and to the movies, and hiking at Pipestem State Park. Dr. Davis, who is an Associate Professor of Management at Concord, has been a host parent for several years. During this time, she has welcomed students from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Korea into her home. Most have stayed during the week of Thanksgiving break. For the 2018-2019 academic year, however, Dr. Davis will be hosting a student from Germany through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX). Arriving this past August, she will be staying with Dr. Davis through June. “I love interacting with students,” Dr. Davis said explaining why she became a host parent. Her own international travel and living experiences have also contributed to her signing up with the program. “I have traveled a good bit,” she said. “I’ve lived abroad, too.” During her travels, she has visited 20 or so countries and lived in Vienna, Austria. Even her coursework at Concord is related as she teaches International Business. While the students she hosts are benefiting from a place to stay, Charlotte Davis is gaining rewards of her own. She says she enjoys “getting to know students better” and “learning a teeny tiny bit of their language.” “It is such a pleasure to interact with people from different places…broadening one’s horizon never hurts,” she said. “I highly recommend it to anybody. It is just so much fun for me,” she said. Mike and Debbie LaMothe’s three sons were children when the family began participating in Concord’s host family program. “I wanted my kids to understand a little more about the world and that everybody’s basically the same. No matter where we’re from…we have the same dreams,” Debbie said. The LaMothe boys grew up with Concord students from around the world visiting their home. “They got to learn about the world and we have, too,” their mother said. Their guests have included individuals from Japan, China, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Vietnam and South Korea. According to Debbie, the family had the opportunity to “learn about different countries, cultures and customs.” The visiting students prepared food from their home countries for the LaMothes to sample, for instance.

(top) Cheryl Bredeaux ’70 with Olga Novikova at her commencement ceremony May 2017. (above) Eleisa Hanses from Cologne, Germany and her host parent, Dr. Charlotte Davis

While the LaMothes were learning about different countries, the Concord students were experiencing American culture. “We worked with them on their English and (helped them) understand more about local culture,” Debbie said. Along with trips to such attractions as the New River Gorge and the state capitol in Charleston, the LaMothes have also shared everyday activities with the students. Debbie recalls that one student, who had grown up in the city and who wasn’t familiar with the task of mowing a lawn, was especially intrigued when Mike brought out a riding lawn mower. Mike showed him how to use the mower and this turned out to be a fun experience for them all, she said. Now grown men, all three LaMothe sons are Concord alums. Shawn graduated in 2009 with a major in Chemistry; Kyle in 2013 with a double major in Studio Art and Advertising/Graphic Design; and Matthew in 2018 with a major in Environmental Geosciences. Debbie and Mike continue to serve as host parents. Like Charlotte Davis, they are hosting a student from Germany through the CBYX program. She will be staying with the LaMothes at their Princeton home until next June. █ CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018





CONNECTED This feature catches up with former faculty, staff and administrators and asks them to update us about their life today while sharing some memories of their days at Concord


Professor of English, Emeritus

Biographical sketch: I grew up in Monroe County, West Virginia and came to Concord as a freshman in 1964. It had always been pretty much a given that I would attend Concord. My grandfather in the first decade of the last century had received his certificates here to teach and later to serve as superintendent of Monroe County schools. An aunt had received her teaching degree here, and my mother, who had a degree from a Virginia institution, came to Concord in the summers to obtain her West Virginia certification. Upon receiving my degree in 1968, I taught one year in public school and

then went to Marshall University to obtain a master’s degree in English. I began my career in higher education at Southern West Virginia Community College and later returned to Marshall where I taught before beginning my doctorate in English Education and Curriculum and Instruction at Virginia Tech. While completing my degree, I taught English at Virginia Tech and Bluefield College. Being offered a teaching position at Concord in 1989 was one of the happiest experiences of my life. Like other students I knew who had graduated from Concord, I always had the goal of coming back to teach at my alma mater »



but never thought it would materialize. Returning to Concord as a professor was indeed a unique experience. Many faculty members I knew as a student were still here, including English Professors Bill Ofsa, Fred Bailey, and Margaret Ann Scott. Now these people were my helpful colleagues and became, I am pleased to say, my good friends.

I live in Princeton, West Virginia with my wife, Carol Little Baker, a 1971 Concord graduate and retired reading specialist in Monroe County. My daughter, Sarah Bailey, is a 2008 graduate of Concord and works at Clinch Valley Health as Director of Marketing and Public Relations. What positions did you hold at Concord? What are some classes that you taught?

During my years at Concord, I served on the Faculty Senate and various University committees, including Policies and Procedures and Development. I enjoyed serving as the outside member of the Fine Arts and Education Personnel Committees. Much of my committee work focused on serving as chair of the Languages and Literature Personnel Committee. One of the most rewarding positions I held was chair of the Louise McNeill Pease Memorial Reading, an event held each year where a guest author was invited to Concord to give a reading and sometimes a writing workshop in honor of Dr. Pease who taught in the English Department in the 1960s and was West Virginia’s poet laureate from 1979 to 1993. Guest writers included poets Jim Wayne Miller, Maggie Anderson, and Irene McKinney, each of whom knew and worked with Dr. Pease in various capacities. Dr. Pease, whom I am sure many alumni remember, was one of my favorite Concord professors, influencing not only my interest in American literature but my teaching methods as well.

I was privileged to teach many different writing and literature courses while at Concord. West Virginia Writers and other different topics related to Appalachian Literature especially stand out as well-received by students. I also enjoyed preparing and teaching courses on individual American authors and on the contemporary American novel. 16


How long did you work at Concord and when did you retire? I taught 24 years at Concord, beginning in the fall of 1989 and retiring in the spring of 2013. What activities and pastimes are you enjoying in retirement?

In the past I often heard people say that they were so busy after retirement that they just did not know when they had time to work prior to leaving their jobs. I always considered this statement ridiculous; however, upon retiring it did not take long for me to find out how much truth was in that statement. As we get older, life brings new obligations, along with often surprising and pleasant opportunities. Additionally, I have found that, upon retirement, we recognize many activities and tasks that we have tended to either ignore or put off. So, yes, I have discovered that those people I had criticized were making a realistic observation. My retirement, while so far certainly enjoyable and rewarding, has proven to be more involved than I expected. Having now an active toddler grandson to help care for contributes to some full but fun days during the week. Also, with retirement I can thankfully devote more time to my church and weekly Bible studies. Additionally, my wife and I have done quite a bit of traveling, especially enjoying trips to New England and Canada. We also continue our hobby of collecting – and now selling –antiques. At home there is always too much to do, but I make time to continue my gardening interest and appreciate the beneficial exercise that goes along with it.

Recently I have assisted a local writer prepare her novel for publication, and I also worked with my cousin in transcribing our greatgrandfather’s Civil War diaries (1862-65). Poor man had the worst handwriting, and he crammed as much information as possible onto the small and often messy pages of his little daybooks. The content, however, is fascinating, but I am happy that the task of trying to read his entries and deal with his misspellings and abbreviations is over. I must acknowledge that my cousin did the bulk of the work on this project, his patience and persistence proving much stronger than mine. He is now working

with a publisher, so I look forward to seeing the diaries in print one day. What books have you read recently?

Soon after I retired, I read a recent biography of Queen Victoria and ended up reading a biography of each of her nine children. Victoria’s relationships with her sons and daughters is a significant and revealing study. These books were a fascinating read, indeed. It seems that much of my more recent reading has continued to be of an historical nature. I thoroughly enjoyed Candice Millard’s “The River of Doubt”, the nonfiction account of Theodore Roosevelt’s near-fatal exploration of a thousand-mile long tributary of the Amazon River in 1913. “We Were the Lucky Ones” by Georgia Hunter is one of the most remarkable examples of Holocaust literature that I have read. Based on the experiences of the writer’s own family members, the novel tells the story of seven members of a Jewish family in Poland and their individual efforts to survive the Holocaust and then to reunite at the end of World War II. This summer l read Zora Neal Hurston’s “Barracoon”. Hurston is best known for her novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, but this nonfiction book, published for the first time 58 years after her death in 1960, is an example of the author’s anthropological writing, focusing on the life of the last known survivor of the transatlantic African slave trade. One more book I recently read and one that I also highly recommend is “Varnia” by the Cold Mountain author, Charles Frazier. The book is based on the life of the wife of the Confederate President, Jefferson Davis. With his unique narrative method and lyrical prose, Frazier is among my favorite contemporary southern authors. What cultural events have you attended recently?

I stay up to date with the cultural events at Concord and the Chuck Mathena Center in Princeton. When possible, my wife and I try to attend the events and have never been disappointed. We especially look forward to the plays and musical performances at Concord. Since I was a student here, the

Dr. Baker with his grandson, Stone Bailey

tradition of fine productions continues, such as “The Gondoliers”, “The Visit”, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum”, and “Cabaret”. We also very much enjoy going to the Barter Theater in Abington, Virginia, which fortunately is relatively close by. This summer we attended Barter’s production of “Steel Magnolias”. Tickets to this event were a gift to us, and I must admit that initially I wasn't too excited about seeing this show. However, I found it a splendid production in all respects, so typical of the Barter’s excellent reputation. I am fortunate to live close to all these sources of cultural activity. »



How are you involved in the life of Concord today?

What advice do you have for today's English majors?

My involvement is typical of most alumni and retired faculty and staff. I belong to the Alumni Association and look forward to receiving correspondence and issues of the Concord University Magazine. Residing near the University, I receive all the local news about sports, cultural events, student activities, and, yes, sometimes controversial issues pertaining to the school. Staying in touch with former colleagues and staff also keeps me abreast of what is going on at Concord.

Giving advice to students who would like to major in English or to those who are almost ready to graduate is not always an easy task. My own former students have illustrated that the English or English education major can lead to various types of employment opportunities. I know those who have become college professors, secondary teachers, lawyers, government workers, etc. and are seemingly quite happy in their positions. On the other hand, the experiences of some of my former students show that one sometimes has to be prepared to change careers or get another degree if expectations of secure and satisfying working days do not come about.

Do you keep in contact with former students (now alumni), faculty and staff that you have known through the years? Despite all the issues involved with social media, I am appreciative of how it has given me opportunities to keep in touch with former students and former and current faculty and staff. It has also allowed me to renew old friendships with Concord alumni whom I knew as a student here. One of my former roommates, Tam Mallory (‘68), and I are on Facebook together, along with Noel Tenney (‘69), my long-time art buddy, who posts photographs of his beautiful paintings that bring back memories of our painting together in the basement of Old Main where art classes used to be taught, and Garland Elmore (‘68) with whom I later taught in our first college teaching positions. I am also in contact with lots of former students who share news of marriage, children, and the joys and trials of a new job or graduate work. This type of contact did not exist in the past, and I appreciate that social media makes keeping in touch so convenient. Then there are those chance encounters, such as going to Kroger and running into Kay White who for many years helped me prepare reserve materials in the Concord library, and seeing Barbara Hazelwood, our former Languages and Literature secretary, while buying plants at Lowe’s. All these Concord contacts are very special to me. 18


I always told students if they loved literature and writing and had done well in their freshman and sophomore classes, to follow their hearts and pursue English as a major. Some of these students, however, occasionally decided for various reasons to change their major after the first or second required course, and a few even felt they needed to apologize to me for doing so! I also occasionally told individual students to choose carefully a double major or a minor. Having something either to fall back on or to complement the English degree can be helpful. For example, a student who hopes to get a Ph.D. in English should try to study one or more foreign languages as much as possible. Moreover, the reality of the job market must also be taken into consideration, as well as where one wants to find employment or perhaps even go to graduate school. I would always encourage prospective English majors to talk with and get advice from other students pursuing this major, along with English teachers, professors, and especially other professionals who have used their English degree in nontraditional ways. Educating oneself on the use of the English major may prove to be as important as successfully completing the academic requirements. █


Become Become a FRIEND a FRIEND of of thethe J. Franklin J. Franklin Marsh Marsh Library Library at at Concord Concord University! University! The The Joseph Joseph F. Marsh F. Marsh Library Library formally formally opened opened onon November November 29,29, 1941. 1941. The The library library hashas grown grown to to over over 157,087 157,087 volumes volumes today, today, which which include include books, books, microfiche, microfiche, magazines magazines and and bound bound periodicals. periodicals. The The library library hashas been been and and continues continues to to bebe a vital a vital part part of of thethe educational educational program program of of Concord Concord University. University. “Friends” “Friends” areare comprised comprised of of members members who who recognize recognize thethe value value of of a quality a quality library library and and want want to to support support and and enrich enrich thethe services services provided. provided. Becoming Becoming a Friend a Friend is aisterrific a terrific way way to to bebe involved involved in your in your community community and and to to help help promote promote a love a love of of reading reading and and learning. learning. Your Your annual annual giftgift helps helps us us • Expand • Expand access access to to online online databases databases and and journals journals • Improve • Improve library library technology technology and and build build forfor thethe future future • Purchase • Purchase rare rare items items forfor special special collections collections • Sponsor • Sponsor readings readings and and lectures lectures forfor thethe benefit benefit of of thethe University University as as well well as as thethe area area communities communities You You cancan become become a ”Friend a ”Friend of of thethe Library” Library” byby sending sending your your annual annual contribution contribution to:to: Concord Concord University University Foundation, Foundation, Inc. Inc. Friends Friends of of thethe Library Library Fund Fund POPO Box Box 1405 1405 Athens, Athens, WVWV 24712 24712 OrOr byby calling calling 304-384-6266 304-384-6266

Spring 2017 • 14







Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman Arachnologist

Norman Platnick has made a name for himself as a world-renowned spider systematist

introduction As an arachnologist, Norman Platnick’s work in the specialty of spider systematics is legendary. He has described more than 1,800 new species, a feat unrivaled in the last century. His focus, he explains, has been on “producing taxonomic revisions of numerous spider groups, particularly those of special phylogenetic and biogeographic interest.” The longevity of his career and his passion for his work have landed him at the top of his field worldwide.

For more than 40 years he was a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Having just earned his doctorate, he began working there in 1973 as an Assistant Curator in the Department of Entomology. In 1977 he became an Associate Curator, serving in that position until 1982 when he was promoted to Curator. He served in that capacity until 1998, when he was awarded an endowed chair as the Peter J. Solomon Family Curator of Spiders. Along with his responsibilities as a curator, Dr. Platnick also served as Chairman of the Department of Entomology from 1987-1994. Taking an early (financial) retirement, he served as a Senior »




Scientist in Residence in the Museum’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology from 2010-2013. He also taught as an adjunct professor at City College, City University of New York from 1978-2014 and at Cornell University from 1988-2014. He was an adjunct senior research scientist for the Center of Environmental Research and Conservation at Columbia University from 1999-2014. Among Dr. Platnick’s most notable career achievements is his work with the goblin spider Planetary Biodiversity Inventory project, which he conceived and led. This international research, funded by the National Science Foundation, focused on the spider family Oonopidae. With the involvement of more than 45 arachnologists representing a dozen countries, the project launched in 2006 with a goal of totally revising information on these spiders on a global basis. Looking at these species is considered especially important to historical biogeography and for conservation efforts due to the very small geographic ranges of most of them. Fewer than 500 species of goblin spiders were known when the project started, but now that number has nearly quadrupled.


In a lifetime of outstanding accomplishments, Dr. Platnick’s higher education timeline is in a class all its own. Getting what he calls a “precocious start” on his academic career, he began college when he was only



12 years old, and received his bachelor’s degree at 16. He went on to earn a master’s degree as an 18 year old. By the time he was 21, he had his doctorate. With all of these degrees to his credit – and at such a young age – the one diploma he lacks is from high school. “I don’t actually have a high school diploma, having made it only through grade 7!” he said. Norm explains how this transpired. “I had a wonderful science teacher in grade 7, in Princeton. Her husband, Hawey Wells, was a biology professor at Concord. Mrs. Wells thought it would be fun if I could audit his freshman biology course during the summer of 1964. Professor Wells was kind enough to ask the Concord administration if that would be OK, and he was told that I would have to take the standard entrance A.C.T. exam before they could approve such an arrangement. So I took the exam, passed it with no problem, and was told that yes, I could audit that summer course,” he recalls. The opportunity to take one course in summer school was just the beginning of Norm’s Concord career, however. “One day that spring I got a phone call from one of my friends in the seventh grade, telling me that I was going to be a Concord student,” he recalls. “I explained that, ‘no, I was merely going to audit one course over the summer.’ He said, ‘no, it was in that day’s newspaper, that I would be entering Concord as a freshman.’” “That newspaper story turned out to be true,” Norm said. Norm the actor in a Concord production, front row.

Dr. Joseph Marsh, who was Concord’s president at the time, helped Norm make the jump from seventh grade to being a college freshman. Dr. Marsh had gone to Charleston for a meeting with state education officials, Norm said, explaining that “as an aside, he mentioned my auditing arrangement.” “As it happened, I guess the chair of the state board knew me; apparently he was a former neighbor from Bluefield, where I lived until our family moved to Princeton while I was in the fourth grade. In any case, the state board decided that since I had passed the exam, there was no reason for me not to go to Concord, and they directed the Mercer County Board [of Education] to release me to go to Concord instead of the eighth grade,” he said. “Later that evening, we received a phone call from President Marsh, who apologized profusely for the way we got the news; the papers had picked up the story and ran it before he could get back to Athens!” Not even a teenager yet, Norm arrived on campus as a full-fledged college student in the fall of 1964 in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in biology. He

"The state board decided that since I had passed the exam, there was no reason for me not to go to Concord, and they directed the Mercer County Board [of Education] to release me to go to Concord instead of the eighth grade."

