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Volume 7: 2019

Dedication. Compassion. Community. At BrickStreet, we believe success is woven into promoting a high quality of life in our communities. These endeavors extend beyond geographic lines and group affiliations, past working hours and office locations. Giving back is part of the BrickStreet philosophy. We’re proud to support organizations that make a difference – and construct positive change. Working together, we can help our local and regional communities blossom.

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Dear Yellow Jacket Nation: It is my pleasure to bring you the seventh edition of STATE Magazine – an issue that focuses on our amazing students, their experiences and transformations, as well as major accomplishments on behalf of the University. West Virginia State University (WVSU) has made some tremendous strides in its 128-year history, and this academic year we have added to our impressive accolades. This year, we celebrated historic and monumental moments for our beloved WVSU. We completed a multi-million-dollar renovation – establishing the University’s first integrated research facility, witnessed a Yellow Jacket reach new heights to become one of the youngest elected officials in the nation, saw firsthand the significance that experiential learning can have on a student’s holistic development, and we earned some impressive victories at the West Virginia State Capitol. Students at WVSU continue to set the bar higher, and you will see that they are among the best and brightest in the country. It starts at STATE – how we support and transform our students helps instill in them that, “From here you can go anywhere.” As you peruse the pages of this magazine, please keep in mind that these are only a few highlights. We wanted to give you a sense of the tremendous amount of work and dedication that our students, faculty, staff and administration have put into making WVSU a place of which we all can be proud. Our commitment to our students drives us to pursue a vision to become a premier regional research university that is nationally recognized for its quality education, innovative teaching and experiential learning. I hope the stories herein inspire you. Go STATE! Best regards,

Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D. President

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Volume 7: 2019


Q&A With President Anthony L. Jenkins


Yellow Jacket in the House


Campus Activities Abound


President Jenkins talks about the significance of STATE receiving its full land-grant match for the first time in the University’s history. Caleb Hanna is the first STATE student elected to the West Virginia Legislature, and one of the youngest elected African-Americans in the country. Students have a variety of options to be engaged in beyond the classroom.

Stepping Outside the Classroom

Yellow Jackets are benefitting not only from their education on campus, but through internships that allow them to apply their knowledge on the job.


Family Matters


New Campus Research Facility


Putting the “A” in STEAM


Getting a Leg Up


Hannah Payne has moved from a promising undergraduate to an administrator with WVSU Extension Service. Brand-new labs are providing students state-of-the-art workspaces for research. Students, faculty and alums discuss the value of the Arts in an increasingly science-focused workforce. Early enrollment, Upward Bound, the Collaborative Program help better prepare students for the college experience.

Alumni News

Keep up with the latest news about Yellow Jacket alumni.

STATE is published annually by West Virginia State University. Story ideas and feedback for STATE magazine may be sent to Jack Bailey at jbaile19@wvstateu.edu. To be added to our mailing list, contact Belinda Fuller at bfuller@wvstateu.edu.

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Patricia Schumann

Vice President for University Advancement, Communications and Marketing President, WVSU Foundation, Inc.


Assistant Vice President for University Communications and Marketing

ART DIRECTOR Mark L. Fuller Graphic Designer


Director of Photographic Services

CONTRIBUTORS Matthew Browning

Director of Communications Gus R. Douglass Land-Grant Institute

Belinda Fuller

Director of Alumni Relations

Perry Bennett

Contributing Photographer

George Hohmann Contributing Writer

Angelica Willis

Student Contributor

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With President Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D. Why has it been such a struggle to receive the full state landgrant match?

On March 15, 2019, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed the state budget bill into law, and in doing so ensured West Virginia State University would receive, for the first time in its history, its full state match for its landgrant programs. Land-grant universities receive federal funding for research and extension programs which requires a dollar for dollar state match for total funding. Prior to this budget, STATE had never received a 100 percent match. WVSU President Anthony L. Jenkins discusses this historic day and the significance for West Virginia State University. What brought us to this point of the University finally receiving its full state land-grant match?

This is an historic moment for West Virginia State University. After decades of failed attempts and debates, we were able to, for the first time in the history of our university, secure our full state match. This is a big deal. Some may not be aware, but since 1999 when our land-grant status was reinstated, we have been aggressively pursuing our full state match, and every year since 1999, we were denied. I think many had given up hope that this could happen for West Virginia State University. I made this a top priority for my administration. To achieve this historical milestone, under my presidency, is humbling. I am pleased and honored, to say the least, but this is not about me. Rather, it is about the faculty, students, staff, Board of Governors, alumni, elected officials, and previous administrations who have been working on this issue for nearly two decades. It is important to note, they laid the foundation and continued to be steadfast in their commitment. With that same tenacity, we spent a considerable number of hours and days at the Capitol during the 2019 legislative session. This monumental achievement is the result of helping people see the value in what we do and how we play a profound role in improving the quality of life for so many in the state. 0 4 | We s t V i r g i n i a S TAT E

It should not have been this difficult. Our full state match is mandated under federal law. However, despite that, the decision to fund or not to fund West Virginia State University became a political football. As president, I am fully cognizant of the political dynamics around this issue. Those who blocked our full state match for years did so for both personal and political reasons. It was never a statewide budget issue. For years, many at the Capitol simply did not see the value in WVSU. However, it appears perceptions are changing. As I met with legislative leaders this session, I received numerous compliments regarding the difference they have seen in WVSU over the past few years. More specifically, they noted our strong brand, the enhanced quality of our education, the impact we are having on the community and on the state, the quality of our graduates, our groundbreaking research, and notably the leadership.

Is there anyone in the Legislature in particular that helped push for this matching funding?

Now with this funding in place, what are some of the plans moving forward?

I would like to thank the Yellow Jacket Nation, my Board of Governors, and HEPC for their support. I specifically would like to thank Governor Jim Justice, and our 2019 Legislature for hearing and appreciating our compelling argument. They all played an integral role in making this happen and I am grateful for their support.

Over the coming months, I am having Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Vice President for Research and Public Service, assess how we continue to meet the growing demands for our programs in the current 38 counties we serve, as well as expand our services throughout all 55 counties in the state. We will focus on nutrition education and wellness, 4-H/Youth Development, business development, and research in water quality, food safety and security just to name a few. We will continue to demonstrate that an investment in West Virginia State University is a sound investment and you are guaranteed a great return. We will help more people and do what we have been doing for decades‌make every environment we enter better.

What was the reaction to the news that the Governor had signed the bill, yours personally? I began thinking about what this meant to West Virginia State University. What it meant to the many people who had been working towards and waiting for this day. I was excited for the administrators, faculty, staff, and alumni who are working here now, and those who have retired or graduated from the University. My hope was that they would see their efforts, their voices, and their labor made a difference. This inspires hope. This is going to have a significant impact on the campus as well as the 38 counties and 20,000 people our land-grant services aid every year throughout the state. I started thinking about March 17, 2019, being the University’s 128th birthday and that Governor Jim Justice and the West Virginia Legislature just gave WVSU a wonderful birthday gift. The news has exploded across campus, the state and the nation. Federal leaders, colleagues in higher education and supporters as far away as Washington, D.C., and California have been sending congratulatory messages.

