Many of you have recently received a post card from me to let you know that we’ve launched our Mountaineer Memories Oral History project. We’ve teamed up with a company called PCI to record and document the history of WVU through the experiences of our Alumni.
As with the rest of America, the last few months have been quite the experience in shifting the work we do from the physical to the digital environment. It’s actually been much smoother than I would have predicted, and frankly, it’s been good for us. I’d say the WVU Alumni Association has advanced a couple of years in just a few months.
You did it. After years of hard work and dedication, you’ve earned your degree from West Virginia University. On behalf of the WVU Alumni Association, I applaud you for reaching this significant milestone.
Last week, we hosted our Alumni Leaders Institute (ALI) annual conference, an event where we bring Chapter and Interest Group leaders, board members, and University officials together to discuss all things WVU and Alumni. Each year, 100 or so alumni return to campus to spend a couple of days connecting and learning about how the Alumni Association can be of highest value to our Mountaineers everywhere.
Many Mountaineers will remember that Travis Braden sported the Flying WV on his race car for several years while he was studying mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University. Now, as more and more events are being canceled due to COVID-19, Travis is participating in “virtual” racing and will be competing in the eTruck Series this evening at 7pm. We’re extremely excited for Travis to be carrying the WVU Alumni Association’s colors in this evening’s race and we invite fans to watch him compete. Take a look at the press release from Travis Braden Racing for more information about Travis and tonight’s race.
Difficult times have a way of bringing people together, sometimes in unexpected ways. Yes, getting through them is hard, it’s uncomfortable, and sometimes can result in tragedy. However, without exception, the strongest and most effective teams I’ve been part of all had a shared experience of getting through a crisis.
As I reflect on those difficult times, the common theme was selflessness. Each person worried more about their teammates than themselves. There was always someone else to lift you up on a bad day, watch your six, or simply give you a word of encouragement.
As we enact solutions to maintain safety during COVID-19, we wanted to take a moment to reach out with an update. At WVU, our highest priority is safeguarding the health, well-being and academic success of all our communities.
I am consistently overwhelmed with excitement when I learn about new opportunities for students at WVU. I feel like I learn about a new student organization, research breakthrough or educational program in every meeting I attend on campus and it’s important to remember that the opportunities West Virginia University offers to Mountaineers are not restricted to campus, nor are they limited to students.
I recently had a meeting with our colleagues at the Chambers College of Business and Economics, where I learned about an incredible new master’s degree that can be completed entirely online. This Healthcare MBA will focus on equipping healthcare professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate and lead the healthcare industry.
As the President and CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, and as the father of two Mountaineers, there are moments every day that remind me how lucky I am to hold these special titles. In fact, my favorite moments are the ones when I get to represent both WVU and my family, and in a few weeks, I will get to do just that as I help spread the word about WVU in a place I’ve called home.
West Virginia University is bringing the Mountaineer spirit to the Cincinnati/Dayton region on March 2nd for an Ask Us Anything event, open to prospective students and families who might be considering WVU as their next adventure. These events, designed to help share the real story about WVU, are the perfect environment to talk one-on-one with WVU staff, current students, alumni, and parents of Mountaineers.
I can’t wait to check-in, put on my name-tag, and get ready to share my perspective about being a parent of two Mountaineers (and an alumnus myself). Just like most families, we toured schools, we applied for scholarships, we explored academic programs, we talked about fit, and we mapped the drive from home to campus; ultimately, country roads led my family back to WVU and I am so excited to share that story on March 2nd.
When we recruit students to come to WVU, we’re recruiting the whole family – we can’t wait to share the Mountaineer spirit, wear the gold and blue, and welcome everyone into the WVU community. If you’d like to learn more about attending West Virginia University, or if you’d like to volunteer at an event as alumni or as parents, take a look at the Ask Us Anything event information here.
Each fall the Board of Governors, Foundation Board of Directors and Alumni Association Board of Directors, meet for a strategic retreat. The goal is to share information, understand the challenges facing our Alma Mater, and generate ideas to move WVU forward. As we begin a new year and a new decade, I thought I’d share with you my remarks to the three boards.
Happy New Year!