- Dr. Norman Platnick '68

attended Concord from ages 12 through 16. “My college life was pretty normal, actually, considering the circumstances,” he explained. “The other students were great, accepting me as a full member of the class, and like everyone else, I spent a lot of my time in the student union, playing cards with my friends.” “I took the normal four years to get my B.S.,” he continued. “For the first couple years, I commuted every day from Princeton, using a monthly pass on the Tri-City Traction bus runs. When there were evening events I wanted to attend, I’d crash on the floor of some friend’s dorm room. That became a frequent enough occurrence that eventually my parents allowed me to rent a tiny apartment across from campus, so that I wasn’t having to run my life

16-year-old Norm Platnick in his senior year at Concord, 1968.

by the bus schedules!” Norm was involved in several extracurricular activities at Concord. “I was a member of Circle K, as my dad was a Kiwanis Club member in Princeton, and I went to one of the Circle K national conventions in Texas,” he said. He also enjoyed his time in the spotlight performing with the theater department. “I had a part in one of the plays that Professor Paul put on; it was a part for a kid, so I had tried out for it. He didn’t want to cast me, as I was already a bit too rotund for what he thought the kid in that part should look like, and he cast some older (and thinner) student instead,” he said. “Apparently that chap didn’t act so well, and just a couple weeks before the performances, he called and asked whether I would step in and handle the part, he said. “Thanks to his expert direction, I had an act-ending scene where I was the only character on stage, and I managed to get a hearty laugh from the audience each night!” Norm considered genetics as a career, but fieldwork with the young lady who would one day become his wife set him on the path to becoming an arachnologist. “When I was seeking out grad schools for my master’s degree, I thought I was going to go into genetics. As one of the schools I applied to, I chose Michigan State University, on the basis of its curriculum in that field, and was lucky enough to be offered an assistantship there,” he said. “But by the time I arrived in East Lansing, in the fall of 1968, I already knew that I wanted to work on spiders instead, and that was entirely due to having met Nancy Price.” » CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Spider-Men at American Museum of Natural History events include Norm Platnick with The Amazing Spider-Man (featuring Andrew Garfield) top photo and with actor Tobey Maguire, bottom photo. Photos: © AMNH/R. Mickens | © AMNH/D. Finnin

Nancy, who was also pursuing a degree in Biology at Concord, was from Cambridge, MD. She would go on to earn her degree in 1970. “We met at Concord on October 12, 1967,” Norm recalled. “She had taken a course that covered all the arthropods, given by Professor William Shear, and had become very interested in millipedes. They are a fascinating group in the Appalachians; different mountain tops often have different species that can be large and colorful. She wanted to go into the field to collect millipedes, and of course I wanted to go with her,” Norm said. 24


“She was an excellent millipede collector; when disturbed, these animals emit defensive secretions that often include cyanide compounds, and smell a bit like maraschino cherries. If you have a good nose, you can sometimes identify a good collecting spot for millipedes by detecting that scent,” he explained. “My sense of smell was very inferior to hers, and often, when we returned to the lab and she started to work on identifying the millipedes she had found, there would be nothing in my collecting jar but spiders. “So I pulled one out, put it under the microscope, dragged out the books, and tried to identify the beast,” he recalled. “When I finally decided what species I thought it was, I took it to Professor Shear and asked if I’d gotten it right. He confirmed my identification, and I thought, ‘Hey, that was kind of fun, let me try another specimen.’ And then I just never stopped!” After graduating from Concord in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Norm attended Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. His selection of Michigan State for graduate school was still a good fit even though he shifted from genetics to the study of spiders. “When I arrived at Michigan State and indicated that I wanted to do spiders rather than genetics, I was directed to an invertebrate specialist in the Zoology department, who also sent me over to the Entomology department,” he said. “At it happened, Michigan State had just hired a fresh Ph.D., Richard Sauer, who had done his thesis on crab spiders. He welcomed me, and even turned over one part of his current crab spider project to me, as my M.S. thesis. “I couldn’t have had a better ‘leg up’ than his help over the two years I was in East Lansing,” he said. He received a master’s degree in Zoology at Michigan State University in 1970 and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University in 1973.


Dr. Platnick says that his affiliation with the American Museum of Natural History and being fortunate enough to work at an institution that “has the world’s largest spider collection” have made his career especially rewarding. “It was like winning the lottery, getting that job right out of grad school,” he said. He considers his extensive experience in foreign fieldwork a highlight of his career. He has been on numerous expeditions to Chile in search of spiders and has also trekked to Cuba, Panama, Ecuador, »


The Goblin Spider Planetary Biodiversity Inventory BY DR. NORMAN PLATNICK Many folks understand the allure of discovery, such as exploring the universe for signs of life. But many don’t realize that we are almost as ignorant of many aspects of life on Earth! The organisms that we encounter frequently, including vertebrate animals and green plants, are reasonably well known. But those organisms represent, at most, about 3% of the species on our planet, and are in many respects not a particularly representative sample of biodiversity in general. The Planetary Biodiversity Inventories (PBI) program was introduced by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2002, as an attempt to help remedy this imbalance in our knowledge. I was lucky enough to be one of the program officers who helped launch the initiative, and I helped run the first competition for these large grants. The goal was to select some relatively poorly known groups of organisms and enable teams of biologists to bring our knowledge of those groups, in a relatively short time, to a level approaching that of the best-known groups. This required a significant change in the sociological aspects of taxonomy, the field concerned with identifying what species exist, where they occur, and how they are each interrelated to each other. Taxonomy has traditionally been practiced mostly by “lone wolves” – individual scientists, working in their own labs. Taxonomists have made significant progress, since the process began formally, in 1757; well over 1.2 million species have already been formally described and differentiated, but the total number of species on the planet is at least seven times that large! Bridging that enormous gap, in a reasonable amount of time, requires a more co-operative approach. In 2006, a second PBI competition was held; I suggested to my colleagues that we propose the spider family Oonopidae as an appropriate target. I expected them to tell me that I was crazy! These are tiny animals, usually only a couple millimeters (less than 1/16th of an inch) in length, and therefore difficult to study, and few arachnologists (students of spiders and other arachnids) knew much about them. To my surprise, we quickly agreed; oonopids are unusual spiders in many respects, but one stood out. Despite our limited knowledge of the group, it was clear that they probably have, on average, the smallest distribution ranges, per species, of any group of spiders. We knew, for example, that there are at least 25 different species of one genus found within the rainforests along the coast of northern Queensland. The small ranges of each of these species makes them extraordinarily valuable, both for science and for society. Species that are very widespread, such as most mammals, tell us relatively little about the history of the areas they

inhabit; species that are very narrowly distributed help us define areas of endemism (i.e., areas housing species that occur nowhere else), and understanding the relationships among those species can help us understand the history of those areas, on scales ranging from ancient continental drift to relatively recent climate changes. In the same way, species with the smallest distributions are potentially the most useful for conservation. Imagine, for example, that you are a forest manager in Chile, and must decide which areas can be logged and which should be preserved. Widespread species, that occur throughout the Chilean forests, are of no help in making those decisions, but knowing that a small area in one province houses species, of several groups, that occur nowhere else, helps make that spot a priority for conservation. Our proposal was successful, and an award of $2.6 million was made to five investigators at U.S. institutions (the American Museum of Natural History, The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences, the Univ. of California at Berkeley, and George Washington Univ.). But as our aim was to understand oonopids on a global basis, the project expanded to include about 45 investigators in a dozen countries, and our foreign collaborators were able to use our award to leverage about as much financial support again from their local sources. To enable this diverse group of taxonomists to work collaboratively, we built an Internet-accessible database to record all our observations and images; we can each see, and use, each other’s work, but we can change only that information we have individually contributed. That resource functioned well; when the project began, only about 450 species of oonopids had been described, and the group was so poorly known that we had to coin “goblin spiders” as a common name for them (the name is fitting, as they are often grotesque in appearance, and their small size can make them maliciously difficult to study!). Today, some 1800 species are known, and goblin spiders have moved from being only the 21st largest family of spiders (out of some 117 families) to the 8th; our increased understanding of their interrelationships has totally reshaped their higher classification into genera and subfamilies. The database also serves the public side of our website (, where tens of thousands of our images, descriptions, distribution records, and maps are made available on over 1,350 species pages. The downside is that, to date, only three PBI competitions have been held, and fewer than a dozen projects of similar magnitude have been funded. █ CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Dr. Platnick with Cuban colleagues sorting spiders from leaf litter in Cuba during 2010.


Brazil, Argentina, New Caledonia, New Zealand, and Australia. “Most of these expeditions involved only three or four participants, but the Ecuador expedition I led in 2009 included about a dozen systematists, along with a film crew that produced a video on our efforts there for the Museum’s Science Bulletin series,” he said. The video can be viewed at https://www. “Seeking Spiders - Biodiversity on a Different Scale” documents Dr. Platnick and his team as they search in Ecuador for tiny goblin spiders. “If we wish to conserve as much biodiversity as possible, then we need to pay attention not just to the things that are so easy to see, but also to the ones that are not so easy to see and tell us much more about the planet,” he said in the video. “Fieldwork is a messy enterprise and is highly serendipitous which is part of what makes it fun,” he comments over the video as he and another member of the team sift through leaves and soil for the spiders which are only a couple millimeters in size. “As biologists, we want to know every species on the planet,” he continues, “and so we’ve undertaken FALL 2018 CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE

the Planetary Biodiversity Inventory project to take a group as poorly known as goblin spiders and bring them up to the level of the better-known groups, so that we are better positioned to conserve biodiversity.” A prolific writer, Dr. Platnick has been published in numerous journals throughout his career. He co-authored the influential book “Systematics and biogeography: Cladistics and vicariance” with Gareth Nelson and has seen a long-term project, the World Spider Catalog, transition into what he calls an “unmatched” resource through its Internet implementation. Additionally, he has served on the editorial boards of a number of scientific journals and has written and been an editorial consultant for children’s books about spiders. He is no less noteworthy in his receipt of grants, securing over $5.7 million for research, collection support, and other projects. In addition, Dr. Platnick has lectured extensively both in the United States and internationally. Among the prestigious honors Dr. Platnick has to his credit are being named a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 2001; Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2003; Honorary Research Fellow, Natural History Museum, London, 2005; and, Foreign Member, Linnean Society of London, 2006. He received the Pierre Bonnet Award for Devoted Service to the Advancement of Arachnology in 2007 from the International Society of Arachnology. The Concord University Alumni Association honored him with the Outstanding Alumnus Award in 2003. His membership in professional societies is international in scope and includes: American Arachnological Society (Charter Member); Arachnological Society of Japan; Arachnologische Gesellschaft (First Honorary Member); British Arachnological Society; International Society of Arachnology; New York Entomological Society; Sociėtė Arachnologique de Belgique (Membre d’honneur); Society of Systematic Biologists; and Willi Hennig Society (Founding Fellow).


In the early days of his career Dr. Platnick lived in Manhattan near the museum. “The first 10 years our apartment was half a block from the museum,”


he said. Living in such close proximity made it very convenient if he wanted to go into his lab at say 2 a.m., he recalls. When their son William Durin was born in 1982, Norm and Nancy moved out of the city to a “house on Long Island.” With the move Norm’s commute turned into a four hour roundtrip train and subway undertaking. However, he arranged his schedule so that he could put his time traveling to and from work to good use. To avoid the rush hour commute, he left home at about 5:00 each morning and headed back from his lab around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. With fewer people on board with him, he had “space to work on the train,” he said. Looking back, Norm describes this commute into the city as “30 years of riding the railroad.” Dr. Platnick enjoys what he calls “another life” aside from his arachnological career. He researches and collects early 20th century American illustration art and has compiled a number of publications on the subject. “Just like spiders, that is entirely Nancy’s fault!” he explains. When the family moved to Long Island, Norm said Nancy began going to yard sales. “She became very interested in egg beaters, the mechanical household devices that were produced in a plethora of forms during the first half of the 20th century,” Norm said. “So she would pick up eggbeaters when she saw them at a yard sale, usually for around 25 cents each. As she got more interested, we started going to antique shops and eventually antique shows as well, in search of eggbeaters she hadn’t seen yet.” “I of course tried to help her find the things, but as usual she was far better at it than I was, and I realized that if we were going to spend a lot of our time in such establishments, I’d need to find something of my own to hunt for,” he said. Norm was already fascinated by illustration art, tracing his interest back to a Maxfield Parrish print that he and Nancy purchased for their Manhattan apartment. “We’d also picked up an excellent book on his works that had just been published,” he said. Introduced to Coles Phillips’ work through ads from old magazines discovered in Nancy’s parents’ house, he added this artist to his study and collections.

Norm and his daughter-in-law, Becca Ehrlich, with one of the models used in the museum's temporary exhibition Spiders Alive!

“In the process of learning about Phillips, I discovered that there were dozens of other artists of the period who did equally beautiful work, and got heavily into collecting and researching the ones I liked,” he said. “At this point, I’ve produced 25 full-color guides to different illustrators, and have at least as many more books to do!” Nancy’s interest in egg beaters transitioned into vintage electric mixers leading her to collect more than 300 of them. Her extensive collection was the subject of an article in The New York Times in 2013. “She founded an on-line group which she called WACEM (We Actually Collect Electric Mixers),” Norm said. “The group flourished and currently has almost 2400 members, from around the world. Since her passing, five years ago, I’ve inherited the management of that group, and it is still going strong! Unfortunately, I can’t match her thorough knowledge of that area!” Norm now lives near his son and daughter-in-law in East Amherst, NY where his two lives continue to keep him busy. “On the illustration side, I try to produce at least one new book a year, and for around 20 years now having been giving a talk every year at an annual convention of fellow illustration hounds,” he said. “On the spider side, I’m working with five coauthors (in Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Germany, and the US) on a book about spider diversity that will be filled with photographs; it should appear in the spring of 2020, from Ivy Press in the UK and Princeton Univ. Press here in the US,” he said. He also maintains a spider lab in his house to continue with his research. █

Three of Norm's publications on early 20th century American illustration art.






MEDICINE Dr. O.J. Bailes’ contributions to the field of osteopathic medicine are far-reaching and have touched countless lives during a career that spans more than six decades. He has been a practicing physician, an educator, a medical missionary and founder of an osteopathic school.


hroughout his career, Dr. Bailes has been a practicing physician, an educator, a medical missionary and founder of an osteopathic school. Rooted in his native West Virginia, his legacy of service has taken him across the country, and on several occasions, to distant lands. Medicine wasn’t O.J. Bailes first career choice, however. A native of Nicholas County, WV, he was originally pursuing a degree in business administration. He explains how family influence helped him decide upon a different career path. His wife Jean came from a medical family. Both of her parents, Dr. Charles Holiday and Dr. Lillie Holiday, were doctors of osteopathic medicine, Jerry said. With encouragement and guidance from his father-in-law, he changed his focus to medicine. Following a stint with the U.S. Army Transportation Corps during World War II, he began working on his medical degree by taking pre-med courses. He completed some of these required classes at Concord, 28


such as medical terminology and anatomy, during 1947 and 1948. “The courses at Concord were strictly for medicine, important in medical school,” he said. He would continue his association with Concord several decades later by receiving a Regents degree in 1977. Jerry earned a degree from the Kansas City College of Osteopathy in 1952 and completed an internship at Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City. He received his license to practice as a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) in 1953. Jean’s father not only wanted his son-inlaw to follow in his footsteps professionally, he also provided Jerry with an established practice after he completed his medical training. With Jean’s parents, ready to retire at that time, Dr. Bailes was the perfect choice to move into their office. “I took over their practice out of medical school the hour after I got there,” he said. Dr. Bailes’ office was located at 1122 Mercer Street in Princeton. Jean ran the office, while Jerry saw patients. »


Dr. O.J. Bailes at work




Dr. O.J. Bailes with his wife, Mrs. Jean Bailes, and Dr. Jana Peters at her practice in Princeton, WV.