The funding the University received was for one budget year. What do you anticipate next year at the Legislature? I anticipate our legislators will be impressed with what we are planning and doing at STATE with the additional funding. I am optimistic that the results will affirm the value of investing in STATE. I am hopeful that they will continue to support us at the full state match because anything less would have an adverse impact on the citizens of our state. I will work with Senators Glenn Jeffries and Richard Lindsey to put forth legislation that places our land-grant funding in state code.

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WV Legislative Photography, Photo By Perry Bennett


hile it’s not unusual for college students to hold down jobs while they are taking classes, for West Virginia State University (WVSU) freshman economics major Caleb Hanna his occupation is groundbreaking. Caleb, a 19-year-old from Richwood, was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates during the fall 2018 semester. He is thought to be the first WVSU student elected to the West Virginia Legislature, and he was also one of the youngest African-Americans elected to political office nationwide during the November 2018 elections.

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Caleb represents the 44th District which includes Webster County, and portions of Nicholas, Randolph and Upshur counties. He started campaigning for office while still in high school, and continued his campaign throughout the fall of 2018 while taking classes at STATE. During his senior year at Richwood High School, Caleb went door-to-door to homes throughout the four-county district introducing himself and his politics with the theme “A New Era of Leadership.”

“By implementing my youth and skills into government, I can provide a fresh new perspective to policy making that is not usual but is certainly effective,” Caleb said of his campaign. “I have a vision for opportunity that others typically miss, and West Virginia needs that now more than ever. I have a lot of pride for this state I’ve always called home.” He was active in high school, serving as class president for three years and as student body president his senior year. He was also an athlete who ran track, performed in school plays, and placed three consecutive years in the state Poetry Out Loud competition. In May 2018, just three days prior to his high school graduation, he won the Republican nomination in the West Virginia primary. A staunch Republican, Hanna said that he was inspired to enter politics by former President Barack Obama. He said he was in the third grade when Obama ran for president for the first time, and he was inspired by the charismatic African-American leader and the style of campaign he ran. Caleb’s politics, however, are far from the former president’s, and shaped by his life experience growing up in rural West Virginia. The adopted son of a coal miner, Caleb said that his political opinions started to change when his father was laid off from the mines. Following his Republican primary victory, Caleb campaigned vigorously throughout the summer and into the fall, even while starting his first year of college and maintaining a full-time class load at STATE. Caleb enrolled at the University for the fall 2018 semester, and lives on campus in the Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall. He would go to class and live on campus during the week, and then on weekends go home to Richwood and campaign throughout the 44th District. When Caleb defeated his incumbent opponent in the November 2018 general election, many on campus did not realize that they had a rising star in the Republican Party in their midst.

Caleb has been featured on MTV and in major news publications such as The New York Times and USA Today as well as Fox News. On the night of his election to the House of Delegates he said he received phone calls from Governor Jim Justice, Secretary of State Mac Warner and others congratulating him. When the West Virginia Legislature convened in January 2019, Caleb was appointed to the powerful House Education Committee and also was appointed to serve on the Industry and Labor Committee and the Select Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse. His first 60-day legislative session was a learning experience, but a good one. “It’s definitely exciting. This was a heck of a year for a first year because we really had a lot going on,” Caleb said. “Every day at the Capitol is a learning experience really. One thing I anticipated was more communication between the House and Senate. With them being on the other side of the building it’s like we are two completely different worlds. I really expected a lot more communication between the two bodies.” While the session saw its fair share of high profile issues, Caleb said that he follows a simple philosophy when deciding how he will cast his votes. “Three questions I ask myself when I consider voting for a piece of legislation. Do I morally agree with it, first? Does it help my district, second? Does it help West Virginia overall, third? It’s a simple process,” Caleb said. Now with one session under his belt, Caleb said that he has learned a few things that he will bring back to the House when the legislature reconvenes in January 2020. “I definitely want to be a bit more patient. Tensions run high in the chamber there. There’s a few times I know you sit there and you listen to everything and you get fired up and I hit my button to speak just to be speaking. Next session I want to try and be a bit more patient,” Caleb said.

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Students Have Variety of Options to be Engaged Beyond the Classroom


ith dozens of campus organizations, athletic events, cultural activities, honor societies and Greek life, students on the West Virginia State University campus can be as active as they choose to be when they are not in the classroom. For students who live on campus in the residence halls, options are plentiful to pass the time when they need a break from studying, or a reason to get out and make new friends. From hanging out in the Pickard Café of Keith Scholars Hall, to attending sporting events or a visiting speaker series, campus life abounds. “For those who say there is nothing to do, they are not looking, honestly,” said Jae’Von McClain, a senior criminal justice major from Cleveland, Ohio. “I know a lot of STATE students do not check their emails, but if they did word would be out in two seconds. There is plenty to do. The school does a great job of making activities available.”

“I have found it to be a great school, great location, it is an HBCU and the Greek life is great”

Jae’Von came to WVSU as a student-athlete to play basketball, but since arriving in Institute he has fully embraced a broader college experience. He is the Chief Hearing Examiner for the Student Government Association and is active in campus Greek life as a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. “Basketball brought me to WVSU, but I have found it to be a great school, great location, it is an HBCU and the Greek life is great,” said Jae’Von, who plans to go onto law school following graduation from STATE. 0 8 | We s t V i r g i n i a S TAT E

Since coming to STATE, Jae’Von has become more aware of the University’s history as an HBCU, and has gotten plugged into the active alumni network in the Cleveland area. The Cleveland Alumni Chapter has supported him with book scholarships, which have been important to Jae’Von continuing his educational journey. Jae’Von has lived on campus the entire four years of his college career and said being a resident student has been a rewarding experience. In addition to having access to activities that take place on campus, research has found that students who live on college campuses are more likely to stay in school, and to graduate on time than those who commute. Furthermore, research shows that living in campus residence halls leads to higher quality interactions between students, and among students and faculty, which can lead to increased academic success. Sophomore business management major Regin Maxwell said that living on campus provides STATE students with lots of opportunities to be involved in experiential learning. A resident advisor in Dawson Hall, Regin is active in the WVSU chapter of the NAACP where among other things she helped organize a campus movie night for the showing of “The Hate U Give.” “It was a really good movie. A movie that everyone should see,” she said. “It had a really powerful message that is relatable to what is going on in the world today.” Regin was also elected as Miss Sophomore and said that she is active on campus and tries to attend as many events as possible. “I stay as involved as I can be,” Regin said. “I want to be part of the people who do something about it.”

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hen Colleen Miller interned at Walt Disney World, she discovered her dream job. Austin King’s internship led him to a full-time job, and Vanessa Walton’s internship is helping her transition into a new career. Vanessa and Austin earned elective credits from West Virginia State University (WVSU) and paychecks from the companies that offered them internships. Colleen earned a paycheck but did not earn elective credits — “I had networking opportunities, which I considered more valuable.” Colleen said she learned about the Disney College program from a friend’s sister. “It was always something I wanted to do since high school,” she said. Disney assigned her to Blizzard Beach where, from January to April — Florida’s off-season — “I worked around 35 hours a week. Once we got busier, I worked around 45 hours. The most I ever worked in a week was 62.” “I loved Blizzard Beach, being a lifeguard and everything about it,” she said. For Colleen, the biggest surprise was “how much I enjoyed going to work every day — talking to guests, being outside all of the time.”

