It's hard to believe that 2022 is coming to a close. It’s certainly been a year of exciting new challenges and incredible progress for our Alumni Association. You might remember our announcement at the beginning of the year, featuring the strategic partnership with West Virginia University. This partnership is delivering what was planned with its inception: to provide better support for and greater connection among the alumni and students of West Virginia University. In my final From Down the Hall for 2022, I'd like to share a few examples of how we are doing just that through various initiatives - both new and old.
Reaffirming and celebrating the important contributions made by our more than 70 alumni chapters and interest groups will continue to be a top priority. The work of these volunteers provides opportunities for our alumni and friends to create new WVU moments, large and small, and to experience a community of like-minded fellow Mountaineers even though they may live far away from campus. They are engaged in community service, serve as brand ambassadors, help bring alumni together in fellowship, raise money for scholarships and lend assistance to important University initiatives. If not for the hard work of these incredible alumni, hundreds upon hundreds of fellow Mountaineers would not be as closely connected with their alma mater. Within these groups, we can also see how a dedicated group of volunteers can be a driver for change. Many of our chapters pay it forward by providing scholarships to local students, helping them achieve the goal of receiving a life-changing WVU education. The power of our volunteer network never ceases to amaze me, and we will continue to collaborate with our University partners to demonstrate even greater appreciation and provide additional support for these groups in the future.
Life has taken many of our alumni to locations both near and far after graduation. I always hear from graduates who say that after leaving Morgantown, very little comes close to the feeling of making a return trip to campus! Some have said it’s similar to when they toured campus for the first time or first moved into their residence hall – a feeling that comes right back when you journey home on country roads. It was this feeling, and these moments, that led us to reimagine what Homecoming could be for our alumni.
Our talented Alumni Association team, along with the invaluable assistance of our partners at University Relations and Enrollment Management, were able to make Homecoming 2022 one of the best in my 20+ years at WVU.
As part of our vision to provide greater opportunities for student and alumni engagement, Homecoming was expanded to a weeklong celebration. Banners around the campus focused on our rich traditions and the moments, everlasting that make up our journey as Mountaineers. We hosted WVU Alumni truck pop-ups throughout campus with giveaways for students as they headed to class and we enjoyed two fantastic virtual conversations with Ted Svehlik and Corey Farris about student life, the history of WVU's campus, and a look forward to what we have in store.
We hosted special alumni tours, photo opportunities in front of Woodburn Hall, and provided many posters, limited edition alumni giveaways, postcards, and much more to celebrate the moments that make us Mountaineers. It was truly a proud moment for our team to see how much our alumni enjoyed the activities. The week culminated with a lively parade and a Mountaineer football game, where we honored our 2022 Homecoming and Service Award winners at halftime!
Graduating from college is a pivotal moment; the closing of one chapter before the next begins. This year, we teamed up with Student Life and other campus partners to host the inaugural GradFest, a weeklong celebration for graduating students. As students took selfies with President Gee, decorated caps, and enjoyed delicious food in the beautiful spring weather, our soon-to-be-alumni got to experience Mountaineer moments that they'll remember for the rest of their lives. I'm thankful we could play a role in making that happen.
This strategic partnership has also brought us more regular programming at the Erickson Alumni Center, expanded on-campus events in Morgantown and around the country, and identified specific priorities that will benefit alumni for years to come. I look forward to sharing these with you as we head into the new year.
As we welcome 2023, I want to say thank you for your dedication to our alma mater. In so many ways, our alumni are contributing time, talent, treasure and ties, making WVU a stronger institution. On behalf of the staff here at the WVU Alumni Association, we are humbled by the opportunity to serve you. I wish you and yours well this holiday season and hope to see you at the Erickson Alumni Center very soon.
Kevin Berry ('94, '95)
WVU Vice President of Alumni Relations
CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, Inc.