He worked from that location for 25 years before transitioning into medical education. Along with his contributions to the field of osteopathic medicine as a practitioner, Dr. Bailes’ contributions in the area of education are immense and continue to benefit students at the schools with which he was associated. A major part of his work in education is being counted among the founders of what is now the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is the last living founder of the four individuals who established the schools’ predecessor, the Greenbrier College of Osteopathic Medicine in December 1972. Dr. Bailes, along with Drs. Frank Wallington, Carlton Apgar, and Don Newell, Sr., are known for their profound contributions to rural health care as evidenced by their work with the WVSOM and its role in training doctors. Dr. Bailes would also help to found, grow and expand other institutions involved in educating doctors of osteopathy as a member of the faculty and as an administrator. His impressive list of contributions to these schools runs the gamut from serving on the faculty and choosing the staff to setting up rotations and curriculum. Speaking briefly on the rewards of being an 30


educator, he said, “I learned a lot.” The Ohio University of Osteopathic Medicine, Howard University and the Pikeville College of Osteopathic Medicine benefited from his devotion and tireless work. He lent his expertise to the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona, CA, serving there for nine years. In 1979 he was appointed Dean of the College and served in that position until 1988 when he once again hung out his shingle in Princeton. This time he worked from an office on Stafford Drive until 1992. After decades of seeing patients and training future physicians, he took a break from his busy career for some recreation. “Then I played golf for a while,” he said. He didn’t rest for long, however, as he soon began the next chapter in a life of service to his fellowman. Serving as a volunteer with the medical center of the Red Bird Mission in Kentucky for several years, he continued extensive mission work has been based not only in the United States, but internationally as well. The Red Bird Mission receives support in part through the United Methodist Church in its work to provide for the needs of residents


living in a portion of the Appalachians Mountains. Dr. Bailes says he has traveled to India six times and to Bangladesh five times to serve in those countries. He held mini-medical clinics on two different trips to Kerala state in India. During an extended trip to Bangladesh, he conducted a three-week training session on manipulation for physical therapists. Dr. Bailes spent the most recent portion of his remarkable career back in Princeton practicing with fellow Concord graduate Dr. Jana Peters. They saw patients together for 21 years, from 1995 until 2016. Dr. Peters earned a degree in biology from Concord in 1980 and a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in 1984 from the WVSOM. She said that working with Dr. Bailes was “awesome” and she felt “very blessed” by the experience. “He was a fantastic person to have around,” she said. Working alongside him in the practice, Dr. Peters has witnessed the longevity of Dr. Bailes’ association with some of his patients. “People would come in and say, ‘you delivered me,’” she said recounting conversations she heard between Dr. Bailes and patients. Years later, he was seeing their children and grandchildren in his office. “Being recognized now by patients I saw 40 years ago… that’s rewarding,” Dr. Bailes said. He said that the gratitude of his patients is another of the rewards of being a doctor. “People still remember that ‘you saved my life’ …they felt that way,” he said. Dr. Peters shares Dr. Bailes’ passion for mission work. “We both enjoy the mission field and helping people,” Dr. Peters said. “That’s what we’re put here for.” Like Dr. Bailes, Dr. Peters has served both in the United States and abroad including in locations such as the jungles of Guyana in South America and in Mexico, Honduras and Russia. Dr. Bailes has received a number of prestigious honors during his distinguished career. In 1988 he was awarded two honorary doctorates. The WVSOM

"Being recognized now by patients I saw 40 years ago…that's rewarding."

- Dr. O.J. Bailes, '77

presented him with a Doctor of Science and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific honored him with a Doctor of Humane Letters. For his longstanding dedication to the field of osteopathic medicine, Dr. Bailes was honored with the 2006 Osteopathic Physician of the Year award by the West Virginia Society of Osteopathic Medicine, Inc. The award presentation was held during the organization’s 104th Annual Spring Conference.

Dr. Michael Adelman, WVSOM President Emeritus, Governor Jim Justice and Dr. O.J. Bailes.

Additional honors include the Distinguished Service Certificate which he received in 2002 and the Mountaineer Address Award presented to him in 1992 by the WVSOM, Inc. His leadership with professional organizations includes serving as Secretary of the WVSOM, Inc. from 1965-1977. He has also earned lifetime membership status in the American Osteopathic Association and the West Virginia SOM. Another significant honor for Dr. Bailes occurred in August 2017. At 93 years of age, he attended the annual Convocation and White Coat Ceremony at the WVSOM where he was honored as the last living founder of the prestigious Lewisburg institution. Family members of the four founders were also recognized. John Manchin II, D.O., a member of the WVSOM’s first graduating class in 1978, was the keynote speaker. In a news release about the event, the WVSOM reported on Dr. Manchin’s speech in which he reflects on “the founders’ fortitude and determination in creating a successful osteopathic medical school that would serve rural areas of West Virginia.” Dr. Manchin paid tribute to the founders and recognized Dr. Bailes during the ceremony. “You all must be so proud and your family heritage will live on in all the students who have been given the opportunity to become osteopathic physicians,” he said. Dr. Bailes and his wife, Jean, celebrated their 72nd wedding anniversary on May 30th of this year. Jerry said the time has been “72 short years.” He readily admits to the profound influence Jean has had on his successful career and accomplishments. “She is the person responsible for everything I’ve done,” he said. Both Jean and Jerry are in their mid-90s. They have two daughters, Cheryl Bredeaux and Suzy Fry, 7 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Their son is deceased. The Bailes have been faithful members of First United Methodist Church in Princeton for many years. They live in Princeton. █ CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



The David L. Pearce Scholarship Aims to

Dave and Patty

David Pearce valued his Concord education and wanted others to benefit from earning a degree at the University as well



r. Pearce, who passed away in October 2017, made a bequest to Concord in his will. His wife, Dr. Patricia Pearce, worked with the Concord University Foundation to establish the David L. Pearce Scholarship. Along with helping Concord students fulfil their educational goals, the Pearces wanted their contribution to motivate other Concord alumni to donate to their alma mater. “Our joint hope is that it will not only move people to similarly excel in their studies there, but also to actively reach out to others to ‘pass it forward’ when they are in a position to perhaps do the same later in life,” Dr. Pearce said. Reflecting on the importance of education in her husband’s life, she said, “He, as a onetime educator himself in high school math and later within the corporate structure of IBM, was always one to encourage others to pursue their higher education, and it most certainly served him well as the child of parents who had no more than a 9th grade education themselves.


“Our daughter went on to a doctoral degree as well,” she said, “something that, had his parents lived to see it, would surely have made them doubly proud.” David Lee Pearce was born on Dec. 3, 1936 to Luby Lee and Thelma Pearce and raised in Princeton, WV. He graduated from Princeton High School and received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics at Concord in 1961. According to his wife, Dave liked to visit Concord’s campus “for nostalgia’s sake” when they came back to the area for his high school class reunions. She says the scholarship has been established “in homage to not just Concord but also the state of West Virginia for producing this fine native son.” Her husband, she said, had an “undying affection for his home state of West Virginia” evidenced by “continuing to keep up with his high school classmates 60 years after graduation, rooting for any West Virginia teams that might be on the sports circuit, or speaking


highly to others of his time spent in his schooling there, including his undergraduate studies at what is now Concord University.” Dave continued his education by earning an M.Ed. at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. At the beginning of his career, he was a public school mathematics teacher in West Virginia and in Washington, D.C. He was then recruited by IBM to work as a systems engineer and teacher. His move into the corporate world took him to Lexington, KY, where he met a young medical student who would become his wife. Dave and Patty’s daughter, Amanda, was born while they were in Lexington. David Pearce’s successful career with IBM featured several prestigious honors. In 1982, a teaching recognition with the company provided both Dave and Patty a 3-month opportunity in New York City. During that time, he served as an instructor at the Systems Research Institute in Midtown Manhattan and she completed a portion of her psychiatry residency at New York University in partnership with Bellevue Hospital. “It was an honor for him and an amazing experience for me,” Dr. Pearce said. “It was a plum award to be able to go there.” In the mid-1980s Dave was selected for IBM’s faculty loan program to teach for a year at a minority college. He taught at Lane College in Tennessee. When Dave retired from IBM, he took on the role of advocate for women’s basketball with his daughter’s high school and club teams. “He was a very active basketball dad when she was in middle school and high school,” Patty said. “I think he enjoyed being a basketball dad as much as she enjoyed playing basketball.” Leisure time took Patty and Dave vacationing by the sea or sailing in the Caribbean on windjammer cruises. “We took over a dozen cruises on wooden sailing ships,” Patty said. “We had lots of good memories from them.” Another of Dave’s interests was a lifelong passion for reading. Dave and Patty were living in Raleigh, NC at the time of his passing. They had lived in North Carolina for 33 years. Reflecting lovingly on the character and personality of her husband, Patty penned “Prayer for Dave” which was read at his funeral service. “Thank you, Father, for this gentle soul who is my husband. He has loved me, and respected me for 41 years,” she said. “Thank you, Father, for this gentle soul who has been there for the duration with his daughter and all her endeavors.”

Dave on a windjammer cruise in the Caribbean raising his glass in a toast to life.

She also remarked on his “love for all living things” and the way he “always cared about people.” “He never failed as an advocate for keeping up with people. Many are the times when I’d get a prodding from him about when the last time was that I’d talked to a family member, or friend. For those who wondered how I did it, he was my secret weapon for staying on top of all my family’s birthdays,” Patty said. “I have benefitted immensely from these last 41 years,” she continued. “His initiative sought and won my affections early on; I myself have become a dramatically more affectionate, caring and social person over this time, and a lot of it is from having been around him and seeing firsthand how it’s done.” “I bloomed because of his support,” she said in closing the prayer. “I am who I am at this point in my life because of who Dave was. And will ever hold that, and him, dear in my heart.” For additional information on the David L. Pearce Scholarship contact the Concord University Foundation at 304-384-6266. █ CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



DONOR SPOTLIGHT Phi Sigma Epsilon Alumni Scholarship Honors Fraternity’s Legacy at Concord


he special legacy of a Concord fraternity is being acknowledged through a scholarship established by a group of alumni brothers. The Phi Sigma Epsilon Alumni Scholarship for Concord University students salutes the fraternity and its members. Phi Sigma Epsilon was in operation at Concord from 1960-1985. This fund is recognized in honor and memory of the men who represented the fraternity during its term as an active organization on campus. “We’re really excited about this,” John Lecco, an alumni member of Phi Sigma Epsilon, said. Lecco has been involved in establishing the scholarship, and says he and his brothers wanted to “create a legacy that would keep on giving in perpetuity.” “Long after we are gone … [we want] to help others go to school,” he said. John served as secretary of Phi Sigma Epsilon when he was a Concord student. He graduated in 1979 and has enjoyed a successful career in the cable television industry. Originally from New



Jersey, he is now retired and lives in York, SC. Lecco said that when the idea for creating a scholarship began to circulate among members, he and several brothers then discussed the “process and details” of establishing it with University officials. Since being set up, the fund has seen support from a number of Phi Sigma Epsilon alumni. Lecco and fellow alumni David Nell and Vince Cali are spearheading fundraising efforts. Along with donating to the scholarship themselves, the three are actively encouraging other brothers to do the same. Cali explains why he is dedicated to the fraternity’s legacy and to growing the scholarship. “More than a group of men seeking social activity and good times, the Phi Sigs were colleagues for life sharing similar values and beliefs and truly loved Concord College,” he said. A 1970 graduate of Concord, Cali rose to prominence during his career as a management

consultant. He is a resident of Spicewood, Texas. “As a lifelong brotherhood, we always joined together on important matters like the scholarship fund and it is my privilege to participate,” Cali said. “It reinforces the bond we had as brothers and still do,” Nell said. Nell, who graduated from Concord in 1967, said that “John Lecco is the driving force” behind the scholarship. While he is currently assisting with fundraising efforts for the scholarship, this isn’t the first time Dave has helped raise money as a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon. He recalls selling “submarine sandwiches” as one of the fraternity’s philanthropy projects for a charity. The sandwiches, he explained, contained “meat and cheese and maybe lettuce and tomatoes.” “We were selling them for 25 cents back then,” he said. Dave is retired and lives in Fort Mill, SC. When he was a Concord student, he served as vice president and social chair of Phi Sigma Epsilon during his junior year and led the fraternity as president his senior year. Along with the bonds of friendship that were formed as a member of Phi Sigma Epsilon, Dave also values the leadership and organizational skills he developed that have been useful in his rewarding career in the insurance field. He learned how to run meetings, he said, and honed his project management skills helping coordinate the fraternity’s entry in the Homecoming parade and working with his brothers to build the float. Cali also enjoyed the leadership position he

had with the fraternity. “When I returned from the military, the fraternity asked me to take on the Pledge Master role,” he said. “I had great fun working and bonding with our pledge classes and helping to instill the pride, camaraderie and traditions of the Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity.” Although Phi Sigma Epsilon was on Concord’s campus for just over two decades, the fraternity boasts a strong bond among alumni members that continues to grow. At the center of keeping

"More than a group of men seeking social activity and good times, the Phi Sigs were colleagues for life sharing similar values and beliefs and truly loved Concord College.

- Vince Cali '70

ties strong among alumni brothers are the reunions that Lecco has faithfully organized, promoted and hosted through the years. “We have a nice legacy of being able to bring the brothers back,” he said. John says the reunions had their beginnings with “summer picnics in my yard in New Jersey in the early 1980s.” Now, they have moved closer to campus. The fraternity’s 59th reunion is scheduled for May 31-June 2, 2019 at Pipestem State Park. “Bill Sherwood and Dewey Russell, long time Mercer County educator and businessman, » CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Brothers gather for a Phi Sig reunion

have worked with me on each of the reunions,” John said. “We are proud we have these reunions and now that we will be able to correlate this into a scholarship,” he said. While John graduated from Concord in 1979, he says his friendships with brothers who graduated prior to him are especially important now. “The big thing is the relationships I’ve built with guys from the 60s, the founding fathers,” he said. Dave and Vince agree on the special nature of the reunions. “We have several generations involved in the reunions and supporting the scholarship,” Dave said. He explained that the reunions offer an opportunity for reminiscing and “sharing stories about the fun and laughs we had in college.” “Our fraternity reunions have extended traditions and warm feelings of friendship among all our brothers,” Vince said. “It’s a great time to visit the campus and reminisce of the once in a lifetime experiences forged by our brotherhood in the wonderful environment of ‘The Campus Beautiful.’” “Some of my Phi Sig experiences that have lasting impressions,” he recalled, “are winning the inaugural Spring Sing [with] “There’s Nothing Like a Dame”, building the homecoming floats, and Friday night student union dances with music by the Playboys with Phi Sigs Frank Scagnelli on drums and Jim Crawford on vocals.” 36


Lecco’s tireless dedication to the fraternity’s reunions was a big part of why he was selected Alumnus of the Year by the Concord University Alumni Association in 2016. The alumni brothers of Phi Sigma Epsilon had another good reason to gather when a group of them attended the awards presentation on campus to celebrate John’s honor with him. John, Dave and Vince are pleased with the initial response they’ve received for the scholarship. “Thus far we have gotten broad alumni support and participation and have met the required minimum funding level,” Cali said. “I am confident that by our 2019 Spring Reunion we will increase the funding and expand alumni participation as well.” For additional information about the Phi Sigma Epsilon Alumni Scholarship contact the Concord University Foundation, Inc. at 304384-6266. Donations to the scholarship may be made online at: cufoundation/psesch Contributions may also be made by mailing a check to the Concord University Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1405, Athens, WV 24712-1405. Please make checks payable to the Concord University Foundation, Inc. and note “Phi Sigma Epsilon Alumni Scholarship” on the memo line. Credit card donations are also accepted via telephone by calling 304-384-6266. █





he Athens-Concord Town Social celebrated its 32nd year the afternoon of Sunday, Aug. 12 with fun and festivities on CU’s front lawn. “Our 32nd annual Athens-Concord Town Social was a wonderful day as Concord and Athens area neighbors enjoyed music, local artisans and good food; celebrated our community members making a difference in the town and university; honored local students with scholarships; and greeted old friends and made new ones,” Town Social Chairperson Dr. Sarah Beasley said. The generous support of several benefactors helped make the Town Social possible this year: Concord University, The Town of Athens, The State of West Virginia through the Division of Culture and History, BB&T and Shrewsbury’s Machine and Casting. Entertainment was provided by Adam Cox and Independent State and Margo and the Bluegills. Concord alum Tom Bone ’76 served as master of ceremonies. Members of CU’s volleyball team and the women’s soccer team 38


assisted with set-up and tear down and handed out balloons and ice cream. The weather cooperated until 3:30 p.m. when, unfortunately, a downpour put a stop to activities. Individuals who have enhanced the community and campus life of Athens and Concord University are honored each year. The Town Social committee presented the following awards: Total Community Involvement, John David Smith, Posthumous Award; Elder Citizen, Theodore L. “Ted” Kessinger; Good Neighbor, Charles Abraham “Abe” Lilly, Jr.; and Business Longevity, Michael “Goose” Sizemore, owner and sculptor, Mountain Artworks Studio. The Athens Lions Club presented the Citizen of the Year honor to Jessica Lilly and the Beautification Award to Janice Terry. Several Concord students received scholarships. Caleb Lucas and Emily Ward each received an AthensConcord Town Social Scholarship. Recipients of a Jean Beasley Memorial Scholarship are Brooklyn Lilly and Rebekah Skeens.


Total Community Involvement Posthumous Award - John David Smith John David Smith’s deep commitment to Concord University and the Town of Athens benefitted countless individuals during his lifetime and continues today as a wonderful legacy. His involvement John David’s niece, Crystal McDowelle at Concord Dotson, accepts the award. encompassed many levels ranging from academics to administration to alumni activities. He was a beloved mentor to students, a respected faculty member, a dedicated alumnus and a leader in higher education beyond Concord. As a member of the Athens community, he served his neighbors on the Athens Town Council. A native of Hinton, John David received his Bachelor of Social Work degree from Concord in 1976. He went on to earn a Master of Social Work from WVU, a Master of Arts in Psychology from the WV College of Graduate Studies, a Juris Doctor from the University of Toledo, College of Law, and an LL.M. in Health and Administrative Law from DePaul University, School of Law.