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WVSU “was gracious enough to give me the time off,” and “I didn’t have any trouble getting back into classes,” she said. “While I was there I stayed in touch with my advisor and I was still able to use my WVSU e-mail. The Promise Scholarship still applied when I came back. The school took a lot of stress off of me.” Colleen has identified her dream job: Imagineer. “They create the magic,” she said. “They design the rides, the themes for the parks.” A senior, Colleen is majoring in international business with a minor in Spanish. She thinks her studies are a perfect fit for Disney “because they are looking for people with a global perspective.” She has stayed in contact with people she met at an Imagineering event and thinks “this time next year I’ll be back down there, one way or another.” Would Colleen recommend interning? “No hesitation,” she said. “It changed my life in every way possible.” Austin interned at BBL Carlton, a general contracting, design-build and construction management firm based in downtown Charleston. When he began interning in May 2015, the company was about one year into the construction of a $30 million, three-story expansion project at CAMC Memorial Hospital in Kanawha City.

BBL Carlton Project Manager Adam Childers “let me do a lot of stuff right out of the chute,” Austin said, including meeting with CAMC executives. “Whatever he thought I could handle, he turned me loose. I was shocked, too. I was Childers’ right-hand man. I loved every minute.”

Would she recommend an internship to others? “Absolutely!” she said. “I’ve had a great experience. I hope students read this story and think, ‘Oh, I hadn’t thought about an internship. It seems beneficial.’”

Austin interned until he graduated in May 2018 with a degree in business administration and a major in management information systems. Upon graduation, BBL Carlton offered him a job.

Sandhya “Sandy” Maharaj, Director of the Office of Career Services & Cooperative Education, said, “Internships give students an opportunity to develop their skill sets, which increases their marketability and expands their career options.”

Vanessa, a non-traditional student, said, “I’ve been in the medical field since I was 19 and I decided I had enough. I wanted a change in career.” The first person in her family to go to college, Vanessa expects to graduate this year with a degree in business administration and concentrations in accounting and management.

The cooperative education program Vanessa and Austin were enrolled in is under Sandy’s direction. Sandy helped Colleen with her Disney College application. Students interested in internships may also consider academic internship programs, which are directed by Dr. Azam Bejou of the Department of Business Administration.

When the accounting firm of Arnett Carbis Toothman LLP came to campus in 2017 to recruit interns, Vanessa pursued the opportunity. During the past two tax seasons she has worked 20 hours a week on tax returns for businesses and individuals at the company’s downtown Charleston office. Vanessa said that for her, the biggest surprise was finding out “how much I did not know about accounting.” But “everyone was very helpful at Arnett Carbis Toothman. They encourage you to ask questions and do not mind being interrupted to answer your questions.”

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Family Matters

Alumna finds truth in the “STATE Family” mantra


annah Payne is a self-described indecisive person - a character trait that has resulted in a rather circuitous academic and career path that has moved from the theater stage to the research laboratory to an administrative role with WVSU Extension Service. The class of 2013 (bachelor’s) and 2016 (master’s) alumna has become a testament to the notion of the “STATE Family” and is quick to tout the University’s caring faculty and staff in supporting her journey through all of its twists and turns. “I came to STATE because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do,” she said with a laugh. “I started out as a fine arts and business double major, because I was involved in theater in high school. Then I took a biology class from Dr. Tim Ruhnke with a friend, which wasn’t even a requirement, and I fell in love with it.” Hannah immediately changed her major to biology and started down an academic path that put her into the labs of some of the University’s leading scientists. Dr. Ruhnke connected her with Dr. Barbara Liedl, whose plant genetics research allowed Hannah the opportunity to learn through experiential opportunities. “We were working on creating stronger, healthier, more disease-resistant tomatoes to benefit West Virginia’s farmers and consumers,” Hannah said. “I was able to learn a lot about research procedures and techniques in Dr. Liedl’s lab.” Hannah didn’t stop there. She began working with other WVSU scientists on organic chemistry research and found her way to Dr. Micheal Fultz,

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a chemistry professor who broadened Hannah’s exposure to the outreach side of science. She soon found herself balancing classroom and lab work with teaching opportunities at elementary and middle schools throughout the Kanawha Valley, sharing her own love of science with younger kids. “The reoccurring theme throughout my undergraduate experience and into my graduate experience is that, every step of the way, professors were pushing me to my potential potential I didn’t even realize I had,” she said. “The fact that they saw that in me is pretty amazing. STATE is known for that one-on-one relationship between faculty and students, and that is exactly the reason why, because they really helped facilitate me through that process.” Hannah received her bachelor’s degree in 2013 and immediately enrolled in WVSU’s biotechnology master’s program, completing it in 2016. However, her time at WVSU was not over. An opportunity soon arose to blend her science education with her passion for youth outreach. She took a specialist role with the University’s Center for the Advancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CASTEM), which specializes in providing STEM education to K-12 students. Her success in that role soon placed her in the director’s seat for CASTEM, as well as leading the WVSU Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development unit as an assistant program director. WVSU’s non-traditional 4-H programming platform also operates with a strong focus on youth STEM activities. It is a dual role in which Hannah is thriving.

“I needed someone in the CASTEM and 4-H roles who is not only passionate about science but also enjoys teaching science to kids and developing new, fresh ways to do so,” said Dr. Ami Smith, Assistant Vice President for Public Service and Director of WVSU Extension Service. “Hannah was a perfect fit. Her passion for the work, as well as her varied connections with the science faculty at WVSU, have enabled her to make great progress in a short amount of time.” “I love outreach and seeing kids learn about science,” Hannah said. “I think that there isn’t really anything that compares to when you’re in a position to help other people, especially students

and helping them find their potential the same way people helped me find mine. It was because my STATE professors and administrative mentors gave me the chance to see what I could do, I want to be that same kind of role model for young people myself.” Hannah is now balancing science and outreach as she steers 4-H and CASTEM programming, conducting community surveys to ensure WVSU is responding to the real needs of its constituents, while also welcoming the next generation of Yellow Jackets into her family. Hannah and her husband, Daniel, also a WVSU graduate and research technician in the lab of Dr. Liedl, welcomed their first child this spring.

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recently opened West Virginia State University (WVSU) facility is providing students the opportunity to conduct research in brand new lab space on campus. The Integrated Research and Extension Building (IREB) is expanding the University’s agricultural research and Extension Service programs while bringing the work a bit closer to “home.”

