I hope you had a fantastic fourth of July weekend with friends and family as we continue to enjoy the summer season. The last several weeks have been an exciting time for our growing team at the WVU Alumni Association. We’ve added two talented individuals to our staff and have re-aligned responsibilities so that your Alumni Association can better serve our university and its largest constituency, our alumni. With that said, it is my privilege to introduce you to the leadership team that will implement our engagement strategies, providing opportunities for greater connection with fellow Mountaineers and West Virginia University.
Meridith Balas, whom some of you may know, has been named executive director of alumni engagement after previously serving as our director of alumni engagement. She is now responsible for implementing the organization's strategic vision and priorities while focusing on organizational effectiveness and culture. Dr. Balas’ service has been invaluable to the Association, and I'm grateful she will continue in this new capacity.
As our chief financial officer, Lou Hart oversees the stewardship of resources, operational metrics and budgets of the organization, securing its capacity to focus on meaningful engagement programs and services. His work also supports the Erickson Alumni Center team who is focused on the utilization and growth of this marvelous facility. Lou has been a valuable member of the Alumni Association team for more than 10 years and I'm looking forward to continuing our work together going forward.
In his role working for the WVU Foundation as the Association’s director of development, David Allaway will continue to focus on cultivating meaningful relationships and resource development to support the organization’s strategic priorities and other important University-wide initiatives. He brings a valuable perspective to our organization and helps align alumni and friends with their passions through engagement and philanthropy.
Geoff Coyle joins the team as the director of volunteer engagement, overseeing engagement opportunities for 75+ chapter and interest groups, including volunteerism, service, personal and professional development, and events and programs for alumni across the globe. I'm excited to work closely with Geoff as we continue to collaborate with our volunteer leaders to create meaningful opportunities for alumni in their local communities.
And finally, I'd like to welcome Jessica McGee, our new director of marketing and communications. A talented storyteller, Jessica will manage the Association's strategic communications and continue sharing the stories of alumni and friends in a variety of formats. A two-time graduate of the Reed College of Media, we're thankful that country roads have led her to the Alumni Association.
If you haven't had a chance to personally meet our leadership team, I am hopeful the opportunity will present itself soon, possibly at an upcoming event or alumni program. With our growing staff, we look forward to providing meaningful experiences for our alumni on-campus and beyond.
In fact, we're already doing just that. A few short weeks ago, we welcomed more than 100 alumni from the Classes of '70, '71 and '72 back to Morgantown for our Graduate Emeritus celebration. It was invigorating to hear their personal stories as they reminisced about their time on campus. They participated in social functions and attended seminars that shared some of the incredible things that are happening at their alma mater. Attendees also took tours and saw firsthand how the physical plant has evolved over the last 50 years. We closed the reunion by celebrating their personal and professional accomplishments as WVU alumni. Events like these are an incredible reminder of the pride our alumni have for their alma mater.
There is one upcoming occasion that I encourage you to circle on your calendars. We're planning to re-introduce the WVU Alumni Association with a re-envisioned Homecoming celebration. As part of the activities, we hope to start some new traditions and bring back a few old favorites, while creating meaningful memories for students and alumni alike. Keep an eye out for additional information in the coming weeks.
Enjoy the rest of your summer! This time of year always seems to pass by quickly. If you are looking for an opportunity to share in some Mountaineer camaraderie, check out our calendar of events and consider engaging with your local chapter. A number of programs have already been scheduled, with more coming as the fall semester approaches. And, if you haven't joined already, Alumni Association membership is a great way to remain connected to our university and support our mission of serving you, our alumni. Please consider joining us!
Kevin Berry ('94, '95)
WVU Vice President of Alumni Relations
CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, Inc.