John David’s leadership at Concord included serving as Professor and Director of the Social Work, Legal Studies and Pre-Law programs, Counseling Center, and the Public Service Initiative and Chair of the Division of Social Sciences. He also served as the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students and Vice President and Academic Dean. Additionally, he was Chair of the Social Work Department, MSW Program Director, Primary Investigator Public Service Initiatives, and Director of Appalachian Leadership and Education Fellows. He was Chair of the West Virginia Social Work

Education Consortium and served on a number of county, state and university boards. He was named Social Worker of the Year in 1995, NASW Region I. He also received the Hawey Wells Citizenship Award; Fraternity Alumni of the Year, Pi Kappa Alpha; Concord University Outstanding Alumnus award in 2010; and Alumnus of the Year in 2012. John David passed away on October 21, 2017.

Elder citizen Theodore L. “Ted” Kessinger

Born November 29, 1931 in Welch, West Virginia, Ted moved with his parents, Macie and John Kessinger, to Speedway in 1933. He graduated from high school in Athens and attended Concord College until 1951, when he joined the United States Air Force. He served during the Korean War then returned to Concord and graduated in 1956.

In 1955 Ted moved to West Broadway in Athens and has remained on that street for 63 years. During these years, he raised four children, worked in banking, ran his own business, taught school, and enjoyed an active retirement. Ted has served on the Athens Town Council, and is a former member of the Athens Lions Club, serving one term as president. He is a 50 year member of the Concord Masonic Lodge. As a member of Concord United Methodist Church, Ted has served many years with the Outreach Ministry group. While serving this ministry, he was instrumental in getting seed money to begin work on the Athens Town Park.

Ted is also a member of the local Civil Air Patrol and was active in obtaining funds to build the new facility at the Mercer County Airport. » CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



good neighbor Charles Abraham “Abe” Lilly, Jr. Charles Abraham “Abe” Lilly Jr. was born and raised in Summers County, West Virginia. While growing up in Hinton, he served as a lifeguard and a swim instructor. Abe graduated from Hinton High School and attended Concord College where he served as an RA and was a Bonner Scholar. While at Concord, he was awarded the Presidential Award for Community Service in 1995.

Following graduation, Abe continued to serve Concord as a Resident Director and an Assistant Director of the Marsh Library. Abe’s service to Concord spans 20+ years. His friendliness, kindness and immeasurable dedication to serving others are simply a part of who he is. He genuinely loves to help others and the community.

Abe is the recorder for the Town of Athens as well as an EMT with the Athens Volunteer Fire Department. He currently serves as a minister for two small churches each Sunday and is also employed as the Librarian/Technology Integration Specialist for Bluefield High School.

business longevity Michael “Goose” Sizemore Owner and Sculptor, Mountain Artworks Studio


Michael Sizemore, owner and sculptor, of Mountain Artworks Studio in Athens, West Virginia is a multi-medium artist with a focus on metals: copper, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and bronze. He grew up in Fayette County, West Virginia, where he demonstrated an early talent in painting and drawing. He pursued his passion throughout high school and then for two years at Concord as a studio art major. FALL 2018 CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE

Sizemore left West Virginia in the summer of 1989 for the Southwest to explore his artistic career. He landed in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he continued to expand his creative education.

While in New Mexico, he worked as the chief bronze patina artist at Weston Studio Foundry, collaborating with world renowned artists such as Glenna Goodacre, Star York, Doug Hyde, and Lincoln Fox. Sizemore returned to West Virginia in the winter of 1996 and has since become an established metal artist. In addition to commissioned sculptures for business and private patrons worldwide, Sizemore continues to create works for galleries and sculpture gardens throughout the eastern United States. His sculpture is inspired by the landscapes he loves so much: the sparse, spare, linear high deserts of northern New Mexico and the lush, dark, river landscapes of southern West Virginia.


Citizen of the year Jessica Lilly Residents of Athens are accustomed to seeing Jessica Lilly with her husband Tim Doty, daughter Jayden, son Tyler, and the family dog strolling around town of an evening. This is not a unique sight in Athens, home of many such fine families, but one member of this particular family regularly descends to her broadcast studio in Marsh Library to serve as host of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s, Inside Appalachia. Jessica Lilly, the radio voice that puts Athens on the map, also reports the news from around southern West Virginia on West Virginia Morning, the WVPB network newscast.

Jessica earned a B.A. degree at Concord in Communication Arts with a focus on broadcasting, journalism and public relations, and studies in business administration. After graduation in 2007, she worked at WVNS-TV in Beckley as a producer, then reporter, before returning to Athens in 2008. Between then and now, Jessica’s work has been recognized annually by her professional peers. In 2013 she received the Significant Impact Award from the West Virginia Associated Press for her influence on broadcasting in the state. April 2018 marks three consecutive first-place wins in the Radio News Anchor category from the AP. Inside Appalachia: Water in the Coalfields, a collaboration between Jessica Lilly and Roxy Todd that examines critical infrastructure needs in southern West Virginia, won first place in the Documentary or In-Depth category, in 2018.

Caleb Lucas

Athens-Concord Town Social Scholarship

Rebekah Skeens

Jean Beasley Memorial Scholarship

Jessica was instrumental in launching Concord’s first FM station, WVCU-LP FM in 2015. The CU Alumni Association chose her as a Young Alumnus in 2015. She is also is the University’s cheerleading coach.

beautification award Janice Terry Each year “the best looking lawn in Athens” receives this honor. The home of Janice Terry and her late husband, Jack Terry, was selected by the Lions Club to receive the 2018 award. This well-manicured lawn graces the corner of West Broadway and North State Street and is visible to traffic on Route 20 as well.

A special plaque and sign will be on display in the yard for a year in honor of its beautiful landscaping and neat and attractive appearance. █

Town of Athens Print The Town Social Committee is selling Town of Athens prints that feature many of Athen's familiar buildings. Proceeds benefit the Gap Fund, which aids students financially in their effort to earn their degree.

These prints are available for only $10! Contact Sarah Beasley at




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Autumn arrived on “The Campus Beautiful” bringing with it the excitement of Homecoming 2018. The annual celebration was packed with festivities for alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends of the University and neighbors in the community.






PARADE & BONFIRE For one evening each autumn, Vermillion Street in Athens becomes a special route along which Concord’s annual Homecoming parade travels. The townspeople come out to watch, children eagerly await candy to be thrown their way, and University and community groups entertain with music, dance and colorful entries. The parade is a big night for the candidates and their respective organizations competing for Concord’s Homecoming Royalty crowns. Displaying their themebased floats, banners and costumes, they are the focal point of the exciting procession. The 2018 Homecoming parade took place the evening of Thursday, Oct. 4. After lining up at the Callaghan Stadium parking lot, the procession made its way through campus, then turned onto Vermillion Street, passed along



the crowd lined roadway and concluded at Church Street. Concord alum and journalist Merrily McAuliffe served as this year’s Grand Marshal. Merrily was a field reporter and news anchor for WMLT (now Mountain Lion News) and is a 2011 graduate of CU with a degree in broadcast journalism. She currently co-anchors 13 News This Morning as well as 13 News at Noon in Charleston, WV. After the parade, tradition continued with the bonfire in the Valley. Following the excitement of the parade, candidates turned their attention to the Lip Sync contest held in the Carter Center main gym on the evening of Friday, Oct. 5. Billboards displayed around campus during Homecoming week were also judged along with a philanthropy competition. This community service project raised items for the CU food pantry with 2,029 items of canned food, toiletries, school supplies and nonperishable items collected. »





Memories and Friendships Abound for Class of 1968 Among the alumni who returned to campus for Homecoming weekend were a dozen or so ladies, all members of the 50th Reunion Class. As classmates, sorority sisters and lifelong friends, the ties that bind these members of the Class of 1968 to each other and to Concord are strong. Homecoming 2018 was the perfect time to celebrate and strengthen these bonds. In honor of their 50th reunion, they were presented pompom corsages, a gift from the Advancement Office and a throwback to a Homecoming tradition from their Concord era. Along with loads of laugher and conversation, the classmates enjoyed eating in the cafeteria, spending time in the library, shopping in the bookstore, looking at yearbooks and posing for photographs together. “I haven’t laughed so much in a long time,” Marilyn Clark Niedziela said about reuniting with her friends. “We sit around and chat, chat, chat…just catching up.” Marilyn had stopped by the Reunion Class Hospitality Room in the University Point Alumni Lounge Saturday afternoon. She and a group of friends were reminiscing and sharing stories from their Concord days. As the memories flooded back, these special friends recalled taking the bus into Princeton to clothes shop and for pizza at a favorite restaurant. 46


These were the days when Concord’s women students weren’t allowed to wear slacks and a hot dog cost 15 cents in the student union. The Towers residence halls were under construction, but no students were living there yet. “I came back to see some of my sorority sisters,” Jo Anne Haynes Jacobs said. Jo Anne belonged to Alpha Sigma Tau when she was a Concord student. Gwen Lester Thorn said she especially enjoyed the time the Class of 1968 spent in the library during their reunion. “It was absolutely wonderful!” she exclaimed. A highlight of being back, she said, was seeing one of their former professors, Dr. Bill Ofsa. The Grill & Chill later that evening at University Point provided another opportunity for the Class of 1968 to gather. Sandra Saunders Lowe sat in the Pais Fellowship Hall at a round table, surrounded by her friends and their spouses. This tight knit group gets together during the year to visit and travel and even attends the weddings of each other’s children. Sandra said she enjoyed “being together and looking at the yearbooks.” Anita Spence said that “the memories we share” are especially important to her. “Everywhere we walk on campus, we have a story,” she said.


QUEST FOR THE CROWN Competing for the Homecoming crowns is a longstanding tradition at Concord and one taken seriously by the student groups who undertake the various contests that lead to the honor. This year, five teams representing 10 Concord student organizations vied for the honor of being crowned the 2018 Homecoming Royalty. Each year candidates compete in events with their entries based on the year’s theme. “Music Genres” was the theme for 2018. A popular vote cast by students is also part of the contest.


A number of events during Homecoming 2018 offered alumni the opportunity to reconnect and reminisce with classmates, friends and teammates. Reunion Classes for this year are the Class of 1968 (50th) and the Class of 1993 (25th). CU’s Athletic Department held its 8th annual golf outing at Pipestem State Park the morning of Friday, Oct 5. That afternoon, Pipestem was also the setting for the Concord Alumni Meet featuring cross country competition. A CU After Hours Friday evening on the President’s House lawn provided a festive spot for alumni, members of the Concord campus community and friends of the University to gather. Live music added to the fun. With free admission, the event offered guests the opportunity to donate to the Concord University Annual Fund. Activities continued on Saturday, Oct. 6 with a daylong agenda of Homecoming events. » CUAA Lifetime Members Pinning Ceremony attendees





Sunshine and blue skies dotted with fluffy clouds provided the backdrop for game day festivities on Saturday, Oct. 6. The thermometer rose through the 70s and hovered near the 80 degree mark making the day a hot one by October standards. With a schedule heavy on the outdoor activities, cooperation from the weather was a plus. A brunch on the lawn of University Point benefitted from the nice conditions. Made-to-order omelets with fixings like peppers, cheese, onions and more gave game goers a hearty start to the busy day. Live music and a place to sit and chat added to the ambiance. Also, that morning, Concord’s Athletic Department inducted its 2018 Hall of Fame Class which includes six individual athletes and two teams. These special Mountain Lions were honored in a ceremony in the Pais Fellowship Hall in University Point. The Reunion Class Hospitality Room in University Point’s Alumni Lounge provided the Classes of 1968 and 1993 a space to catch up with classmates and enjoy their 50th and 25th milestones. Bright laughter and stories of shared memories radiated from groups of friends visiting in the lounge during the day. The John David Smith Center for Social Work Education, located at 302 Plymouth Street, was dedicated in an 11a.m. ceremony. » FALL 2018 CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE


John David Smith Center for Social Work Education Dedicated in Special Ceremony A dedication ceremony for the John David Smith Center for Social Work Education at Concord University was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6. The dedication was part of Concord’s Homecoming 2018 activities. The center, located across from Concord’s campus at 302 Plymouth Street, is named in memory of Dr. John David Smith who passed away in October 2017. Dr. Smith was a devoted and esteemed member of the Concord community known for his dedication to the University’s students, alumni and administrative operations. His service extended to the Town of Athens where he made his home and to the field of social work throughout southern West Virginia. Friends, neighbors, colleagues and former students gathered for the outdoor ceremony on a beautiful fall morning. Several dogs were in the crowd with their owners, a fitting sight given John David’s compassion for animals, especially his beloved dogs, Rip and Charlie. “John David was an integral part of our campus,” stated President Kendra Boggess in her welcoming remarks. Dr. Boggess said that each person attending the ceremony was there because of some positive influence that Dr. Smith had upon them. She emphasized the “lives he touched” and that he was “an amazing ambassador for Concord.” Remarking on the extent of his involvement in campus life, she said, “He was never, not present.” “It was an honor to work with him,” she said. Dr. Scott Inghram, director of Concord’s Master of Social Work program, said, “John David was a colleague, a close friend and a mentor.” “His passing is profound. We still feel it every day in our department,” he said. The inspiration for the center, Dr. Inghram said, arose from Dr. Smith’s role as a “lifelong learner” and someone who “valued education.” He also acknowledged Dr. Smith’s “energy, vibrant personality and sense of humor.” Dr. Inghram spoke from the front of the center that

is a house converted into office and educational space. Faculty offices for Concord’s Master of Social Work program are housed there along with workstations for student employees. A conference room with abilities for live streaming of meetings and other educational events is also part of the facility. Concluding his portion of the program, Dr. Inghram read the poem “If–” by Rudyard Kipling. “That embodies John David,” he said. “That’s what he taught me.” Assistant Professor of Social Work Shawn Allen read a letter from John David’s niece, Crystal McDowelle Dotson, who was unable to attend due to a prior commitment. Following is an excerpt from the letter. “John David loved the students at Concord and I know he did everything possible to make sure the student experience at Concord was positive. I also know he many times assisted and encouraged students to participate in extracurricular activities and events, even if they themselves didn’t think it was within their means to participate. “The John David Smith Center for Social Work Education will provide services and support to students at Concord and I believe what happens here will indeed contribute to, and improve the experience for social work students. This is what he would have wanted; a facility that supports and fosters social work students throughout their journey. I ask you to think about John David Smith and what he would want for you each time you walk through the door of the center. He will be there in spirit nudging you and encouraging you to step out of your comfort zone and to be your best self. Continue his legacy…Love each other, support your community and help out someone in need whenever possible.” Dr. Joan Pendergast, director of Concord’s Bachelor of Social Work program, provided the ceremony’s introduction and opening and closing remarks. (For additional biographical information on Dr. John David Smith, please see the article on the Athens-Concord Town Social in this magazine.) CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Affinity tents, tailgates, and teas and other gatherings for sororities and fraternities were also part of the day’s agenda offering alumni the opportunity to reconnect with friends and classmates. The Concord University Alumni Association (CUAA) held a tailgate near the main gate of Callaghan Stadium. “I’ve seen some old friends and made some new ones,” CUAA President Susan Wilson Tuck ’87 said as she greeted alums at the tailgate. “For clusters of people, this is a destination for them.” Cheering on the Mountain Lions at the annual Homecoming football game is another big part of the festivities. Concord took on Glenville State with a 1 p.m. kickoff before a home side crowd of alumni, friends and fans. While the Pioneers made it to the winner’s column, Mountain Lion spirit remained at a high level. A Grill & Chill post-game party was held on the University Point Patio. Alumni, along with current and former faculty and staff, stayed after the game to reminisce and catch up with friends and enjoy a picnic meal and live music. “I think this is a wonderful event,” Dr. Dean Turner said at the Grill & Chill. “I hope you keep it going.” Dr. Turner is Professor of Music Emeritus. Mike Wimmer, a retired staff member, said he and his wife, Pat, came back to CU for the festivities because “it’s home.”