“It feels more a part of the University,” says biology major Reine Youssef, who is working in the IREB lab of Dr. Amir Hass, studying the quality of water runoff at abandoned mine sites. “It’s so ‘STATE.’” The freshly renovated building, with its black and gold motif, is now home to the research programs of four scientists with the WVSU Agricultural and Environmental Research Station, most of whom had been conducting their work at the West Virginia Regional Technology Park in South Charleston. The move to campus has made access easier for residential students seeking lab experience and allowed the scientists to design lab space that suited their specific needs.

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“We were able to design the labs that we wanted, and my lab was designed with an open lab concept to enhance collaboration among students and researchers,” said Dr. Sanju Sanjaya, director of WVSU’s Energy and Environmental Science Institute. “Students will be more comfortable working in this format. This lab is comparable to a Research I facility.”

In addition to the research labs on the third and fourth floors, the first floor of the IREB features a host of amenities, including a 94-seat auditorium, a multipurpose classroom, an instructional kitchen classroom, a microscopy room, a walk-in cooler and an additional soil laboratory. The second floor is currently shelled and is ready for future renovations to accommodate additional academic and research programming. In addition to expanding the University’s research and educational capacity, the new building is proving convenient to students wanting firsthand experience in the lab and helping the “STATE family” mantra ring true. “The professors here know who I am and have an expectation for me, which motivates me to do better,” says biology major Katelynn Brown, who began working in Hass’ lab after transferring to WVSU from another university. “Being here is providing me connections to professors and researchers that I wasn’t getting at a larger school.” Tawna Thurston, a student in the University’s biotechnology graduate program who works in Dr. Sanjaya’s lab, agrees. “STATE has a great science program, and you get more hands-on experience. The Tech Park had nice accommodations for us, but I enjoy being here more.”

The IREB labs are being used to conduct research associated with aquatic toxicology, bioenergy, plant genomics and horticulture, and soil science. “Providing new research space to accommodate continuous growth of research and its associated demands is a strategic institutional priority,” said Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, Vice President for Research and Public Service. “As the University strengthens efforts to increase and diversify its research portfolio, via the further attainment of externally sponsored and internal funding support, significant research infrastructural improvements, including development of additional research space, are expected to take place.” WVSU acquired the approximately 32,000-square-foot building in 2013, when the West Virginia Department of Administration transferred ownership of the former West Virginia Rehabilitation Center property to the University. The $7 million renovation of the IREB began in 2016 and was paid for entirely with federal and grant funding.

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achary Fitchner’s interest in art began at an early age.

“Like a lot of young people, I consumed arts and media constantly, because in my Georgia hometown, there wasn’t much else to do other than play in the woods or listen to music,” he said. “I immersed myself.” That immersion became more focused in high school, when Zachary began to consider a career in arts education, which has led him to a position as assistant professor of art at STATE and director of the Della Brown Taylor Hardman Art Gallery in Davis Fine Arts Center, where he teaches drawing, painting, printmaking, art fundamentals and professional practices to students with the same passion he had as a young person. It was an educational choice and career path that has not been without its doubters. “I think art majors expect to be questioned in general,” Zachary said. “Bashing art majors, while in poor taste, is especially fashionable these days.”

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According to the Washington Post, it is not uncommon for the value of liberal arts degrees to be questioned in today’s world of big data and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), with many colleges and universities placing emphasis on their STEM program offerings. In fact, a recent study by the Academy of Arts and Sciences found that the number of bachelor’s degrees earned in the humanities in 2015 was down nearly 10 percent since 2012. However, that does not necessarily paint an accurate picture. A study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine counters that integrating arts and humanities with STEM education bolsters critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills. James Shamblin, a 2017 West Virginia State University (WVSU) graduate with a bachelor’s degree in music education, agrees. “An arts degree is just as important as a STEM degree,” he said, pointing out the rising push toward STEAM, which inserts “Arts” into the STEM acronym. “The

my peers that I would have never been exposed to otherwise,” said Levi, who plans to attend graduate school for printmaking and eventually open his own print shop. Cedrick, a vocal performance major, is already a sought-after entertainer in the Kanawha Valley, having starred in several local theater productions. He, too, echoes the value of the “A” in STEAM. “Music is known to stimulate the brain,” he said. “If you’re good at music, chances are you’re good in math and science. That’s why I certainly push STEAM, not STEM.” “Art is not just about pretty pictures,” said Zachary. “Those of us with an arts degree have learned to observe, question, invent, teach, interpret, and problem solve — skills that are applicable in any situation.” creativity and independent thinking fostered in the arts are vital to STEM fields. While jobs in the arts may be harder to find, that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.” James has put his degree to good use following graduation. An internship with the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra led to a position in arts administration with the organization. “I split my time between development and operations with the symphony,” he said, “managing our annual sustaining fund and organizing concert logistics, while occasionally covering classes for our string educators in the public school system. It is really rewarding, because it gives me a chance to put my degree to direct use.” It is a degree that more and more students are pursuing at STATE. Many of the programs within the WVSU College of Arts and Humanities, with degrees in art, communications, English, media studies, foreign language, music, and a regents bachelor of arts, have been growing since 2012. The art program has seen a 20 percent increase in graduates from 2013 to 2017, while the communications program saw a 40 percent increase and the English program an impressive 100 percent increase.

Zachary has an interesting way of looking at the value of an arts degree in a 21st century world. “When you ask yourself what is the value of an arts degree, you should first ask yourself what is the value of music? Of architecture, literature, film, cuisine? Then you’ll begin to understand.” Perhaps the most fitting argument for the value of an arts education comes from Cedrick, who plans to pursue music and acting professionally after graduating from STATE: “Imagine if there were no more symphonies. No more Beyoncé concerts or artists like Led Zeppelin or Queen.” A world without Beyoncé? Could there be a stronger argument for the importance of art and music?

Students like Cedrick Farmer and Levi Stamper are finding that an education in the arts at WVSU is proving a fertile training ground for their professional goals. “I have had so many artistic opportunities presented to me by both my professors as well as

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NiCole Smith

Brookelyn Walker

Michaela Torrian

Getting a Leg Up Early Enrollment, Upward Bound, Collaborative Program Better Prepare Students for College


est Virginia State University (WVSU) provides a number of different programs that help better prepare high school students for the college experience. Whether it’s taking classes through the Yellow Jacket Connection early enrollment program to begin earning college credits while still in high school, or through a program like Upward Bound that provides assistance to first-generation college students, STATE offers a variety of assistance programs to prepare students to achieve their dream of a college education. The Yellow Jacket Connection early enrollment, or dual credit program, is a popular program with state high school students, with more than 1,700 students taking early enrollment

