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From Down the Hall: January 2023

Happy New Year, Mountaineers! I hope you brought in 2023 with the friends and family who mean the most to you and enjoyed some much-needed rest and relaxation. In last month's From Down the Hall, I briefly reviewed 2022 and how it will serve as the foundation for the WVU Alumni Association moving into 2023 and beyond. I encourage you to take a look at that piece here as we enter the new year. Today, I'd like to dive into some fascinating research that's happening here in Morgantown, and introduce you to two exciting museums some alumni might not be aware of. You'll want to add these to your to-do list the next time you're on campus!

If you visited campus during Homecoming 2022, you might have heard about the grand opening of the William A. Neal Museum of the Health Sciences. It's a fantastic facility that all alumni and community members can appreciate, but especially our Health Sciences alumni. The museum is located near the historic Pylons sculptures and shares stories (from WVU's inception in 1867 to today) of health professions education at the University. I am grateful to have known Bill Neal personally through his dedication and deep connection with West Virginia University, and it is an honor to see his legacy live on through the retelling of health sciences history on a campus he loved so dearly. 

Another museum, in a location familiar to many alumni, is the Art Museum of WVU on the Evansdale campus. Before the current home of the Alumni Association, the Erickson Alumni Center, was built in 2008, the Art Museum's building was where we called home for many years. While the new Erickson Alumni Center continues to amaze me each day, the Art Museum facility will always hold a special place in my heart as I recall the many special moments we all shared in that space. Now it's a location for incredibly unique local and regional art exhibits, with ever-changing galleries for individuals of all ages. This isn't just a great resource for alumni but for the entire Morgantown community. 

The museum will reopen for the season on Jan. 21, as they unveil new exhibitions of learning opportunities for the WVU community and beyond - exhibits that I and many others are looking forward to seeing. Be on the lookout for the McGee Gallery and a 175-year-old span of Photography and the Violin when they reopen. You can visit the Art Museum’s website for more information and to begin planning your visit. I hope you take advantage of these WVU resources the next time you're in the area!

On a campus that is continuing to grow each day, it’s truly a gift to live and work in a community where curiosity is encouraged. I recently learned of important work that's being done by the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. The WVU Archaeological Training and Research Laboratory, known as the Arch Lab, was created in 2019 by professors in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology to provide students with more opportunities to practice archaeology. Dr. Olivia Jones, a 2005 graduate of WVU's anthropology program and lead curator at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, arranged for a collection from the complex's West Virginia Archaeological Research and Collections Management Facility to be sent to the Arch Lab for students to process.

The artifacts in the collection, which were excavated in 1976-77 and have since been sealed, are being cleaned, sorted, and labeled by students, providing them with hands-on learning opportunities. This a huge win for WVU and our students as the Arch Lab continues to provide students with experiential opportunities, opening future doors for opportunities in their field after they leave WVU. I've only been provided a brief summary of this fantastic story that was featured in the Eberly Magazine, so I encourage you to read the full piece at your leisure! 

I look forward to sharing more cutting-edge research and interesting stories happening at WVU throughout 2023 in our monthly From Down the Hall blogs. Thank you to the incredible faculty, staff, students and alumni who make the work we're doing in Morgantown felt worldwide. It's a great day (and year) to be a Mountaineer! Let's Go!

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