AND THE WINNERS ARE… Halftime brought the big news of the recipients of the 2018 Homecoming Royalty crowns. In a coronation ceremony at the 50-yard line, Elizabeth King from Evans, WV, representing Delta Zeta and Monte Overholtzer from Alderson, WV, representing Sigma Tau Gamma were announced as this year’s honorees. Dr. Kendra Boggess and Dr. Sarah Beasley crowned the winners. First runners-up are Annie Garnes from Athens, WV, representing Nu Zeta Chi and Jafar Musa, from Bedford, VA, representing the International Students Club. Second runners-up are Kaley Grace Morris from St. Albans, WV, representing Sigma Sigma Sigma and Blake Whitener from South Charleston, WV, representing Phi Sigma Phi. Other candidates competing for the 2018 crowns were Allie Sears from Princeton, WV, representing Alpha Sigma Tau and David Rose from Prosperity, WV, representing Chi Omega Psi, and Katelyn Gibbs from Powell, TN, representing Alpha Sigma Alpha and Matt Rose from Bluefield, WV, representing Tau Kappa Epsilon. █



Stuart Newman reminisces about his military days during a visit to Tamiami Airport in Miami. Photo Courtesy of Andy Newman




CONCORD – wwII looking back to



s one who always has believed we have minimum input in our own destiny, I was not overly surprised when a chance encounter at The French Goat in Lewisburg took me back more than 73 years to a memorable five months at then Concord State Teachers College. In 1943 Concord was one of more than 40 small colleges throughout the United States selected by the U.S. Army Air Corps as a preaviation cadet training facility. The main function of the program was as a solution to temporarily “docking” wannabe Air Corps – later Air Force – pilots, navigators and bombardiers due to insufficient flight training facilities. The Army Air Corps had underestimated existing flight school capacities before calling up thousands of reserve volunteers. In February 1943, less than three months from graduation at University of Florida, I was ordered to report to Miami Beach for basic training. Two months later I was on a troop train bound for West Virginia (I, among others, thought at the time it was Western Virginia). After two days and two nights on a rusty railroad coach, which well could have » CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



While Circling the Globe, Newman Lands for a Bit at Concord Originally from Chicago, Stuart Newman moved to Miami with his family when he was three years old. Soon after, the family relocated to Fort Lauderdale. Now 96, Newman continues to make South Florida his home along with a log vacation home near Blue Sulphur Springs, WV. Escaping the heat of Miami for the refreshing West Virginia mountains, Newman and his wife, Sandy, summer at the Greenbrier County retreat. Newman got his start as a journalist reporting on his high school’s football team and soon added baseball season to his beat. His by-lined articles appeared in the Fort Lauderdale Daily News. While he was a student at the University of Florida, he wrote a column for the paper and also worked there full-time during the summer. He continued his endeavors in journalism at Concord during World War II while he was stationed on campus as an aviation student with the U.S. Army Air Corps 15th College Training Detachment. He trained in Athens for five months in 1943. Among the highlights of this period was launching a newspaper for the detachment aptly named Contact. He explains how the publication got its name. “The 15th CTD cadets experienced 10 weekly hour long pilot instruction sessions in Piper Cub single engine trainers at Mercer County airport,” he said. “These very basic aircraft, as then with most small airplanes, had no self-starters. A mechanic would manually spin the propeller, following the pilot’s ‘Contact!’ command, which inspired the name for the detachment’s weekly newspaper.” Looking back to his time training in the cockpit, Newman remembers how on his seventh session he got a little too low and flew his plane under some power lines. “The startled instructor was less than happy,” he recalls. The low flying escapade aside, Newman went on to receive a positive rating from the flight instructor on his final test flight. He decided, however, to “let someone else do the driving” and opted to becoming a 54


bombardier/navigator. During his 32 months of military service, he completed 35 combat missions in Europe/the United Kingdom with the 381st bomb group in 8th AF Flying Fortress bombers. German anti-aircraft fire resulted in a crash landing during one of these missions. Pointing out that it is indeed a “small world,” Newman says that the British squadron rescuing his crew was led by a sergeant named Newman. Prior to his discharge, he served as a public relations officer at Coral Gables’ Biltmore Air Force Rehabilitation and Convalescent Hospital. Once out of the military, he thought he might further his education with a master’s degree in journalism, but changed plans when he and a college fraternity brother decided to venture into public relations. Launching his public relations firm in 1946, Newman continues today as the founder and chief executive officer of NewmanPR. Focusing on tourism public relations, the successful Miami company counts among its clients such well known entities in the travel industry as Carnival Cruise Line, Banana Coast, Holland America Line and The Florida Keys & Key West. An avid world traveler himself, Newman has visited 49 of the 50 United States – he has yet to visit South Dakota – and 91 countries. As for his favorite destinations, he lists Thailand, Haiti, Uruguay, Wales, Argentina, New Zealand and China. Not surprisingly, his extensive travels make for good material in his work as a travel writer. Newman’s professional affiliations have included serving in a number of leadership roles. Among these are: chapter president of Public Relations Society of America; vice president, American Public Relations Society; chairman, Society of American Travel Writers’ Associates Council; and president, Society of Professional Journalists Miami Chapter. He has also been a member of the University of Florida College of Journalism Public Relations Advisory Council.


Robert "Killer" Kyle

carried mourners to Lincoln’s funeral, we arrived at Princeton and boarded an Army truck for Athens. Concord initially provided an unexpected surprise with its beautifully landscaped campus and quite modern dormitories with many rooms recently vacated by drafted male students. Meals at the cafeteria usually were tasty and satisfying, and there was even a mini-post exchange. The Air Corps designated Concord as the 15th College Training Detachment, known familiarly as 15th CTD, and the reservists were labeled aviation students, not cadets, privates or, for that matter, any rank. A former Alabama attorney, 1st Lt. Charles Pinkston, commanded the detachment aided by two second lieutenants, 1st Lt. Mike Kaplan M.D. and several noncommissioned officers. Concord’s regular faculty, which takes us back to this memoir’s beginning, conducted geography, aviation and military history, mathematics, meteorology and other related subjects, In addition to the physical training and academic curricula at Concord, we were given 10 hours of pilot training in single-engine Piper Cubs at nearby Mercer County Airport. But that’s another story. While dining at the French Goat in July 2017 my wife Sandy responded to a frequent query of what brought us to Greenbrier County from Miami Beach as our summer home. She told them of my four-and-a-half months at Concord and mentioned the most unforgettable character of that deployment, the civilian physical training coach, Robert Kyle, whom I nicknamed “Killer Kyle” because of the exceptionally vigorous exercise routine he heaped on the aviation students. A diner at an adjacent table overheard Sandy’s response and rushed over exclaiming, “What did you say?” Sandy repeated the remark and was told, “Robert Kyle was my father-in-law,” and summoned her husband Dr. Jim Kyle — now Concord’s sports medical physician — to learn more details. I took up the story, relating a tale of tortuous crosscountry mountain runs in G.I. (government issue) hiking boots and military fatigues. No Nikes or lightweight shorts and T-shirts for the 15th! I recalled the day Coach Kyle – then a British citizen civilian contractor – decided

Mr. Stuart Newman with Dr. Jim Kyle outside of The French Goat in Lewisburg, WV.

we needed an obstacle course added to the already strenuous program. And true to form he decreed we aviation students should build it. When completed – on an uphill site of course – it included among other devices “monkey bars,” a structure composed of steel pipes traversed by swinging one-handed from one inch horizontal bars usually secured in their sockets. Not Kyle’s version of course. So I blurted out: “Mr. Kyle, can’t we secure these bars so they don’t spin?” He glared at me and shouted: “No way, Mister! Do you think Hitler is going to make it easy on you?” And from then on the contingent adopted my nickname for him of “Killer Kyle,” though never to his face. I suspect he certainly was aware of it and no doubt was privately amused. Robert Kyle later became a post-war coach at Concord. He died in June 2010. Jim and Barbara Kyle and the Newmans have become good friends as well as mutual foodies and wine aficionados and enjoy frequent meals together. When I arrived at the 15th about April 24, 1943, the agenda was loosely modeled after West Point with the senior A/S (aviation students) who had arrived earlier as A/S Officers branded by black stripes on their shirts. The A/S commanding officer, Phil Walters, took an instant dislike to me, no doubt because of my frequent questions and distaste for his arrogance. His response was to assign me excessive nighttime duty of marching around the campus and other onerous tasks. After a week of that I despaired and fretted that “At this rate I’ll never make flight school.” Then I had my great idea: the 15th CTD, even though the detachment consisted of four officers, a half-dozen noncoms and 150 aviation students, sorely needed a » CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



detachment newspaper. And having edited several University of Florida campus publications as well as spending summer internships as a full-time Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Daily News reporter, I was convinced I was the right guy for the editor-in-chief position. After securing an appointment with Lt. Pinkston, I related my idea and explained, “There’s really a need to inform the detachment and campus community about the ongoing contributions to the war effort being made here,” although I really felt it would largely serve to boost morale. Pinkston bought into it and, with me in the front seat with the corporal driver, we three drove to Princeton where he contracted for a weekly junior tabloid fourpage paper with Princeton Observer publisher Kyle McCormick’s job printing shop. “OK Newman, put your staff together and get with it,” the CO ordered. I had already done that, drawing on other goof-offs who had worked on college or other newspapers. My suggestion of “Contact” as the weekly’s name was accepted when seconded by the most colorful and significant staffer, Mike Kelly, whose wry, antiestablishment cartoons arguably were the first item read each week by the CTD contingent. My second, and even more fruitful, idea led to what became the fondest of memories of my remaining days at Concord and the 15th CTD. I was able to secure from Army Air Corps headquarters a photo and bio of the two- star general in command of the ASDs nationwide. I positioned the photo with an extremely flattering “A Flier’s General” headline as the dominant Page One element, hoping of course that it would be relayed to CTD headquarters as well as pleasing Lt. Pinkston. A few days later the public-address system blasted: “A/S Newman, report to the CO immediately!" “Uh-oh, what have I done?” I worried en route to the CO’s office where, happily, I found Pinkston with a big grin and the greeting “Mr. Newman, gotta show you something.” Whereupon he displayed a pair of captain’s bars. “Congratulations, sir; well deserved,” I responded, saluting him again. “Well, I must admit I did not

50th Anniversary Dog Tags presented to members of the 15th CTD in 1993.



Mr. Newman tours the World War II Memorial during an Honor Flight from Fort Lauderdale to Washington, D.C. in October. Photo Courtesy of Andy Newman

expect it at this time, I suspect that great front-page picture of the general undoubtedly speeded up the promotion. So, what can I do for you?” It required only a few seconds to tell him we could produce an even superior weekly with time off from drills and marching. Happily he agreed. He then produced a black armband and appointed me the 15th’s A/S Public Information Officer on a par with the seniors who, probably with cause, had been harassing me! Life thenceforth changed for this correspondent, and Concord and the 15th CTD became a virtual military paradise. Understandably, the campus census, with the male population significantly depleted by the draft and volunteering, resulted in three to four female undergrads per aviation student. Additionally, nonstudent girls from the surrounding area were always eager for dates with the 15th’s guys. I especially recall the 1943 July 4th celebration in nearby Bluefield, when we proudly marched in the parade and later were treated to lavish refreshments in many of the finer homes there.


I apparently hit the jackpot when the wife of a major coal mine owner who not only royally fed me and several of my close buddies, but also warmly introduced me to her gorgeous daughter, Anne, whom I subsequently dated. Her father apparently liked me and on at least one occasion offered me his Buick for my return to Concord after a late Saturday night party. I wisely declined. Other aspects of WWII Concord and Athens that no longer exist include the unique Toonerville Trolley, a one-car train that was the only public transport to Bluefield and Princeton. The Concord of 1943 provided no telephone service for the 15th CTD and the facilities to make a long- distance call home were limited to an elderly lady’s home in Athens, where the local switchboard was located. The A/S guys would “book” the call and with the then sparse available connections sometimes would wait 20 to 40 minutes for their call to be placed. The operator, who I dimly recall was called Aunt Emma, did provide us with free cookies and radio broadcasts. Today’s Concord, which is a perennial feature of our sightseeing tours for visiting house guests, I consider to be a major asset of West Virginia’s university system. My few months there remain among the most warmly remembered of my military career. █

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CONCORD UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS HELD A SPECIAL CEREMONY DURING HOMECOMING WEEKEND FOR THE INDUCTION OF THE 2018 HALL OF FAME CLASS. SIX ATHLETES AND TWO TEAMS WERE INDUCTED DURING THE OCT. 6 MORNING PROGRAM HELD IN UNIVERSITY POINT’S PAIS FELLOWSHIP HALL The honorees are: R.J. Anderson (men’s track and field), Adam Coon (men’s cross country and track and field), Darcy Donaldson (men’s golf), Ted Gillespie (football), Keith Morrisroe (baseball) ,Trey Smith (baseball), the 1961 baseball team and the 1996-97 men’s basketball team. This section was compiled by Wes McKinney '13 in the CU Sports Information Office.




MT. LION NEWS Cheerleading Issues Call for Little Mountain Lions


ANDERSON BECAME THE SECOND All-American in men’s track and field program history when he finished in the top eight in the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championships in 2012. Anderson was a United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches’ Association (USTFCCCA) All-Region selection during the 2012 outdoor season for his work in the 100-meter dash. The current assistant coach for the cross country and track and field programs at CU was a two-time West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) runner-up in the 100-meters and finished second in the 200-meter dash at the WVIAC Championships in 2012.

The Concord University Cheerleading program has announced the Little Miss Mountain Lion and Little Mr. Mountain Lion MVP program. Little Miss Mountain Lion is a program meant to provide an unforgettable experience for up and coming and aspiring cheerleaders. The program provides the opportunity to work with and get to know a Concord cheerleader and improve cheerleading skills while helping the Concord Cheer program with donations and fundraising efforts. Each participant will be assigned a cheerleader from the Concord cheerleading program. Participants should remain in contact with this cheerleader throughout the season. The participant must inform the cheerleader of every fundraiser created for this program. The participant who turns in the most money will receive a crown, sash, special CU megaphone and the title “Little Miss/ Mr. Mountain Lion.” Additionally, the winner will have the chance to ride in the 2019 Homecoming Parade. For more information about this program, contact cheer head coach Jessica Lilly at


A MEMBER OF CONCORD’S 2004 and 2007 cross country conference championship teams, Coon is only the second cross country runner to go be inducted into the Hall of Fame at CU, joining 2015 member Takuya Abe. The Comfort, WV native was a three-time All-WVIAC First Team (2004, 2006, 2007) performer in cross country. The 2004 WVIAC Championship team that Coon was a member of was Concord’s first league cross country title since 1968. In his track and field career, Coon was a three-time top three finisher in the 10,000-meter run at the WVIAC Track and Field Championships. CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Darcy Donaldson | MEN'S GOLF

DONALDSON CONCLUDED HIS CAREER as one of the most decorated golfers in Concord history. He was a three-time AllWVIAC First Team selection. The 2005-06 season was the best campaign for the former CU golfer. Donaldson was named the conference player of the year and earned a PING Honorable Mention All-American nod. Additionally, Donaldson helped the Mountain Lions to the 2006 regional golf championship – the first regional championship for Concord in any sport.

Keith Morrisroe


Ted Gillespie | FOOTBALL/COACH

GILLESPIE WAS AN INTEGRAL PART of the Concord football program as both a player and coach. The former Mountain Lion offensive lineman earned First Team All-WVIAC as a guard in 1966 – a team that captured the school’s second league championship and finished the season with a 9-1 overall record and a 6-0 WVIAC mark. The 1966 team also finished with a top-10 national ranking. Gillespie helped Concord to a second WVIAC title as an assistant coach in 1976 on head coach Tony Colobro’s staff. 60


ONE OF 10 ALL-AMERICANS to play baseball for the Mountain Lions, Morrisroe cemented his place at Concord with an All-American season in 2012 as Concord’s starting shortstop. At the conclusion of that season, Morrisroe was voted to Daktronics Second Team All-American as well as being named American Baseball Coaches’ Association (ABCA) First Team All-Region. Morrisroe was a two-time All-WVIAC First Teamer and earned the Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2011 at shortstop. As a true freshman in 2009, the native of northern Virginia led all of NCAA Division II in runs scored. Morrisroe finished his career as one of three players in program history with at least 200 hits and 200 runs scored while also posting a .396 career batting average.



THOUGH HE HASN’T PLAYED for Concord since 2010, Smith still finds his name in several spots in the Concord baseball record books. He won 25 of his 39 career starts to land third in all-time wins at Concord while striking out 214 – the second most in program history – over 251.1 innings which places him third in program history. Over his career, Smith tossed 15 complete games which ranks sixth at Concord. In 2008, Smith also helped guide the Mountain Lions to the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Wytheville, VA native was twice selected to the All-WVIAC Second Team (2009, 2010).

MT. LION NEWS From Mountain Lion to Successful Coach and Teacher Jim Long ’61 Shares Concord and Career Memories Alum James E. “Jim” Long is sharing what he calls a bit of “Concord football lore” in the hopes it will bring back happy memories for his Mountain Lion teammates. “In 1957 and 1958 Joe Friedl was the head coach assisted by ‘Killer’ Kyle, ‘Buck’ Jamison and ‘Bo’ Baxter. Coach Baxter was a photographer. He took head shots in helmets and gave us all a little plaque,” Jim said. The plaque bearing his photograph is a special memento from his time playing for Concord. Along with being a member of the football team, Jim was also on the baseball team. He graduated in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and physical education with aspirations of being a coach. After his Concord days, Jim did go on to enjoy a rewarding career as a coach and as a teacher. “I started my teaching career at Petersburg High in Petersburg, WV,” he said. “I was Beta Club advisor, coached varsity football, and started the first varsity interscholastic wrestling team at PHS in 1962.” “I had never seen a wrestling match,” he admits. During this time, he earned a master’s degree in Secondary School Administration from West Virginia University. “My forte was sports and I never became a school administrator. Athletic director was the closest I came to being an administrator,” he said. In 1968 he and his family moved to Dover, DE.