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classes through the University in fall 2018. WVSU boasts the largest early enrollment program in West Virginia. Students in the Yellow Jacket Connection early enrollment program take classes at their high school that count for both high school and college credit, enabling them to get a leg up on college course work. Brookelyn Walker, who is now a sports studies pre-professional major at STATE, earned 15 credit hours toward her college degree while a student at South Charleston High School. “Once you become a junior in high school, they introduce it to you and offer it as an option,” Brookelyn said. “Adjunct professors would come to the high school and teach. Usually it’s

a morning class. You’re scheduled for two periods typically, and twice a week. I took Psychology, History, Speech, and English 101 and 102. You can take two classes per semester.” In addition to earning college credits while still in high school, STATE has implemented the WVSU Loyalty Program for students in the Yellow Jacket Connection early enrollment program. Those who complete six credit hours and enroll at STATE as a first-time, full-time freshman will have their tuition frozen for four years. NiCole Smith, who is now a sophomore at STATE majoring in criminal justice, also participated in the early enrollment program while in high school. In addition, NiCole participated in the Upward Bound program, which helped prepare her not only for college classes, but for life. “Before Upward Bound I was very quiet, I always stayed to myself,” NiCole said. “It helped me to gain a family and lifelong friends. Also, I gained a lifelong mentor, somebody who is always going to be there, (former Upward Bound Director) Barbara Cary.” Upward Bound is a federally funded program designed to identify and provide services for first-generation college bound high school students. Upward Bound exposes participants to academic, cultural, social and recreational activities. These experiences can help a student become successful in postsecondary education and beyond. During the regular school year Upward Bound students meet two Saturdays a month to take supplemental classes that help them increase their skills in math, English, history and science. Students also have access to free tutoring weekly. In the summer, Upward Bound students attend a six-week residential program on the WVSU campus designed to give them a head start on their next year in school. Michaela Torrian, a junior majoring in criminal justice, also participated in the Upward Bound and early enrollment programs before coming to STATE. She said the combination

of the two programs made her a better college student. “I came from a single parent home, and I never thought of college being an option,” Michaela said. “It helped me to see what my true potential was. When I was in high school, I didn’t have that many friends. So with the extra support system and the nurturing environment in the Upward Bound program, it really helped me.” In addition to the Upward Bound and early enrollment programs, there is another program that the University offers in conjunction with Kanawha County Schools that brings students to campus to study. The University Collaborative Program brings high school students, who require additional support to graduate, to campus to study and take dual credit classes. Jerome Willis finished his high school education through the collaborative program in 2009, and said that the program really opened his eyes to the possibility of going on to a college education. “The biggest thing is that it shows you college isn’t that scary,” said Jerome, who went on to finish his degree in criminal justice graduating from STATE in 2016. “It’s a great opportunity and high school isn’t for everybody. If you know what you want to do it definitely gives you a head start on your English, math and science, and you can pick electives too. If you’re self-motivated, it sets you up to succeed and graduate from the University sooner.”

Jerome Willis

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Honors Community and Business Leaders C. Edward Gaunch, Georgette Rashid George and Otis Laury Recognized for Their Contributions Each year since 2013, West Virginia State University and the West Virginia State University Foundation have hosted the annual Black & Gold Gala to celebrate the University’s profound contributions to the region and recognize those who have made it possible. Beginning in 2017, the Gala was expanded to include recognition of community and business leaders who have made a lasting impact on the state of West Virginia.

At the seventh annual Black & Gold Gala in April 2019 those community and business leaders being honored were: C. Edward Gaunch, Georgette Rashid George and Otis Laury. Collectively, their contributions and leadership in both business and civic organizations have had a profound and lasting impact in the communities in which they have lived and worked.

C. EDWARD GAUNCH Gaunch is a native of Boone County, and a 1970 WVSU graduate with a double major in economics and political science. He spent more than three decades in the insurance industry including 28 years at the Carson Agency in Charleston where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer for a number of years. Gaunch was elected to the West Virginia State Senate representing Kanawha County in 2014 and in December 2018 he was appointed by Governor Jim Justice to serve as Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Commerce beginning in January 2019. Gaunch has served on numerous professional, business and community boards and foundations including the BB&T/Charleston Board of Directors, the WVSU Foundation, the Believe in West Virginia Leadership Foundation, CAMC Foundation, Buckskin Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, University of Charleston, Alderson Broaddus College, King College, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center. Gaunch is also active in his church, Emmanuel Baptist, where he has been a deacon and Sunday school teacher. Gaunch, and Marilyn, his wife of 51 years, currently reside in Charleston, West Virginia, and are the parents of two children, Louis Gaunch and Angela Beaver, and they have five grandchildren. 2 0 | We s t V i r g i n i a S TAT E

GEORGETTE RASHID GEORGE George is a successful second-generation West Virginia entrepreneur. After leaving West Virginia for college and working for Hewlett Packard in technical sales and management for about 10 years, George returned to the Charleston area to work in the family business in 1991. George is the CEO and an Executive Team Member of Monarch Holdings, LLC, which includes business enterprises involving retail, office and hotel development. She has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, including the Thomas Hospital Foundation, Community Council of Kanawha Valley, and the Convention Bureaus of the cities of both Charleston and South Charleston. She currently serves on the boards of the Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, the West Virginia Regional Tech Park, Summit Financial Group, Inc./Summit Community Bank, and the Clay Center Foundation. She is also a member of the Federal Reserve West Virginia Advisory Committee for the Fifth District. George was a recipient of the Women of Achievement Award from the YWCA of Charleston. George is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical and electrical engineering. She has been married to her husband, Kent, for 28 years and is the proud mother to three children, Alexandra, Nick and Francesca.

OTIS LAURY Laury is a native of Charleston, and a graduate of Charleston High School and WVSU. He is an accomplished entrepreneur and chef, and founder of Laury’s Restaurant in Charleston. In addition, Laury served as the executive chef at the West Virginia Governor’s Mansion for 16 years under Governors Gaston Caperton, Cecil Underwood and Bob Wise. He is an avid art collector and award-winning artist in his own right, receiving recognition from the Huntington Museum of Art’s Exhibition 180, among others. In addition, Laury serves on the Charleston Beautification Board, the Governor’s Mansion Preservation Board and the Collectors Club of the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences. Laury also volunteers his time cooking Christmas meals for Manna Meal, in addition to volunteering at the Roark-Sullivan Lifeway Center. In addition, Laury also donates dinner for six at his home to local charity and non-profit groups to auction off as a fundraiser. Laury has been named a Distinguished West Virginian and has been recognized by the Charleston Community Music Association. V o l u m e 7 : 2 0 19 | 21

CAMPUSNEWS WVSU Receives $100,000 Pledge from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. West Virginia State University (WVSU) has received a pledge of $100,000 from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA) in partnership with the Educational Advancement Foundation, as part of the organization’s AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund. In February 2019, WVSU President Anthony L. Jenkins and the presidents of 31 other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) gathered at the AKA International Headquarters in Chicago to accept the first installment of their institution’s award. “Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. has implemented the AKAHBCU Endowment Fund with the goal of investing in the future of our young people and the sustainability of our treasured HBCUs,” AKA International President Dr. Glenda Glover said. “Our organization has pledged to donate a total of $10 million toward the endowment, and we were honored to provide West Virginia State University the first $50,000 during our February event as we celebrated Black History Month and the legacies of all HBCUs.”

West Virginia State University Scientists Receive National Award for Research Publication A West Virginia State University (WVSU) led research project has received a Vegetable Publication Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS), in recognition of the most outstanding paper on vegetable crops published in 2017. The paper, entitled “Genetic Diversity in the Desert Watermelon Citrullus colocynthis and its Relationship with Citrullus Species as Determined by High-frequency Oligonucleotides-targeting Active Gene Markers,” was published in the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science. WVSU Research Scientist Dr. Umesh K. Reddy led the project on campus. Collaborators on the project include the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, and Newe Yaar Research Center in Ramat Yishai, Israel.

