(The significance of From Down the Hall harkens back to my early days at the WVU Alumni Association when the Erickson Alumni Center was in what we now call the West Virginia University Museum Education Center. As you entered the facility, there was a long hallway. At the end was the office of Executive Director Steve Douglas. Each quarter, a message in our printed newsletter was specially authored from down the hall. It is with a full heart that I reintroduce you to From Down the Hall. I hope you enjoy! ~ Kevin)
I was raised in a family of Mountaineers. As a matter of fact, I honestly cannot remember a time that WVU was not a part of my life. Fond childhood memories include asking for just about every type of WVU birthday cake imaginable and waking up way too early on fall Saturdays to make the two-and-a-half hour trip north for a day of comradery and fellowship with 60,000 Mountaineers. To this day, I still have one of my most prized childhood treasures: the first WVU hat I ever purchased, adorned with collector’s pins from WVU bowl games.
Attending WVU changed my life. While on campus, I discovered what I was passionate about and found my purpose. I had the privilege of learning from world-class professors as I earned two degrees. They challenged me to think differently, become a lifelong learner and strive to be the best version of myself. I participated in extra-curricular activities that brought a sense of joy and accomplishment while shaping the values I carry to this day. I met my wife of 27 years as an undergraduate and both of my children are currently earning WVU degrees of their own. Many of my fellow alumni share similar stories.
It was my lifelong relationship with WVU and a sense of obligation I felt to repay my alma mater for how it so positively changed my life that motivated me to apply for my first WVU job in the mid-1990’s. I wanted to pay forward what I had experienced and hopefully play a small role in helping others share the same richness I felt through a deep connection to my alma mater.
The most beautiful part of our WVU community is that it keeps giving. My foundational experience as a WVU student and continued involvement post-graduation have allowed me to grow, learn and feel the sense of satisfaction in knowing that I’m part of something much bigger. I’ve had the honor of serving WVU and its more than 200,000 alumni in multiple roles at the WVU Alumni Association. The relationships I've made with countless alumni have truly enriched me. Their stories about how WVU has changed their lives are just as unique and awe-inspiring as mine.
With both excitement and humility, I will serve West Virginia University as its next Vice President of Alumni Relations. For a kid growing up in West Virginia dreaming about being a part of this incredible institution, it is sincerely the honor of a lifetime. In this role, I will collaborate with campus partners, our amazing volunteers, the hard-working team at the Association and alumni around the globe to provide pathways for involvement in the life of our alma mater. Now more than ever, our University needs a highly engaged alumni base and our alumni need a nurturing community for life. That will inspire the work we do daily, advancing a place that we all love.
During my time at the WVU Alumni Association, my life and career have been touched by its eight previous leaders, whether they held the title of Executive Secretary, Director, Executive Director or President and CEO. It is my honor to follow in their footsteps and to carry on this important work.
Being a Mountaineer means you are forever part of something that is larger than any one person. It is a caring community quilted together by the collection of shared experiences and deeply personal stories. Thank you for the many ways you have and will continue to add to our extraordinary community. I am eager to serve you and look forward to an opportunity to connect over shared experiences and to hear your WVU story.
Kevin Berry ('94, '95)
WVU Vice President of Alumni Relations
CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, Inc.