He taught life science there for 33 years at Central Middle School. His service to athletics included stints as intramural coordinator, athletic director, girl’s field hockey coach, softball coach and soccer coach. He was also the wrestling coach for 24 years. He moved into football in 1969 when he became a junior varsity assistant coach at Dover High School (DHS). He became the varsity wrestling coach at DHS in 1970. The year 1975 brought the school its first state wrestling champion. Jim retired in 2001 with 40 years of service as a teacher and 39 years as a coach in West Virginia and Delaware. However, he continued his service as the official DHS wresting scorekeeper until 2018 having held the post since 1973. He umpired more than 365 baseball games on the college and interscholastic level and was on the state baseball tournament committee for 40 years. In 2001 he was voted into the state coaches Hall of Fame. “My name is on a plaque in the Blue Rocks Stadium, [in] Wilmington, DE, along with the owner of the Phillies and others,” he said.



AlumniHappenings Pine Trees Chapter Awards Scholarship

Save the Date!

Samantha Grose, center, is shown with Pine Trees Alumni Chapter President Deborah Gillespie ’74 and CU President Kendra Boggess. Samantha is the most recent recipient of a $2,000 scholarship from the Pine Trees. A graduate of Princeton Senior High School, she is a freshman at Concord majoring in Elementary Education with a specialization in Special Education. She is a Bonners Scholar and a CU cheerleader.

CU Night with the WV Power Join us Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at the Sophisticated Hound Brewing Company for a CU After Hours Event!

We hope to CU there!

Sophisticated Hound Brewing Company 833 Mercer Street Princeton, West Virginia



On June 28 Concord alumni and friends from the Greater Kanawha Valley gathered at Power Park for the annual Concord Night with the WV Power gathering. Guests enjoyed traditional ballpark food and beverages while catching up with fellow Concordians and watching the WV Power take on the Hickory Crawdads.


CU After Hours at Weathered Ground Brewery

The Concord Advancement Office expanded its “CU After Hours” programming in the summer of 2018 by hosting a few different events in southern WV. On July 20 Weathered Ground Brewery in Raleigh County was the setting for the first CU After Hours of 2018. Alumni from all over southern WV gathered together for a great evening filled with local food and beverages, live music and lots of reminiscing.

Pine Trees Chapter Summer Social

The Pine Trees Alumni Chapter got together at the home of Ott & JoAnna Fredeking ‘73 on July 27 for their summer social. Attendees brought their favorite covered dish along with a non-perishable food donation for the CU Food Pantry. The chapter also made a $500 donation to the CU Food Pantry in addition to all the food items that were collected for immediate distribution.

CU After Hours at Campestre For the August CU After Hours event over 60 alumni, students and friends of CU gathered at the new Campestre restaurant in Princeton for food, drinks and fellowship. The August 7 get together also provided a great opportunity for catching up with CU President Dr. Kendra Boggess and getting updates from her and other CU administrators on what’s happening on campus.




2017 CU Zeta Upsilon Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha Reunion

On the weekend of September 8, 2017, the Pi Kappa Alpha Zeta-Upsilon Chapter at Concord University held the 8th annual reunion in Lewisburg, WV. In attendance were 42 brothers and wives of those initiated during the years of 1969 to 1986. Friday events included golf and a reception dinner at the Lewisburg Elks Club. The Saturday events were once again hosted by of Griff and Lynne Callahan in Cold Knob, WV. Everyone enjoyed the food, games and sharing memories of our special years at Concord. Saturday events include the recognition of 24 known brothers who have joined the chapter eternal. Each name is remembered on the Pi Kappa Alpha shield and diamond designed and built by Brother Marc Plummer.

Photo Guidelines We appreciate the photographs you share with us for possible inclusion in Concord’s magazine. To help us provide quality reproduction of photographs, we are offering the following guidelines for your information. Photographs need to be at least 300 dpi. Image file size needs to be at least 1mb per photo. Photos should be in jpeg format and taken with a camera and not a cellphone. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Advancement at or 304-384-6311. Thank you!




CU Night with the Princeton Rays

CU After Hours Alumni + Student Mixer

Monday, August 20 was a perfect summer night for some baseball as the annual CU Night with the Princeton Rays was hosted at Hunnicutt Field. This event has been part of Welcome Week activities for the past few years and offered free admission to the ballgame for all faculty, staff, students and alumni who showed up in their Concord colors. The Rays took home the victory over county rival, the Bluefield Blue Jays, and everyone in attendance enjoyed a great evening!

The September CU After Hours event was a unique one as the Advancement Office hosted its first Alumni + Student Mixer. This get together was held on the Pais Patio at University Point and offered the opportunity for students to meet with alumni in their major and talk with them about what they can expect as they pursue a career in that field.

Yankee Chapter Alumni Tailgate The Yankee Alumni Chapter invited other Concordians in the eastern panhandle of WV and the northern VA area to join them in Shepherdstown, WV on September 29 as the CU football team took on the Shepherd University Rams in their Homecoming game. Over 30 alumni and friends gathered for a tailgate prior to kickoff. Bob Gallione ’68, Yankee Chapter president, was presented with a thank you gift for all of his years of service to CU and the Yankee Chapter.



Alumni Spotlight


JUNE 2018

Brian Allen '90, '13 Brian Allen '90, '13, Continuity Director at WJLS in Beckley, was awarded "Best Creative" in the radio category at the 2018 West Virginia Broadcasters Association annual awards ceremony in Morgantown, WV. Allen joined West Virginia Broadcasting Raleigh County, in 2016. He writes copy, produces commercials and schedules their air time. He's also done some creative voice work and announcing for "99.5 The Big Dawg." Allen submitted the commercial he created for a local client last fall.

JULY 2018

Christy Laxton ’04 and Justin Marlowe ‘01

Congratulations to Concord alumni Christy Laxton and Justin Marlowe on both being named to the Generation Next: 40 Under 40 Class of 2018! The class was announced earlier this year at an event in Charleston and includes West Virginians from all over the state with backgrounds in fields including law, education and fundraising.


Richard Jarrell ‘84 Congratulations to alum Richard Jarrell ’84 on being awarded his third Chick-fil-A restaurant, set to open off of Harper Road in Beckley later this year. Jarrell is one of only 19 operators in the national chain to be awarded three restaurants. We wish Richard much success as he expands his business!


Herbert Wheeler ‘65


In August, Concord alum Herbert Wheeler ‘65 was inducted into the West Virginia Wall of Valor. The Wall of Valor award was created to recognize extraordinary pilots with military experience. Wheeler is only the second individual to be inducted into the aviation Wall of Valor. Congratulations to Mr. Wheeler on such a distinguished honor! Alumni Spotlight features outstanding achievements of alums and is highlighted on CU’s website. To read further about these incredible alums, visit


Class Notes

ACHIEVEMENTS 1950s ____________ HUEY MILLER ’56, JIM STEWART ’66 and RON STENNETT were inducted into the West Virginia Sports Legends this summer. They were among 24 new members inducted during the group’s annual banquet held in Beckley. Miller is known as a coaching legend in Wyoming County, West Virginia. Stewart, also honored as a coach, is an Oceana and Concord basketball great. Stennett takes his place as an all-around legend at Concord and Hinton.

MARGIE AKERS ’58 has received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who. A press release issued about her honor states, “An accomplished listee, Ms. Akers celebrates many years’ experience in her professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes she has accrued in her field.” She taught mathematics at Spanishburg High School in West Virginia and mathematics and English in Fenton, MI elementary and middle schools. Margie served as a member of the mathematics curriculum committee for the school system and belonged to several educational associations. The Fenton Education Association recognized her as an Outstanding Mathematics Teacher. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Concord and a Master of Education degree in elementary education from the University of Michigan.

His career experience includes more than 25 years in resort and hotel sales management. In his new position he will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of sales and catering at the Resort. Phil received a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and Tourism Management degree from Concord.

1990s ____________

1970s ____________ TRISH (LILLY) BARRETT ’73 currently serves as the Director of Entrust’s Women to Women Ministry Training for Europe. She has served with Entrust as associate staff since 2014. Entrust is a Christian non-profit dedicated to training men and women across the world for leadership positions in ministry. Trish’s base for travels is Baltimore, MD. A native of Hinton, Trish received a Bachelor of Science in Education degree from Concord. She also holds a master’s degree in Christian Education from Bethel Seminary, San Diego, CA, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Spirituality from the Ecumenical Institute of St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore.

1980s ____________

PHIL LANE ’89 has been appointed Director of Sales and Catering at the Resort at Glade Springs in Daniels.

ROGER A. SHREWSBURY ’90 has opened Shrewsbury’s Photography in Athens. His business, including a studio and gallery, is located on Rt. 20 beside The Deli Mart. A Lerona native now living in Rock, Shrewsbury worked in the Information Technology field for nearly three decades in the banking and aerospace industries. “After leaving the corporate world I decided to follow my heart and passion and open a photography studio in Athens,” he says. Shrewsbury’s Photography offers a wide range of services including high school senior pictures, family portraits, professional headshots, church directories, sports photography, U.S. Passport photos and photo restorations.

MARK ANGLE ’93 has accepted the position of Education Services Coordinator with Southern Oregon Education Service District (ESD). In his new role, he will be coordinating curriculum, instruction, and assessment for the ESD’s thirteen component school districts, which serve 50,000+ students in 100 schools across three counties in Southern Oregon. TRAVIS BRIDGETTE ’97 has been named Southeast Regional Sales Manager for Streamlight Inc.’s fire and industrial markets. Based in



Class Notes Eagleville, PA, Streamlight is a global provider of high-performance lighting tools. Travis brings more than 20 years of experience as a manager of regional sales programs to his new post. He previously worked for Grainger Industrial Supply in Atlanta and is an OSHA Qualified Safety Sales Professional. BRYANT MOREHEAD ’97 has been named the new County Manager of Haywood County, North Carolina. Morehead has spent the majority of his career working for Gaston County, North Carolina. Along with his most recent position of Assistant County Manager, he has also served as a budget analyst, assistant budget director, budget director and director of financial services. Bryant received a bachelor’s degree in history from Concord and is currently working on a master’s degree at Virginia Tech. He is a native of Bland County, Virginia. JOSHUA CRAFT ’99 has been appointed principal at Callaghan Elementary School in Covington, VA. He received both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education from Concord. Joshua has served as an instructional assistant, a classroom teacher on the elementary and middle school levels, a middle school assistant principal and athletic director, and an elementary school principal. He served Dabney S. Lancaster Community College for 18 years as an instructor and the co-director of the Summer Regional Governor’s School in field ecology.

2000s ____________ 68

JENNIFER GRAVELY ’02 has been named the new assistant principal FALL 2018 CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE

Alums Share Special Bond CATHY BIAS WAGNER ’74 and TAYLOR DIXON ’18 share an interesting Concord connection. Cathy, a West Virginia native, moved to Ocala, FL, after she graduated from Concord with a degree in elementary education. She and her husband worked in the school system there for nearly 40 years. “I taught kindergarten and in 2002, I had a sweet little girl named Taylor Dixon in my class,” Cathy said. Later in high school, Taylor was a star tennis player. Cathy saw Taylor’s aunt out shopping one day and learned that her former student would be attending her alma mater. “One day, in a department store here in Ocala, I ran into her aunt who told me that Taylor had applied at a school in West Virginia and wondered if I knew anything about a school called Concord. Imagine my delight!” Cathy said. While Taylor was at Concord, the Wagners made several trips to Athens from Florida to visit with her and to watch her play tennis. Making their connection even stronger, Taylor pledged Delta Zeta, Cathy’s sorority. Taylor earned a degree in education from Concord. Cathy had the opportunity to come back to campus for her graduation. Now an educator herself, Taylor is teaching math and coaching girls and boys tennis at George Washington High School in Charleston, WV.

for Oak Grove Elementary School by the Roanoke County (Virginia) School Board. Gravely has been a teacher and instructional coach in Franklin County. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Concord and a Master’s Degree in administration and supervision from Averett University.

ANNA HARDY ’02 and her family recently bought their first house in Hinton. A group of her friends decided to plan a day to surprise her

and help with yard work and other chores. They started a Facebook group called Honoring Anna. Among those who gathered to help were friends from Anna’s CU days who traveled from Pennsylvania and Fairmont, WV. While rainy weather derailed the group’s plans to create a garden, they did add some seasonal decorations to the property and completed additional tasks. Anna’s new home was originally built as a school house called Brooks School approximately 200 years ago. The building has since been renovated into a house and contains interesting architectural features.

JADA REEVES ’02 has been named the 2019 West Virginia Teacher of the Year. Reeves is a fifth grade teacher at Bradley Elementary School in Mt.

Class Notes Alums Part of Emmy Winning Production Team for ‘Abracadabra’

the other County Teacher of the Year recipients have received a grant and gift cards. MIKE KODAK ’08 has been elected mayor of Pineville, WV. He earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Concord. He has served Wyoming East High School as a history teacher and the Athletic Director.

2010s ____________

The “Abracadabra” production team, shown left to right, includes John Hale, VFX artist; Marilea Butcher, producer; James Caplinger, actor, “Salty the Pirate;” James Nemitz, actor, “Professor Science;” and Jeff Kerscher, composer. Photo: Phillips Mitchell Photography

MARILEA BUTCHER ’95 and JOHN HALE ’07, along with the rest of the production team for the children’s television program “Abracadabra”, have won an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award for an episode of the series. The award for “Joey’s Time Machine” was presented at a gala in August by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. The win comes from the third Regional Emmy nomination for the half-hour show. “Abracadabra” is aired by West Virginia Public Broadcasting (WVPB) and is seen by audiences across a 10-state area and into Canada. Dr. Michael Adelman, President Emeritus of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM), created the series that teaches children ages 4 to 10 about nutrition, health, safety and science through music, magic and ventriloquism. Portraying Mike in the show, Dr. Adelman runs a magic shop and is the best friend and guardian of Joey, a boy puppet. “Abracadabra” is produced by Mike & Joey Productions, in association with the WVSOM and WVPB. The program is part of the WVSOM’s Healthy Children’s Initiative. Episodes for season six of the acclaimed series were filmed at Concord this summer. Concord students, faculty and staff assisted with the production.

Hope. Along with her work in the classroom, Reeves is a member of numerous committees at her Raleigh County school. She also volunteers in the community with youth sports. The West Virginia Department of Education made the announcement in September at an event in Charleston. Reeves was selected for the top honor

as one of five finalists. She now moves on to compete as West Virginia’s representative in the National Teacher of the Year recognition. Several perks come along with the top teacher award. Reeves is receiving a classroom technology package, use of a vehicle for engagements and three $5,000 gifts from businesses. She and

JOEY FAMA ’11 is racking up the awards in the film industry. Already the recipient of several prestigious honors, Fama is adding to his acclaim with his short musical film “The Carnival Kid”. Based on the Jour Majesty song by the same name, “The Carnival Kid” received the Jury Award at the Northern Virginia Film Festival in April. Other nominations have placed the film in contention for more honors this fall.


BRITTANY DAMERON ’11 and Darrell Dameron welcomed a baby girl, Emma Marie Dameron, on August 15, 2018 at 12:55 a.m. She weighed 7 pounds and was 20 inches long. CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018


Class Notes

IN MEMORY 1950s ____________


RALPH EUGENE BALL ’51: June 21, 2018. Born in Princeton November 14, 1926, he was the son of the late Clarence Edward and Arbelia Ann Snider Ball. Following graduation from Princeton High School, Ralph earned a scholarship to and played basketball at West Virginia University with the intention of majoring in Physical Education. After one year he was drafted and left school for the U.S. Army to serve his country during World War II. Following his discharge from the military, he came to Concord College where he played ball and earned his bachelor’s degree in Education and later his Master of Science degree from Radford University in 1974. He taught and coached in the Mercer County School system starting at Spanishburg High School before becoming a teacher and Head Basketball Coach at Princeton High School in 1960. Ralph stayed at Princeton High School for the next 29 years where he coached 643 games, won six consecutive sectional titles from 1979 to 1984, went to three consecutive state championship finals claiming the state championships in 1979 and 1981 and earned numerous accolades for his players, himself and Princeton High School throughout his career. Ralph truly earned the title “Heart and Soul of


Princeton Basketball”. He was named to the Princeton High School Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2008 the City of Princeton declared September 20 to be Ralph Ball Day and at a reception and dinner honoring him the Princeton High School Gym was renamed in his honor. He was a resident of Princeton. It would be impossible to count the number of children, young men and women and adult lives Ralph Ball touched throughout the years and the respect he has earned with his hard work, discipline and expectations of success he maintained for each of them. In addition to his parents his wife, Effie Gray Ball; three brothers, C.E. Ball, Jr., Carl Ball and S.W. “Buck” Ball; five sisters, Hazel Nicely, Sadie Collins, Helen Elam, Hallie Young and B. Joyce Ball preceded him in death. Survivors include two daughters, Jeanie Peal and her husband Steve and Debra Ball all of Princeton; two sons, Ralph E. “Skip” Ball and his wife Carmen of Princeton and Brad Lee Ball of Beckley; four grandchildren, Melissa Jean “Misty” Peal and her companion Derek Hudson, Brad “BJ” Ball, Jr. and his wife Carmen, Wendy Peal Johnson and her husband Craig and Paige Amber Belcher and her husband Ken; six great-grandchildren, Emma Gray Johnson, Jackson and Amber Belcher, Liam, Logan and Luke Ball. DEWEY BONE, JR.,’51: July 25, 2018. Mr. Bone was born on March 18, 1930, at Surveyor and was the son of the late Dewey Bone, Sr. and Mary Daniel Bone. He graduated from Marsh Fork High School in 1948 and was also a graduate of Concord College. Mr. Bone later received a master’s degree and a Certificate of Advanced Study from West Virginia University. He retired from the Raleigh County School