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WVSU Hosts International Festival The West Virginia State University (WVSU) International Student Association hosted its inaugural International Festival in November 2018 in the Wilson University Union. The University currently has more than 50 international students representing 22 countries. The evening featured displays, performances and foods highlighting the international students’ countries. The WVSU Jazz Ensemble also performed as part of the festival. With the success of the inaugural event, the festival will be an annual celebration on campus during the fall.

University Establishes Endowed Scholarship for Science Students The West Virginia State University (WVSU) Chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and the WVSU Foundation have established a new endowed scholarship for students studying science at the University. The David Scott Thaxton Memorial Scholarship has received gifts of more than $30,000 to endow the scholarship. Thaxton, a native of Sissonville, West Virginia, graduated from WVSU in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. During his time at STATE, he was an active member of the WVSU ACS chapter. He was killed in a car accident in October 2017. Scholarships from the endowed fund will go to full-time WVSU students seeking a degree in one of the sciences who are in good academic standing. For more information about contributing to the David Scott Thaxton Memorial Scholarship Fund contact Dr. Micheal Fultz at (304) 766-3106 or mfultz@ wvstateu.edu.

West Virginia State University Named a Military Friendly School West Virginia State University (WVSU) has been named a Military Friendly School for 2019-2020 by VIQTORY in its annual listing of the top postsecondary education choices for veterans and their spouses. WVSU was the only public four-year college in West Virginia to be recognized as a Military Friendly School. The Military Friendly Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources for more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to a proprietary, data-driven survey from participating institutions. This year 766 schools nationwide earned this designation. Founded in 2001, VIQTORY is a service-disabled, veteranowned small business that connects the military community to civilian employment, educational and entrepreneurial opportunities.

West Virginia State University Designated a Tree Campus USA® from National Arbor Day Foundation West Virginia State University (WVSU) received its fifth consecutive designation as a Tree Campus USA® from the National Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. WVSU is the only institution of higher education in West Virginia to hold this designation. WVSU achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus treecare plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student servicelearning project. WVSU became the first institution in the state to receive Tree Campus USA designation for its tree care efforts in 2014. Currently there are 344 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

University Honors Earl Lloyd With the Naming of a Street

West Virginia State University (WVSU) President Dr. Anthony L. Jenkins honored Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member and WVSU basketball legend Earl Lloyd with the naming of a street on campus in his honor. The new Earl Lloyd Way is located between the Walker Convocation Center and the University’s tennis courts and was formerly known as Athletics Drive. Lloyd, the first African-American to play in an NBA game, passed away in February 2015. He was a trailblazer in the world of professional basketball. In 1950, with the Washington Capitols, he was the first African-American to play in an NBA game. Later, with the Syracuse Nationals, he became the first AfricanAmerican player to win an NBA championship. The naming ceremony for the new Earl Lloyd way was attended by a wide variety of supporters of the Yellow Jacket Nation, including (pictured above from left) Earl Lloyd’s son, Kevin, WVSU men’s basketball coach Bryan Poore, Lloyd’s widow Charlita, WVSU Board of Governors Chair William Lipscomb and President Jenkins.

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Yellow Jacket Athletics Adding Women’s Soccer Program

WVSU student group named Outstanding Chapter by American Chemical Society

Now that brand new soccer fields have been completed at the neighboring Shawnee Sports Complex the athletics landscape at West Virginia State University (WVSU) is also changing. WVSU Athletic Director Nate Burton has announced that the school will be adding women’s soccer to its offering of NCAA Division II athletic programs. The Yellow Jackets will begin play in fall of the 2019-20 school year as a club team and begin competing in the Mountain East Conference the following year. The team will practice and play its matches at the Shawnee Sports Complex. Lisa Mann has been named as the head coach of the Women’s Soccer program. Mann has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Division 1 University of Louisiana - Lafayette. A native of Newcastle, England, Mann played collegiate soccer at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee. She was an All-American selection twice and regional Player of the Year as a junior. Mann also played for Mississippi Fuego and Baton Rouge United in the Women’s Soccer Premier League. Her coaching experience includes head coach at NCAA Division II Spring Hill College in Alabama, head coach at Presbyterian Christian High School in Mississippi, assistant coach at William Carey University in Mississippi, and head coach at Giles County High School in Tennessee.

The student chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) at West Virginia State University (WVSU) received an Outstanding Chapter Award for its 20172018 activities. The group also received a Green Chemistry Award for the ninth consecutive year. “The ACS students are successfully continuing their mission to bring science education to young people,” said Dr. Micheal Fultz, a WVSU chemistry professor and faculty advisor for the ACS student chapter. “We are taking science into schools on a regular basis to enhance science education at all grade levels.” For the 2017-2018 academic year, over 400 chapter activity reports were submitted to ACS. WVSU was one of 69 chapters to receive an Outstanding Chapter award.

Yellow Jacket Athletics Unveils New Wordmark West Virginia State University Athletic Director Nate Burton unveiled a new, distinctive wordmark for the Athletic Department in fall 2018. Torch Creative designed the new mark. The process for creating the new word mark included input from coaches, administrators and students, as well as marketing and communications for the college. Elements of the new mark include stripes in the “V” that reflect the marking of a yellow jacket and the length of the “V” represents the stinger.

The new mark will be phased in, replacing the existing mark at a number of athletic department facilities as well as apparel, promotional material and equipment. In addition, apparel with the new logo will be available to purchase through the University Bookstore and online. 2 4 | We s t V i r g i n i a S TAT E

Social Work Program Recognized as one of Most Affordable in the Country West Virginia State University’s (WVSU) bachelor’s degree in social work program has been recognized as one of the most affordable in the nation for 20192020 by HumanServicesEDU.org. The national human services organization cited WVSU’s program accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education, and its tuition of nearly $3,000 less than the state average for similar programs at other state public schools. WVSU was the only college or university in West Virginia to make the list of the 101 most affordable bachelor’s degree in social work programs in the country. HumanServicesEDU. org also cited the low student to faculty ratio at WVSU and the opportunity for students to participate in the National Association of Social Workers and Alpha Delta Mu, the Social Work Honorary Organization. WVSU’s social work program’s accreditation was reaffirmed in 2017 for eight years and now until 2025. The WVSU social work program has been continuously accredited since 1974.

The Jones Family

Healthy Grandfamilies Program Participants

They say it’s all about the journey, and every journey has a beginning. A start. James and Ruth Jones’ path toward a stronger relationship as full-time caregivers to their grandchildren began with WVSU’s Healthy Grandfamilies program, which provides resources and education to grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. “There are so many things that we didn’t know, like social media and other things we didn’t have when our children were growing up,” says James. Now, they’re using the information learned in the program to be 21st century parents and meeting others in their situation. As James says, “It’s good not to be alone.”

