Toumas to serve as grand marshals in homecoming parade


Dr. Joseph B. Touma and his wife, Dr. Omayma Touma, have been selected as the grand marshals for the 2015  homecoming parade, which will take place Thursday, Oct. 22, in downtown Huntington.

“What a thrill it is to have Joe and Omayma Touma as the grand marshals of our homecoming parade this year,” Matt Hayes,  executive director of alumni relations, said of the Toumas, both of whom were born in Damascus, Syria. “We are so fortunate they picked Huntington to be their home when they moved to America 44 years ago. The community and the university have really prospered since because of their generosity and guidance.”

A renowned ear and hearing specialist in the region for more than 40 years, Joseph Touma has helped restore hearing for thousands of hearing-impaired patients in the Tri-State area. But his impact has reached far beyond those patients.

Joseph Touma served on the faculty at the Marshall  medical school and has financially supported many of the university’s programs. In addition to his work as a physician, Joseph Touma is credited with helping lead a revitalization of downtown Huntington. He purchased and renovated buildings near Pullman Square and helped form the core of downtown development. One of his buildings houses the Touma Museum of Medicine, showing the history and advances in medicine over the past century and beyond.

An accomplished doctor in her own right, Omayma Touma previously served as director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.

The couple traveled to the United States in the late 1960s. After visiting 15 other cities, the Touma family settled in Huntington in 1971.

The Toumas received The Herald-Dispatch “Citizens of the Year” award in 2000 and were both inducted into Marshall’s   Business Hall of Fame in 2001.