System after 37 years of service as a principal. He was a member of St. Mary’s United Methodist Church and attended Memorial Baptist Church. He was a resident of Beckley. Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Lucy Williams Bone; a daughter, Dr. Jane Donovan and husband, Graeme, of Louisville, KY; a son, Thomas Dewey Bone and his wife, Terri, of Pittsburgh, PA; a sister, Lois Hamrick and her husband, Grover, of Huntington, WV; and four grandchildren, Patrick Dewey Bone, Dr. Megan Elizabeth Bone, Timothy Edward Bone and Kathleen Donovan Dailey and her husband, Sam. One niece and two nephews also survive. PHYLLIS MILLER KESSLER ’54: February 18, 2017. Born on May 20, 1927 at Nallen, WV, she was the daughter of the late Cecil Hefner Miller and Fern Champe Miller. Phyllis taught home economics for 39 years in the Fayette County school system. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Home Economics from Concord College and received her master’s degree from Marshall University. A resident of Fayetteville, she was a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma International Society – Omega Chapter and the GFWC Fayetteville Woman’s Club. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband of 32 years, Lawrence A. Kessler, and a sister, Virginia L. Blizzard. She is survived by a brother, Bill Miller, of Nallen. RICHARD ALLEN MANN ’57: July 6, 2018. Born August 21, 1932, Richard was the only child from the marriage of Allen Robert

Class Notes Mann and Lottie Vest Cochran Mann. He was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Zeretha Avilee Walker Mann, the daughter of Stralie and Nada Mae Walker of Shady Spring, WV, as well as eight half brothers and sisters from the Cochran side and 13 from the Mann side. A resident of Beaver, WV, Richard was a retired Army veteran, with combat service in Korea, and was awarded two Purple Hearts, United Nations Medal, Korean Service Medal, American Defense Medal, and the Combat Infantry Badge. He was also a member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the 5th Regimental Combat Team Association. Richard attended Beaver Elementary, Shady Spring High School, and Beckley College. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Concord College and a master’s degree from Marshall University. Richard had additional postgraduate work at Marshall and the University of Tennessee. Before military service, Richard worked as a coal truck driver. After recovering from wounds received in combat and graduating college, he worked as a schoolteacher at Marsh Fork High School, and as a teacher and guidance counselor at Shady Spring High School. He also served as the Adult Education Supervisor at the Raleigh Country Academy of Careers and Technology and retired as the Raleigh Country Schools Transportation Director, a position he held for 12 years. A consummate believer in the importance of education, Richard was one of the founders of The Shady Spring Citizens Scholarship Foundation, and he served as the Chairman of the Selection Committee of The Westmoreland Coal CompanyPenn-Virginia Scholarship Foundation for 33 years. Richard also severed as the President of the West Virginia Association of Pupil Transportation, and was a member of Moose Lodge #1606. Richard is survived by more than 40 nephews and nieces, and his two children and four grandchildren,

that include his son, Richard Allen Mann II and his wife Drema Reed Mann, and their four children, Lucas, Sabastian, Montana, and RayneAnne, of Princeton, WV, and his daughter, Samantha Avilee Mann and her husband Richard Meece, of Shady Spring, WV. Many cherished Richard’s friendship and appreciated his forthrightness and honesty. His integrity and values severed as a roadmap for his extended family and colleagues to follow. Most importantly, his children and grandchildren have the wisdom and lessons he shared, along with the example of his character, to guide them through life. JAMES (JIM) FRANKLIN RUSSELL, JR. ’57: July 23, 2018. Born in Bluefield, WV October 26, 1935, he was the only child of Frank and Ruth Maxey Russell who preceded him in death. He graduated from Beaver High School in the class of ’53. He earned a B.S. degree from Concord. Jim began his business career at the Bank of Pocahontas as Assistant Cashier. In 1959, he joined Virginia Foods of Bluefield as advertising manager. After 35 years of service he retired as Vice President and General Manager. During his business career, he was an active member of WV Wholesalers Association, VA Food Dealers Association, VA Wholesalers Association, and National American Wholesale Grocers Association where he served as a Vice President/ Convention Planning Team/Task Force, and as Division Managers Exposition Host. He served as Vice President of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce and President of the Bluefield Sales Executive Club. He was active in many charitable/ civic organizations: Chairman, Salvation Army Advisory Board; Chairman, United Way Commercial Division; 18 years on City of Bluefield

Planning/Zoning Commission; and the Board of Directors, Bluefield Union Mission. His volunteer activities included: Bluefield Regional Medical Center; Chairman, West Virginia Homecoming ’96, City of Bluefield; Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Club; Bluefield Coal Show; Better Living Show and Mountain Festival. He served as a Hokie Representative of the Virginia Tech Athletic Fund since its inception. He was a veteran of the U S Army and a member of American Legion Riley-Vest Post 9, Bluefield Masonic Lodge 85, Bluefield Chapter Rose Croix, Scottish Rites Bodies 32 Degree Mason, Bluefield Commandery No 19, Knights Templar, Beni Kedem Shrine Temple, Bluefield Shrine Patrol, Royal Order of Jesters Court 111, Mountaineer Ridge Runners, Princeton Elks Lodge 1459, University Club, Past President Clover Club, Bluefield Country Club, Fincastle Country Club, Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, Concord He-Man’s Association, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He was an active member of First Christian Church, Bluefield WV, where he served as Deacon. He is survived by his loving wife and best friend of over 65 years, Tonia Harrison Russell of Bluefield, WV; his daughter, Lynn Russell Williams of Bluefield WV and her children, Jeremy Williams and wife Brandy, and their son Shad of Clearwater, FL, and Laura Williams Clark and her husband Stephen of Killeen, TX; his son, Jeffrey Carl Russell and his wife Jo, of Blue Ridge, VA, their daughter, Ashley and husband Adam Hollingsworth, and their children Jason, Jacob, Braydon and Brooke of Roanoke, VA; son, John and Syndi Diller and their children Jake and Ethan of Algonquin, IL.



Class Notes JACK WESTFALL ’57: July 2, 2018. Born in Hinton, WV, he was the son of the late Wesley and Julia Bragg Westfall. He was also preceded in death by three brothers, Buster, Charles and Billy Westfall; and an uncle, John Bragg. Mr. Westfall served in the U.S. Air Force for four years during the Korean War. He graduated from Concord University and moved to Chester, Va., where he began his career as an educator. Mr. Westfall retired in 1987, after 30 years of teaching at Thomas Dale High School. He coached football, basketball and track, and was inducted into the Thomas Dale Ring of Champions. He was an avid sports fan, enjoyed being outdoors and loved to visit his family farm in West Virginia. Mr. Westfall is survived by his wife of 61 years, JoAnn Brown Westfall; daughters, Debra Stewart and husband, Jeff, of Marietta, GA, Paige Newcomb and husband, Jimmy, of Chester, VA and Stacey Blair Robertson and husband, Sean, also of Chester; grandchildren, Tommy Stewart and wife, Alyssa, of Dallas, GA and John Stewart of Charleston, SC; a great-granddaughter, Julia Stewart; a brother, Jimmy Westfall and wife, Mildred; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

1960s ____________


FREDERICK W. “FRED” SCHROM, JR., ’61: September 17, 2018. Born October 19, 1937 in Washington, D.C., he was the son of the late Frederick “Fritz” Schrom, Sr. and Lois Jeanne Schrom. A resident of War, he graduated from Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD, and Concord College. He received


his Master’s in Education degree from WVU. He was a member of the War United Methodist Church, and was dedicated to his church and community. Fred began teaching in McDowell County in 1961 and was a coach at Big Creek High School in War for 22 years. He was named high school wrestling coach of the year for 1986-87 by the WV Coaches Association, and in 1975 was named WV coach of the year by Amateur Wrestling News. In 2008, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame honored him with a “Lifetime of Service to Wrestling” award. He was also inducted into the McDowell County Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by his wife, Gerrie Ferrante Schrom; a son David Schrom; and a brother, Carl Schrom. Those left to cherish his memory are two sons, Steven Schrom of Austin, TX and Matthew Schrom of San Antonio, TX; two sisters, Lorene “Dommie” Barry and Lois Jeanne Bequette; and six grandchildren, Sarah, Regan, Tessa, Jackson, Bennett and Roman Schrom.

JAMES EDWARD “JIM” MEREDITH ’65: August 17, 2018. Born September 30, 1939 in Alderson, WV, he was the son of the late Harry L. Meredith and Ella Scruggs Meredith. Jim was a graduate of Concord University and West Virginia University and earned a Ph.D. in Audiology and Speech Pathology. He formerly worked at Robert Miller ENT Hearing Services and Elkins Memorial Hospital. Jim and his wife Susan operated Hear Again, Inc. on Stafford Dr. in Princeton. He was a resident of Princeton. In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by one brother, Harry L. Meredith and

one grandson, Reese Allen Martin. Survivors include his wife, Susan “Tootie” Meredith of Princeton; children, Victoria Elizabeth Meredith of Gastonia, NC, Erika Lynn Wimmer and husband Josh of Princeton, Jesse Allan Yuhasz of Seattle, WA, and John Scott Yuhasz of Chicago, IL; two grandchildren, Livia Blake Martin and Vonn Jennings Wimmer; niece, Margaret “Missy” Meredith and nephew, Bruce Meredith.

BRUCE GERARD HANSEN ’68: September 6, 2018. He was born in Queens, New York on September 9, 1944 to Norman and Evelyn Hansen. Bruce moved from New York to attend Concord College where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. He decided that West Virginia was indeed “almost heaven” and began a career there as an economist with the U. S. Forest Service, which lasted 37 years. During his time as an economist, he continued to pursue higher education. Bruce completed his Masters of Business Administration degree in 1978 and his PhD in 1990, both from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Bruce was preceded in death by his parents and older brother, Richard A. Hansen. He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Judith Lynn Smith Hansen; son Dr. Gregory Hansen and wife Carla; son Dr. Chris Hansen and wife Lori; sister Carolyn Hanold and brother-in-law Richard Hanold; mother-in-law Lydia Hilda Smith; grandchildren Haley, Keaton, Cameron, Major, Mia and Brooks Hansen, to whom he was known lovingly as “Poppy”; numerous brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, and special friends Steve and Betty Keaton, all of whom he loved dearly. Bruce was a

Class Notes loving husband, father and friend who would “get you” with his intelligent, witty sense of humor in the blink of an eye. He was loved by not only Mountain Lions, Mountaineers and Hokies, but Hoos and Hoosiers, too.

DENISE MARIE CASTANOLI PARKER CIRCLE ’69: September 13, 2018. Denise was 70 years old and lived in Athens. She was born on November 15, 1947 in the Auburn University campus infirmary in Auburn, Alabama to Alder F. Castanoli, Jr. and Frances E. Simmons. She was a 1965 graduate of South Charleston High School, a graduate of Concord University and was a retired WIC Nutritionist. Denise was a long-time member of Concord United Methodist Church and member of the church choir. She sang in various community choirs as well. Denise was preceded in death by her father and her sister Suzanne. She is survived by her mother, her husband Keith Circle, her daughters Kimberly Jones and husband Rick of Delaware, and Megan Cuccaro and husband Ken of Connecticut; three grandchildren, Olivia, Rocko and Santino Cuccaro, four great-grandchildren, Jayden Hull, Ryann Tingle, Jordynn Jones and Braelynn Garrison; step-children Greg Circle and wife Elizabeth, Anna Circle Hogsett and husband Shawn, and Michael Circle and wife Debra; step-grandchildren Gregory Circle, Lakata and Shawn-Michael Hogsett, Desmond, Jackson and Parker Circle, as well as numerous other loved ones and many church and professional friends.

1970s ____________ EDWARD “ED” JOSEPH CABBELL ’70: May 13, 2018. Ed was born in Eckman, WV, on June 26, 1946, son of John Marshall Cabbell and the late Cassie King. He was an educator, life-long civil rights activist and a resident of Rome, GA. He is survived by the mother of his children, Madeline Burger; his daughters Melissa Rolan (Troy), Winnia Cabbell; his grandchildren Nakesha Cabbell, Autumn Simmons (Tarrence), Steven Wooten (Candace), and Ayana Harmon (William); his greatgrandchildren, Ja-Nyah Showalter, Vincent Wooten, Ezkakiah Wooten, and Aubrie Simmons; his sisters, Janice Cabbell, Deborah Owens, and Sybil (Cabbell) Graham. He is predeceased by his brother, Johnnie O. Cabbell; his grandmothers Carrie Cabbell and Myrtle Haley. He is also survived by a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and all his friends. Ed graduated from Kimball High School with honors in Kimball, WV (1964). He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education/social studies at Concord College where he directed the Concord College Upward Bound and Special Services Programs (19691975) and taught history. He studied at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, graduating as the first African American to earn a master’s degree in Appalachian Studies. For the last five decades, he became a recognized authority on Appalachian studies, and particularly Appalachian African American studies. Ed coedited “Blacks in Appalachia”, a book that followed from his master’s thesis project that has been hailed as the groundbreaking work that launched Appalachian African American studies. Ed is the founder and

director of the John Henry Memorial Foundation/Festival and publisher of Black Diamonds magazine, both of which encourage study of black Appalachian life and culture. At the John Henry Memorial Festival, he performed accompanied and unaccompanied spirituals. He claims to have learned his singing mostly from his grandmother who lived from 1890 to 1991. He spoke extensively of the contextual history of individual spirituals particular to their singing in his grandmother’s African American community in West Virginia. He was founder and director of the Miss Black Pearl Pageant, Miss Black West Virginia Pageant and Miss John Henry Folk Festival. Ed was a devoted father, grandfather and singer. He enjoyed singing and talking about his lineage and culture. He traveled all over the mountains and spoke in Rome, Italy about black culture and life, and was an amateur spoon/bone player. He often sang at the Georgia Mountain Music Club (Bluegrass, Country and Gospel Music) and was known as a soulful vocalist among his avid listeners. He directed community and cultural programs and projects and worked as a social worker. He was a community activist who spearheaded the Neighborhood Improvement Association and through his efforts led to the construction and naming the street known as Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Princeton, WV. He will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him. He served as member and Deacon of Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church of Princeton, WV (19681989), NAACP, and VFW. He was a proud member of the Georgia Mountain Music Club and Mount Zion Christian Methodist Episcopal Church until his death.



Class Notes TRUDY GAYLE ELLISON CORVIN ’70: May 27, 2018. On November 9, 1948, Trudy was born to the late James Roscoe Ellison and Nannie Mae (Meadows) Ellison of Camp Creek. Trudy was a graduate of Spanishburg High School, Concord College, and received her Master’s Degree in Education from Salem University. Trudy was a beloved, retired teacher of Mercer County Schools; an educator with a passion for teaching for more than 40 years. She was a talented artist, as well as an avid gardener. Also, she was a “die hard” NASCAR fan of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. She was a resident of Princeton. Her world was brightened by the love of her family, friends, and her “special” fur baby, Riley. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister, Diana Sue Ellison Fife and her brother-in-law, Philip “Pup” Ray Fife of White Sulphur Springs. Survivors include her husband of 43 years, George Robert Corvin, Jr. of Princeton; daughters, Rosalind Carmon, husband Michael and son Zachary of York, Pennsylvania; Nikki Worrell, husband Rodney and daughter Tara Corvin of Belpre, Ohio; Brittney Robinson, husband Michael and daughter Elexa of Summerfield, NC; son, Markhanna Corvin and wife Allyson of Camp Creek; life-long friends, David and Judy Moore of Princeton; and numerous nieces, nephews, and family members.