Where will your story start?

Alumni News


Honorable C. Edward Gaunch

The Honorable C. Edward Gaunch, ’70, (Economics & Political Science) was recently appointed as the new Secretary of Commerce in West Virginia, by Governor Jim Justice in 2018. Gaunch was the first in his family to attend college, and enrolled at WVSU from the coal camp of Ridgeview in Boone County. Gaunch spent more than three decades in the insurance industry including 28 years at the Carson Agency in Charleston, where he served as President and Chief Executive Officer for a number of years. He was elected to the West Virginia State Senate in 2014, where he chaired the Government Organization committee and was the Vice Chair for a number of other committees including Finance, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Pensions.


Mr. Calvin Bailey

Calvin “Cal” Bailey, ’72, (Education) will be entering the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Bailey is a retired WVSU Baseball Coach and will be inducted on May 6 by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association at the 72nd Victory Awards Dinner in Charleston. He is a West Virginia native and a graduate of Spencer High School, where he played baseball and basketball. Bailey compiled a win-loss record of 1,063-521-4 in 37 seasons as Yellow Jacket coach from 1978-2014. Guiding 36 winning record teams, he became in 2012 only the 10th NCAA Division II coach to record 1,000 wins. His West Virginia Conference and Mountain East Conference record was 645-168. Bailey retired in 2014 as the winningest all-sport college coach in state history.


Bailey resides in Cross Lanes, West Virginia.

Mr. Allan McVey

Allan McVey, ’73, (Business Administration) was recently appointed Secretary of Administration by Governor Jim Justice. McVey has been serving as West Virginia Insurance Commissioner, also appointed by Governor Justice in 2017. He has post graduate studies in a variety of insurance-related fields including risk management, automation management, insurance service and Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriting from the American Institute for Property and Liability Underwriters, Inc. Active in his community, McVey has served on boards such as Charleston Kanawha Housing Authority and Highland Hospital. He also volunteers as a P.A. announcer for high school and college basketball. He announces regularly for St. Albans High School, West Virginia State University and the State High School Basketball Tournaments.

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Alumni News


The Honorable W. Kent Carper

The Honorable W. Kent Carper, ’75, (Political Science) established a scholarship at his alma mater, Ohio Northern University, to support West Virginia students pursuing law degrees. Carper has devoted 23 years of his life to the legal profession. However, practicing law is just one of the many things that Carper does with his time. In addition to his practice, Carper devotes a great deal of his time to serving his community. Carper says, “I think you need to give back and pay forward. I have been very lucky. I had a great education at West Virginia State University. I had a fantastic legal education at Ohio Northern, and I’ve worked, I think, hard, and it’s been very productive for my family.” Carper is President of the Kanawha County Commission, and has been a member of the Commmission since July 1996. Carper is a former paramedic, former Chief of Police for Charleston, West Virginia, as well as a former Kanawha County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney.


David M. Fryson, Esq.

David M. Fryson, Esq., ‘76, (Music Education) was recently awarded the Doctor of Jurisprudence from West Virginia University. He formerly served as the Deputy General Counsel for WVU and has practiced law for over 20 years in a variety of legal and advocacy settings. In 2001, Fryson served a term as the National Vice President for Rev. Dr. Leon Sullivan’s Opportunities Industrialization Centers (OIC) of America, establishing a national office in Washington, D.C. In addition, he has been involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Charleston Job Corps Centers and assisted with the establishment of West Virginia Multi-Fest, the largest diversity gathering in the state.


Mr. Dennis L. Boyden

Dennis L. Boyden, ’77, (Education) was recognized at the 2018 National Black College Alumni (NBCA) Hall of Fame Legacy of Leaders Luncheon as an Alumni Honoree for Distinguished Alumnus. The NBCA Hall of Fame Foundation is dedicated to sustaining and growing Historically Black Colleges and Universities through alumni recognition, scholarships, training and programs to promote humanitarian involvement. He was honored for his dedication and service to West Virginia State University. Boyden also retired after 29 years from BellSouth Corporation in the summer of 2018. He was a former Regional Manager for Corporate External Affairs at AT&T. He currently serves as the Atlanta Chapter President of the National Alumni Association, Inc., and is a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Boyden resides in Decatur, Georgia.

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Alumni News


Ms. Judith “Judy” Mason

Judith “Judy” Mason, ’78, (Education) was named the 2018 WVSU Alumna of the year. She is a native of Washington, D.C., and retired in 2017 from the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation where she served as a Pension Law Specialist and Management Analyst. Mason is a Life Member of the WVSU National Alumni Association, Inc. and has served as the Eastern Region Director and Chair of the National Constitution and By-Laws Committee. While at State she was a member of the Student Government Association, Pep Club, Gospel Cavaliers, and in her junior year was crowned Miss State. Mason has two adult children and three grandchildren. She resides in The Villages, Florida, and is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.


Sheri Sesay-Tuffour, Ph.D.

Sheri Sesay-Tuffour, Ph.D., ’98, (Communications) was named the 2018 Young Professional Achievement Award Winner. Dr. Sesay-Tuffour became the first African-American CEO for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the leading organization in the United States representing certified nurse-midwives. Sesay-Tuffour earned a doctorate degree in organizational leadership from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP); is a lifetime inductee of Yale University’s Edward Bouchet Graduate Honor Society for outstanding scholarly achievement and holds a master’s degree in public administration from Trinity University of Washington, D.C. Sesay-Tuffour is president of the Metropolitan-Washington Alumni Chapter of the WVSU National Alumni Association, Inc. She resides in Beltsville, Maryland, and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.


Mrs. Tia Welch

Tia Welch, ‘98, (Communications) was recently appointed to serve as a director of the West Virginia Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Office, by Governor Jim Justice, effective March 2019. In her role as EEO Director, Welch will work to increase state agencies’ understanding of and compliance with equal employment laws and practices to prevent workplace harassment and discrimination; increase education and outreach efforts through various training, literature, and materials; and collaborate with other agencies, higher education, and community organizations to promote diversity and inclusion and eliminate barriers to employment. Welch has served as an Employer Engagement Specialist for Goodwill Industries of Kanawha Valley. Prior to that, she worked for the Charleston Job Corps Center in various roles for nearly 20 years. Welch holds a master’s degree in theology from Freedom Bible College, and a ministerial ordination from the Heart of God Ministries International Fellowship of Churches.

LOST ALUMNI 2 8 | We s t V i r g i n i a S TAT E

We need your help in identifying lost alumni. If you know of any alumni who are not receiving our mailings, please contact the Alumni Relations Office at (304) 766.3387 or alumni@wvstateu.edu.

Alumni News


Mr. Jared Davis

Jared Davis, ’10, (Recreation) recently redeveloped the West Virginia longtime and popular Salvation Army Camp Happy Valley, now Camp Appalachia, to serve kids affected by the opioid crisis. Davis serves as the Camp Director, which is owned by Scott Depot’s Church at the Depot. The camp’s motto is “All are welcome, and no one leaves the same.” The camp has partnered with the Putnam Wellness Coalition to teach opiate prevention. They’ve also forged partnerships with the state Division of Natural Resources, the state forestry department and West Virginia State University. The camp hires college students studying education, child psychology, social work or other similar programs.


