The end of another calendar year marks a busy time of making holiday plans, enjoying Mountaineer sports as they enter into championship season, traveling to a football bowl game (this year we’re off to Charlotte for the Duke’s Mayo Bowl!), setting goals for the following year, and, of course, Spotify Wrapped. As we approach the end of 2023, I find myself reflecting on the incredible journey we’ve shared as a community. We’ve had a year filled with exciting events, meaningful connections and countless reasons to express our gratitude.
As we close out the year, we almost always look ahead to what’s next: creating new moments for our alumni, curating events and connections for Mountaineers near and far, and providing pathways for alumni to find their way home to Morgantown for events like Homecoming and many others.
For this month’s From Down the Hall, I’d like to reflect on 2023 before jumping right into 2024. We have a number of exciting things planned for next year and I’m looking forward to sharing them with you, but first, let’s take a moment to celebrate all that we accomplished this past year. And, the team here at the Alumni Association and the greater University has accomplished a lot!
In the last year alone, I’ve had the privilege of sharing stories with you from all over WVU, covering a variety of topics. Stories about Mountaineer love, March Madness over the years, a record-breaking Day of Giving, career and life advice from alumni to graduating students, the unbelievable work of our alumni chapters, the excitement and memories of move-in weekend, celebrating traditions new and old, and finally, a Homecoming week to be remembered. All of these moments are a part of what has made 2023 one of the most memorable yet.
With that said, 2023 isn’t over yet, and we still have the pleasure of welcoming a new class of Mountaineers to the alumni family. December Commencement is always an inspiring and celebratory way to cap off any calendar year. This Class of 2023 contains future business leaders, prideful social workers, and researchers on the cutting edge of a variety of industries. While that may seem cliche to some, I’m thrilled to see what lies ahead in their future, and for Country Roads to lead them back home from time to time, so we can hear all about it.
While this is an extremely exciting time as we witness the next generation of leaders cross the stage and embark on new journeys, it can also be a bit daunting for those who are leaving Morgantown to start the next chapter of their lives. Many graduates will move to new cities and towns where they will make new connections and build new communities. That’s where I’m especially grateful for the work of our alumni chapters nationwide. WVU alumni chapters can play an essential role in helping recent graduates transition into life after college.
Alumni chapters provide a supportive network for personal and professional growth, offering opportunities for fellowship, networking, mentorship, career development, and an opportunity to cheer for the football or basketball game with fellow Mountaineers at a watching event. Our chapters organize various events and activities throughout the year, including happy hours and community service projects. If you know a recent graduate or soon-to-be grad, encourage them to reach out to their local alumni chapter and get involved! So many memorable moments await by making connections with Mountaineers in their local area.
We are also extending a small gift for our new graduates, one free year of membership in the WVU Alumni Association. It’s our way of celebrating all that they’ve accomplished in their last four years here in Morgantown and to say congratulations. So, if you know a recent graduate, make sure they’re aware of the exciting perks that come with membership. And, if you’re an alum who isn’t a member yet, consider checking out all the benefits and joining yourself. At the very least, it makes a fantastic gift for a fellow Mountaineer this holiday season.
As we bid farewell to 2023, we eagerly anticipate the opportunities 2024 will bring. The WVU Alumni Association remains committed to fostering connections, supporting our alma mater and providing valuable resources for our diverse and accomplished community of alumni and friends. As we embark on 2024, we look forward to continuing our celebration of 150 years of the WVU Alumni Association, continuing to serve the graduates of WVU and upholding the traditions of our beloved institution. Celebrating 150 years of serving our alumni, university, state, nation, and as grand as it may seem, the world, is something that I hope each of you can take pride in. As you may have witnessed during Homecoming and a few other initiatives since then, we plan on carrying over 150 years of WVU alumni into 2024. Be on the lookout for moments of celebration, education and plenty of reminiscing. We’ve had a lot to be proud of over our 150-year history, and I can’t wait to revisit some of those moments with you.
As I close out the final From Down the Hall of 2023, I want to express my gratitude to all of our alumni, faculty, staff and students. As we look ahead to 2024, we stand on the cusp of new beginnings, countless possibilities and a celebration of 150 years of Mountaineer camaraderie. We will honor long-standing traditions, and even create a few new ones along the way. Despite the challenges and hurdles we faced in 2023, I believe the foundation we have established positions WVU and the WVU Alumni Association to carry forth the traditions of our fellow Mountaineers for the next 150 years. Here’s to a bright and promising 2024.
Wishing you all a joyous holiday season, and Let’s Go!
Kevin Berry ('94, '95)
WVU Vice President of Alumni Relations
CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, Inc.