VAUGHN RAY “COACH” YORK ’70: September 21, 2018. Coach will be remembered for his


wonderful teaching style, strategic coaching methods, and the way he motivated kids and co-workers. He loved to travel, hike and anything that dealt with his family. He was a well-loved and well-respected teacher that loved to guide kids in bettering their lives. Coach was an excellent baseball player. He was a member of the All State Baseball Team, played mainly catcher for Concord College, and continued his career in the American Legion league. He went on coaching several successful teams in multiple sports. He was born in Princeton, WV on October 9, 1949, to Paul Floyd and Alice York. He graduated with a Master’s in Education degree from West Virginia University. He married Barbara Lynn Shumate, February 13, 1971. They moved to Shady Spring and had three children, Vaughn Ray York, Jr., William Paul York, and Vonda Lynn York. He is preceded in death by his mother, Alice York; father, Paul York; son, Vaughn Ray York Jr. and brother-in-law Jack Carper. He is survived by his wife Barbara York of Shady Spring, WV; daughter Vonda York, of Summersville, WV; son, William York and wife Misti of Daniels, WV; sister, June Carper; brother, Michael York and his wife Debbie. He also has eight grandchildren, Jessica, Vaughn, Luke, Andrew, Emily, Jennifer, Benjamin, and Sarah. MARC OWEN PLUMMER ’71: July 27, 2018. He was born on January 24, 1949 to Robert Dudley Plummer and Barbara Clarke Plummer of Athens. He graduated from Concord College and went on to earn master’s degrees from Marshall University and West Virginia University in Fine Arts and Psychology. He retired from Bland Correctional Center as the head of

the Mental Health Department. He was a resident of Princeton. Marc will be fondly remembered by family and friends as a loving father, educator, humorist, musician, artist, and fraternity member of Pi Kappa Alpha. Marc had a deep love and appreciation for music of all genres, especially rock and roll, from an early age. After receiving his first guitar at age 15, he began his lifelong musical journey. He could play a variety of instruments, forming many treasured relationships as a result. His talent and spirit, always evident in his music and songwriting, will always be remembered. He was extremely gifted in all forms of visual art, but especially pottery and painting. Other than the creative arts, Marc had many other interests; traveling, reading, military history, spending time with loved ones, and collecting thrifty goods of any type no matter the cost (free was best). No matter how much he tried to resist the temptation of furry creatures, he slowly became an avid animal lover of all kinds. Marc was a very passionate being and this was displayed in all things he touched. He looked forward to and frequently attended the yearly Pike Reunions and always reminisced of his incredibly dedicated group of brothers, who stuck by him to the end. To describe Marc’s quirky and witty personality is no easy feat. He was very sensitive, but intuitive, and always thinking. He always made sure everyone had everything they needed and found joy in giving generous gifts “just because”. He was a human sound board and came up with all sorts of crazy sound effects. He simply made life fun with his humorous input alone. He stood firm to his values and beliefs and loved our country immensely. His colorful and vibrant spirit rubbed off on everyone he encountered. Marc is survived by his loving wife Erica Harris-Plummer of Princeton, WV; mother Barbara Clarke Plummer of

Class Notes Athens, WV; former spouse and mother of his children Carol Plummer of Bluefield, WV; brother Chris Plummer and wife Annette of Salt Lake City, UT; sister Erica Damewood of Athens, WV; and sister Robin Lauer and husband Anselm of Saint Louis, MO; daughter Jenny Plummer Davis and husband Jarrod of Bluefield, WV; son Eric Plummer of Fort Bragg, NC; and grandchildren; Jude, Josie, and Jett Davis.

LLOYD ELDRIDGE “SLICK” WARD ’71: August 30, 2018. Born December 30, 1949 in Beckley, he was the son of the late Walter Eldridge and Edith Surface Ward. Slick graduated from Collins High School in Oak Hill, WV in 1967. He graduated from Concord College with a B.S. in Education where he was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. He also received a B.A. in Human Resources Administration from St. Leo College, Fort Lee, VA. Slick’s federal career began when he was drafted into the United States Army. After an Honorable Discharge as an Operating Room Technician, he joined the Civil Service roles first as Military Personnel Clerk at MILPERCEN. He then became the manager of the Officer Personnel Utilization Computer Team. He accepted a Supervisory Computer Specialist position as the Department of the Army Movements Management System Team Chief in the Directorate for Field Systems. During his service as Team Chief, he was in charge of various functions in the Movements Management, Highway Regulations/ Convoy Operations and Communications Integration which required him to travel to various stations throughout the world. He then became Directorate for Management Operations, Technical Operations Division. He served in this

position until his retirement. After retiring, Slick spent his time traveling and supporting his grandchildren. He sat in many bleachers at baseball, basketball, and soccer games, as well as auditoriums watching dance recitals, and restaurant tables for birthday dinners. They truly were the lights of his life and his presence will be greatly missed. He was a resident of Richmond, VA. Slick was preceded in death by his parents, as well as maternal and paternal grandparents, aunt and uncles. Those left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Chelsea and her husband John Paul Piedra of Danville, VA; his grandchildren, Zachary, Joshua, and Elena; and his sister Lori Ward and her fiancé, Jon Braenovich of Fayetteville. Also surviving are several cousins and special friends, Kathy, Brenda, Jimmy and Stephanie.

WILLIAM EDWARD “ED” GRIFFITH JR. ’75: July 29, 2018. Born October 28, 1945 at Huntington, he was the son of the late William Edward Griffith and Cora Morrison Griffith. Ed was a graduate of Concord College and a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict serving with the U. S. Army. While serving his country, he received a Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 1 O/S Bar, Vietnam Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. Ed retired from the WV Division of Environmental Protection Agency as the Assistance Chief for surface mines after 33 years of service. He served with the Athens Volunteer Fire Department for 17 years, stepping down as its Assistant Chief. He was a resident of Princeton. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend to many. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Phyllis Coburn Griffith and a brother David Lee Griffith. Those left

to cherish his memory, his two sons Roger Dale Griffith of Lewisburg, and Keith Edward and Jennifer Ryan Griffith of Morgantown; his four grandchildren whom he adored, Caleb, Aaron, Alex and Amanda; his sister Karen Sue Clagg and husband Denzel of North Carolina; and a former daughter-in-law Susan Griffith.

1980s ____________

JAMES KERMIT WILSON ’81: September 3, 2018. James was born June 16, 1938 in Rhodell, WV, to James Butler and Mabel Farley Wilson. He was the seventh of eleven children and was the much-loved brother to them all. Graduating from Mark Twain High School in 1956 he joined the US Navy and retired following 20 years of service. He relished his time in the Navy and regaled in telling stories of his experiences and travels. James graduated from Concord College following his military retirement and taught at multiple schools in McDowell County for 20 years before retiring. He was a member of the Harbour Light Baptist Church and a resident of Princeton. James was loved by so many and was described as a best friend, role model, and personal hero to many. He was known for his love for children and his dedication to kids. His children, grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews looked forward to his presence and undivided attention and love. He took an interest in every child he encountered. James was also known for his care and compassion for others, his humble spirit, his sense of humor, and his vast knowledge of sports. Unconditionally, James loved his family, and was a devoted husband, father, and brother. CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018



Dr. Ronald Burgher, Professor of Communication Arts, Emeritus, passed away on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Dr. Burgher’s legendary status at Concord during his years on campus and after his retirement made him a fixture in faculty, student and alumni circles. “Dr. Burgher’s dedication and devotion to Concord, his students and the entire University community were especially meaningful,” President

Kendra Boggess said. “He remained a friend to former students and colleagues after his retirement and his contributions as a professor continue to have significance for many alumni in their professional lives. He will be missed.” “In the Advancement Office we hear stories all the time from alumni about faculty and staff from their Concord days and the impact their former professors had on them. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of tales we’ve heard over the years involving Dr. Burgher. He truly was a Concord legend whose loss has effected generations of Concordians,” stated Sarah Turner, Director of Alumni and Donor Relations. Dr. Burgher arrived at Concord in 1972 and soon became immersed in academic and student activities. Among the courses he taught were Fundamentals of Speech, Argumentation and Debate, Persuasion, Communication Law, and

various public relations and mass communication classes. He was Chair of the Department of Speech and Dramatic Arts (Communication Arts), Director of Debate, and Chair of the Division of Fine Arts. He served on the Academic Affairs Council, Instructional Affairs Council, the Student Affairs Council and the Faculty Senate. Dr. Burgher also served as the advisor to the Concordian and the Student Government Association and held the post of Faculty Athletics Representative. He retired from teaching at Concord in 2003. As a retiree in DeLand, FL, he participated in activities at Stetson University including attending athletic events; was part of a local community theatre group; and served on the City of DeLand Senior Council, publishing a monthly newsletter for the group. He and his wife, Linda, also enjoyed traveling. He is survived by his wife Linda Burgher, family and friends.

Elisabeth “Libby” Alvis passed away on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at the age of 84 after a brief illness. Libby was a beloved member of Concord’s family known for her mothering and mentoring of countless students during her half a century career in the University’s dining hall. She has been one of the most recognizable, memorable, and loveable people on campus. Libby was born on August 26, 1933

in Nemetker, Hungary and was raised by her grandparents. When she was 12, her family escaped to Germany on a cattle train during World War II. The family settled in Schwabach and Libby spent her teenage years in Germany. While there, she met Robert (Bob) Alvis, an American Army soldier from Athens, WV, who would become her husband. She and Bob were married in 1953. Bob returned to Athens with his bride and they raised their two sons, Benny and Randy, there. Libby began working in Concord’s dining hall on Oct. 16, 1957. Through the decades, she became Concord’s unofficial ambassador, recognized for her dedication to the school’s students as well as faculty and staff. She was a valued and hardworking employee, a counselor to students to keep them on track and a friend to all. For her unrivaled service and devotion to the University and its students, the cafeteria was renamed The Elisabeth “Libby” Alvis Dining Hall in May of 2008.

She retired from her post in the dining hall at the age of 77 and later relocated from Athens to Hendersonville, TN to be with her son Randy and his family. She remained actively involved with her grandchildren’s activities, maintained her reputation as an excellent cook who enjoyed preparing meals for her family and volunteered with a local ministry. Preceding Libby in death were her husband Robert (Bob) Alvis in 1981 and her son Benny Alvis in 1999. Those left to cherish her memory include her son Randy Alvis (Tonja) and grandchildren Adam and Elisabeth (Lizzy) of Hendersonville, TN; grandson John Alvis (Jaime) and greatgrandchildren, Natalie, Nathaniel, and Nolan of Athens; grandson Austin Alvis (Krista), and great-grandchildren, Layla and Easton of Florida; granddaughter, Stacie Whittaker and great-grandson Bentley, of Princeton, WV and numerous other family and friends.



Professor of Communications Emeritus


Dining Services


Dr. David Keller Baxter, of Plymouth Street, Athens, passed away on Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Born James was preceded in death by his parents, James Butler Wilson and Mabel Farley Wilson, as well as three brothers, Gene, Franklin, and Colin Wilson; and two sisters, Eleanor Janice Billups and Muriel Wilson. Those left to cherish his memory include his loving wife, Betty Wilson; two daughters, Trish Wilson Clark of Wytheville, VA and Louise Baldwin and husband, Fred of Bluefield, WV; his much beloved grandchildren, Christian Ballard, Lyndsay Clark, and Natalee Baldwin. He also had two step-grandchildren that he dearly loved, Siarrhea Abram and husband, Kindale and their daughter, Isabella, and Alyssa Baldwin; sisters, including, Lorraine Hatcher of Chapel Hill, NC, Margaret “Peggy” Wilson of Cortaro, AZ, Rheda Gallimore of Princeton, WV, Paulette Vines and husband, Mike of Beckley, and Pam Wilson of Beckley; and, many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Professor of Mathematics September 25, 1946, in Princeton, he was the son of the late Charles “Bo” Keller and Elizabeth Margaret Vermillion Baxter. As a young man, David displayed dedication becoming an Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America prior to earning his bachelor’s degree at Concord in 1968. David completed his education with a Doctorate of Mathematics at the University of Alabama. David used his gift of math at NASA prior to teaching mathematics at various universities including VMI and Concord University, where he was a Blue Key Honor Society Sponsor. During his retirement, David enjoyed spending his time on family

2000s ____________ ELIZABETH ELLEN (LIBBY HARPER) BECKNER ’08: August 18, 2018. Born February 1, 1974 in Mullens, WV, she was the daughter of Eupha (Conner) Ellison and the late Vencil Ray Harper. Libby was a loving wife, daughter, sister, grandmother and aunt. She loved being with her family, going on family vacations and being a friend to all. Libby was a 1992 graduate of Princeton High School. She graduated from Concord with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work and earned a master’s degree in Social Work from WVU. Formerly of Princeton, she was a resident of Hillsville, VA. In addition to her father, she was preceded in death by her husband Wilburn (Dean) Beckner. She is survived by her mother, Eupha Ellison of Hillsville; two daughters, Michelle Beckner of Princeton and Haley Beckner of Lerona; one son, Cory Beckner and

genealogy and working on the history of the Town of Athens with his friend, Garland Elmore, using much of his father’s notes to develop a website, In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Victoria Fowler. He is survived by his wife, Deborah G. Baxter; children, Dr. Brian and Kacey Baxter, Kelly and Jeff Eastin, all of Huntsville Alabama, David Joseph Cantrell and DeanAnn Farris, of Warren, PA and Sgt. Samuel and Kellie Cantrell, of Bridgeport, WV; grandchildren, Andrew, Matthew, Calli, Betsy, Skyler, Joshua, Kathleen, Raegan, and Danny; and his beloved furry grandchildren, Zeke and O.C. wife Chelsea of Lerona; one brother, Thomas B. Harper and wife Christina of Fancy Gap, VA; one sister, Stephanie (Ellison) Wright and husband Justin of Hillsville; two grandchildren whom she adored, Aurora and Austin Beckner; seven nieces and nephews, Eric, Dylan and Conner Harper, Allison and Carleigh Wright and Ciara and Breanna McBee; and several aunts and uncles.

AMANDA LEIGH HALLOCK ’09: August 29, 2018. She was a graduate of South Charleston High School and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Concord. She was a resident of South Charleston. No words can describe the love and devotion she had for God, her family and friends. Amanda had a great passion for her social work, where she cared for families that were in a terrible place. She not only used her college training, but her compassion for people as well. She also had a passion for animals, CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE FALL 2018


Class Notes where she was known to rescue stray dogs on visits and find them homes. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her, as well as those she had met along the way. Amanda was preceded in death by her grandparents, Enoch Lee Warden, and Gene K. and Clara Pearl Hallock; and nephew, Chance Douglas. Surviving: parents, Stephen Lee and Teresa Warden Hallock; sister, Nicole Madeline Hallock; niece, Skyyleigh Madeline Monk; grandmother, Mary E. Warden of Clendenin; many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Friends of Concord ____________


NORMA VAE LIPPS COFFINDAFFER: July 21, 2018. Norma was born in Lewis County WV on August 23, 1930. She was the daughter of Hugh and Merle Corathers Lipps and she was one of seven children. Norma married Billy L. Coffindaffer on March 7, 1953, and they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary this year. Norma graduated from Jane Lew High School and from Saint Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing in Clarksburg, WV. She was a Registered Professional Nurse. During her nursing career she worked for the Saint Mary’s Hospital, WVU as the camp nurse at Jackson’s Mill State 4-H Camp, WVU Student Health Service and the WVU Research Station assisting WVU professors in various health-related research projects. She also worked in several public health programs and doctor’s offices in West Virginia and in Maryland. Norma’s greatest pleasure was her family. She and Bill FALL 2018 CONCORD UNIVERSIT Y MAGAZINE

had been inseparable since 1953 and were very proud of their son and daughter and their families. In addition to her husband Bill, Norma is survived by her son Ernie Coffindaffer and his wife Carol of Bridgeport WV along with grandchildren Keith Coffindaffer who resides in Oklahoma, Kelly Coffindaffer of New York City and Sarah Sellhorst and her husband Matt of South Carolina along with great-grandchildren Avery and Emery Sellhorst. She is also survived by her daughter Donna Ballard and her husband Geoff of Hazelton, WV, grandson Devin Ballard, his wife Skylar and great-grandson Declan of New Jersey as well as granddaughter Shannon Ballard of Morgantown. Norma maintained a close relationship with her sisters and brothers. She is also survived by sisters Lucille Cox, Norene Westfall and Martha Lipps and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Preceding her were her sister Ramona Ramsburg and brothers Jim and Tom Lipps. Norma was active in many community groups and organizations including United Methodist Women’s programs, P.E.O., the Present Day Club, Mountaineer Women’s Club, Florence Stewart Book Group, Friends of 4-H, Friends of Jackson’s Mill, Vision 2000 and numerous other church and civic activities. She was a 4-H Club Leader and a WV State 4-H All-Star. She was a member of the Creative Living Initiatives Corporation group and the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce Vision 2000 program which was responsible for developing the concept for a Continuing Care Retirement Center in the Morgantown area. As one of the first residents of the Village at Heritage Point, she helped to establish the Resident’s Council to represent residents in working with management and served as a member and as President of the Council. Norma loved to travel and visited all 50 US states, the Panama Canal, several Central American countries

and the United Kingdom. She and Bill also visited Brazil, India, Belarus, and Canada on international consulting assignments. Norma was a woman of innate grace, insight, and charm. She was a gracious and caring First Lady of WVUParkersburg, Concord University and Bluefield State College. She loved her friends dearly and cherished their relationships. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother and greatgrandmother. She lived a wonderful and fulfilling life and her family is grateful for everyone who cared for her. LORRAINE PAGLIARO FEZER: August 10, 2018. She was born in Springfield, MA on May 14, 1929, a daughter of Salvatore and Rose Pagliaro. She and her four younger siblings, Walter, Elizabeth, Amedeo and Paul were raised in Utica, NY. She earned a B.A. degree in Religious Education at Keuka College and then, while teaching first graders during the school year, for the next four summers she earned an M.S.Ed. degree at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. Lorraine served as a full-time teacher for several years and as a substitute. She was a resident of Athens. Lorraine was preceded in death by her parents and by her youngest son, Max Mendel Fezer, age 32. She is survived by her husband of 66 years, Dr. Karl D. Fezer, three other sons, Karl R., Gilbert, and Walter B., and by daughter-in-law Susan Fezer, and two grandsons, Karl Frederick and Ryan Scott Fezer.

TAKE ROAR WITH YOU! We want to see you with Roar wherever you go! Cut out Roar, to the left, and take him on your fun adventures. Then, take a photo with our friendly mascot and send it to us so we can share with the rest of the CU alumni family!



Concord University Office of Advancement PO Box 1000 Athens, WV 24712



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