Davis resides in Hurricane, West Virginia.

Mr. Zach Szasz

Zach Szasz, ’15, (Health Science) recently received the Heart & Soul Award by his employer, Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC). CAMC recognizes managers that exemplify the company’s mission, vision and core values; high employee satisfaction scores; achieving excellence in patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, physician satisfaction, patient safety, quality or financial health; expense reduction, revenue growth, performance improvement activities; and strides in improving safety for patients and visitors. Szasz assumed the responsibility of Linen Director in 2017. Under his leadership, employee morale and employee retention improved and productivity increased. The linen operation also serves Thomas, St. Francis and Logan General hospitals as well as about 30 other offices and clinics.


He resides in Cross Lanes, West Virginia.

Mr. Dennis Gardeck

Dennis Gardeck, ’17, (Political Science) signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Cardinals Football Team. Gardeck is a native of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, and attended Crystal Lake South High School. He was a Yellow Jacket linebacker for three years, in the AllMountain East Conference, before transferring to Sioux Falls as a graduate student to finish his college career. Gardeck graduated from WVSU with one more year of eligibility; taking advantage of the NCAA’s grad transfer rule, he was able to play his final collegiate season at another university. During his time at State, he racked up 18 sacks and 273 tackles in three seasons. Gardeck made the Cardinals roster playing in all 16 games in the 2018 season, primarily on special teams.

ALUMNI NEWS SUBMISSION GUIDELINES When submitting information for possible inclusion in Alumni News, please include your full name and the year you graduated from West Virginia State University. Include a brief description of your recent accomplishment or recognition. When submitting a photo for consideration, it must be at least 300 dpi. Send your information for consideration to WVSU Alumni Relations, 200 East Hall, PO Box 1000, Institute, WV 25112. or email bfuller@wvstateu.edu. V o l u m e 7 : 2 0 19 | 2 9

Alumni News

2018 Life Members

This list includes members who completed their Life Memberships between October 1, 2017, and December 31, 2018. Although we have done everything possible to present a full list of new Life Members for this period, we apologize should there be any omissions or errors. Please contact the Alumni Relations Office for corrections. Talisha M. Bradley James R. Buchanan Ann M. Bull Nancy C. Butler Samuel Curry June G. Garner Vikki Green

1996 1992 1982 1964 1981 1960 1995

Jennifer R. Herrald Clifford L. Hill Melissa J. Hill Joseph D. Jenkins Roberta H. Lee Ethel T. Monroe Clarence W. Mosely

2002 1954 1991 1973 1977 1975

J. Diane Redd Vince D. Ross Lorraine S. Ross Margaret G. Strickland Willie M. Taylor Tracy K. Walton Sharon Whiting

Join the WVSU National Alumni Association!

1967 1986 1986 1958 1964 1984 1972

Enjoy all the benefits of being an alumnus on an annual basis for $25 per year, our easiest and most convenient way to contribute to the WVSU National Alumni Association! Membership dues cover the fiscal year September 1, 2018-August 31, 2019. We look forward to your continued support. Visit http://connect. wvstateu.edu for more information on alumni dues and lifetime membership.

WVSU National Alumni Association Executive Officers President

Dr. Lateef Y. Saffore, ’96

Immediate Past President Mr. Charles Boddy, ’70

President Emeritus

Dr. Ann Brothers Smith, ’64

First Vice President

Mrs. Camille Shipman-McQueen, ’96

Second Vice President Mr. Gregory Wilson, ’88

Executive Secretary

Mrs. Belinda K. Fuller, ’06


Ms. Talisha Bradley, ’96

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Ms. Andrea Robinson, ’77

Financial Secretary

Mr. James Buchanan, ’92


Ms. Jamila A. Price, ’98

Eastern Director

Mr. Everett L. Person, ’68

Southern Director

Ms. YLonne Fullen Swails, ’72

Mid-West Director

Ms. Barbara Jean Price, ’68

Far-West Director

Ms. Carol Parham-Bell, ’79


20 25


10 11



WVSU ALUMNI MIXER 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Recovery Sports Grill, Charleston, WV WV Yellow Jacket Alumni Chapter & WVSU Alumni Relations


Walker Convocation Center WVSU National Alumni Association, Inc. & WVSU Alumni Relations


Walker Convocation Center





12 pm - 5 pm

Hornets Nest Park, Charlotte, NC



5 pm - 9 pm

Buffalo Soldier Museum, Houston HBCU Association Houston Alumni Chapter




Raleigh-Durham Alumni Chapter




Harper Ridge Pavilion, Solon, OH

1 pm - 5 pm

Burlington Township, NJ





WVSU vs West Liberty connect.wvstateu.edu/homecoming




Howard University Metropolitan Washington Alumni Chapter


Piedmont Park, ATL Atlanta Alumni Chapter

For complete information about events for WVSU Alumni and friends, please visit connect.wvstateu. edu, contact Alumni Relations at (304) 766-5259 or alumni@wvstateu.edu.

V o l u m e 7 : 2 0 19 | 31

January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017 Benjamin B. Hubert, ʼ42

Douglas Evans, ʼ66

James A. Floyd

Ralph E. Helm, ʼ66

Edythe D. Cherry

Wesley Rogers, ʼ67

Lillian L. Rance, ʼ47

Swanson Carter, ʼ68

Marvin D. Mills, ʼ47

Phyllis J. Hamilton, ʼ68

Hattie H. Allen, ʼ48

Phyllis A. Totten, ʼ69

Barbara H. Caldwell, ʼ50

Lewis V. Barnes, ʼ70

Alonzo G. DeBerry, ʼ50

Yvonne P. Fullen, ʼ72

Alma Carter Holland, ʼ51

Alfred G. Vance, ʼ75

Juanita W. Tunstall, ʼ51

Donald E. Robinson, ʼ77

Francell G. Turner, ʼ54

Garland Zeigler, ʼ80

Kathryn T. Sutphin, ʼ55

Tammy D. Raines, ʼ86

Sylvester Slade, ʼ56

Nancy J. Bailey, ʼ89

William G. Toby, ʼ61

Paul J. Gilmer, ʼ94

Thomas D. Goodwin, ʼ62

Markita A. Primm, ʼ97

Deloris M. Knox, ʼ62

Michelle L. Friery, ʼ12

Betty J. Randle, ʼ65

Charlotte Giles*

William H. McCoy, ʼ66

Tom Hutto* *Indicates former faculty member

PO Box 1000 Institute, WV 25112-1000

VISIT wvstateu.edu/ItStartsatState to share your story!


Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Institute, WV 25112 Permit No. 1

Profile for West Virginia State University

State Magazine, Volume 7, 2019 Edition  

The 2019 edition of West Virginia State University’s flagship publication features stories on history making accomplishments at the state Ca...

State Magazine, Volume 7, 2019 Edition  

The 2019 edition of West Virginia State University’s flagship publication features stories on history making accomplishments at the state Ca...