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From Down the Hall: May 2024


It’s hard to believe, but we’ve already reached the end of another academic year. As students move out and others prepare for this weekend’s Commencement ceremony, we’re also reaching the end of our 150th anniversary celebration of the WVU Alumni Association. Not only has it been a milestone year for the Association, it marks an especially meaningful moment for my family as we celebrate my daughter, Alison, who will be graduating in a few short days. 

It marks the end of an era and the beginning of a new one as Alison becomes the fourth Berry in our household and the second of my children to join the WVU alumni family. As a parent and a fellow WVU grad, I couldn't be prouder to see the legacy of a West Virginia University education continue in my family. From her early days at the WVU Nursery School to now, graduating as a member of the Class of 2024, Alison's journey has been one to remember - filled with lifelong friendships, lessons learned, impactful mentors, and moments of purpose explored on campus and beyond. 

It feels like just yesterday when she put on her preschool backpack for the first time, reminding us all how quickly time flies. As I’m sure many of you are also proud parents, grandparents, and alumni, I know that you can relate to the bittersweet feeling of watching our loved ones grow and embark on new adventures.

Ali Berry as a toddler sitting outside the WVU Nursery School

Alison Berry at nursery school

Before the families and friends of our graduates start making their way to the Coliseum this weekend, the Class of 2024 is invited to commemorate this very special occasion during GradFest, a celebration of their accomplishments, which will take place in front of the Mountainlair on Wednesday. This exciting event promises a memorable start to their journey as WVU alumni. As part of the festivities, they will have the opportunity to claim their free year of membership with the WVU Alumni Association and be presented with their first WVU Alumni branded item, a custom designed shirt. But that's not all—graduates can also sign up for a professional photo session in their cap and gown against the backdrop of Woodburn Hall. Another exciting moment will be the re-introduction of a new (and storied) tradition at GradFest this year. We'll be serving strawberry sundaes, a delightful nod to the early days of the WVU Alumni Association. This tradition harks back to a time when our directors would gather for meetings and cap off their discussions with a strawberry sundae—a tradition we're excited to revive and share with our incoming alumni.

In keeping with traditions, I am thrilled to deliver the Alumni Charge before each Commencement ceremony. As graduates are gathering in the basketball practice facility prior to making their walk over to the Coliseum, I will welcome them to their alumni family, remind them to claim their first year of Alumni Association membership and lead them in one of my favorite traditions, the “Let’s go” chant. This may be the final time they shout “Mountaineers” as students of West Virginia University. 

And in this season of celebration and change, we couldn't part ways without extending a graduation gift to the newest members of the alumni community. As a special token of our appreciation, we're offering a complimentary one-year membership to the WVU Alumni Association. This membership unlocks a variety of benefits, including access to thousands of discounts nationwide. More importantly, it serves as a vital link for alumni to stay connected to WVU, uphold Mountaineer pride, and embark on a lifelong learning journey beyond the confines of graduation. If you're a recent graduate, don't miss out—visit the WVU Alumni Association website today to claim your free membership and discover how we can support you in this exciting new chapter of your life.

It is our focus at the WVU Alumni Association to cultivate a lively and supportive community for Mountaineers across the globe, nurturing a lifelong sense of belonging. Through a range of programs and services, we empower alumni to maintain their connection with their alma mater, reignite old friendships, and forge new ones, throughout life’s many moments.

Among our support systems are our dedicated alumni chapters spread across the nation. These local groups serve as invaluable resources for connecting with the Mountaineer community. Whether you're interested in attending networking events, participating in volunteer initiatives, or cheering on the Mountaineers at game watches, these chapters keep the spirit of WVU alive and thriving. If I could offer one piece of advice to the Class of 2024, it would be to reach out and connect with an alumni chapter in the area where you are relocating. We've heard countless stories of our chapters aiding young alumni in seamlessly integrating into their new homes and communities—something that may not have been possible otherwise.

As a proud parent and WVU alumnus, I can’t wait to reunite with the family and friends to celebrate the remarkable accomplishments of the Class of 2024 and especially, my daughter Alison. To our graduates, congratulations on this achievement. You've poured your hearts into your academic endeavors, tackled new obstacles head-on, and become an integral part of our WVU legacy. We're thrilled to soon welcome you officially into the WVU Alumni Association! 

Here's to a bright future, and a lifetime of Mountaineer pride.

Let's Go!

Kevin Berry ('94, '95)
WVU Vice President of Alumni Relations
CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, Inc.

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