2002 Hall of Fame

Robert P. Alexander

Robert P. Alexander was born in a farmhouse on a 500-acre farm in Milton, WV. After graduating from Milton High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and rose to the rank of staff sergeant in charge of radio communication for the Far East Command. He was awarded several medals, including the Korean Service Medal, the United Nation Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. After an honorable discharge, he volunteered for two additional tours of duty, serving a total of nine years.

After leaving the military in 1953, Robert enrolled in Marshall College. He established Marshall’s first placement office, which he operated from 1958 to 1969. He also helped bring the first career conference, called Operation: Native Son and Daughter, to Huntington in an effort to retain graduates for careers in West Virginia.

Robert went on to receive his Master’s degree from Marshall and Ph.D. from Ohio University. He was appointed associate professor of Marshall’s newly established School of Business. During his tenure, at the College of Business, Robert served as the first MBA director, chairman of the Department of Management and dean. He started the Executive MBA program and the Executive in Residence program, now in its 18th year.

Robert was elected as Huntington’s mayor in 1981 and was known for his support of reforesting Huntington. He is also known for his farming abilities, especially tree farming, and operates five SilverGrow Farms. He was voted West Virginia Tree Farmer of the Year in 1990. After 44 years of service to Marshall, Robert will say goodbye to his career at Marshall in May when he retires.


Eric Bachelor

Eric Bachelor was born in Shelbyville, Ky., and graduated in 1974 with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and in 1976 with a Master’s degree in Education Administration from Marshall University.

After graduation, Eric spent 17 years in management with the Ford Motor Company, where he conducted arbitration proceedings, negotiated labor contracts and was human relations manager in Louisville and Detroit.

Eric owned several businesses, including a chain of coin-operated laundromats, Thoroughbred racehorses and a variety of restaurants and real estate developments. He credits his personal business success to hard work, a willingness to address and treat associates and employees with respect, to share the success of the business with them and grow the company using a team concept.

Eric’s early business ventures paved the way for him to become president and CEO of Bachelor Foods Inc. which served as a franchise for the Outback Steakhouse. He also now owns the “Menches Bros The inventors of the hamburger” insignia, licensing, recipes and history, which is still in the marketing and development stage.

Eric not only excelled in the business arena, but achieved many high school athletic records that remain unbroken today in basketball, football and track. In college, he won numerous awards and competed in the NIT and NCAA tournaments. Eric is the winner of numerous community service awards and now lives in Chesterfield, Mo., with his wife, Brenda, and two children, Brendon and Erica.


Richard D. Jackson

Richard D. Jackson was born and raised in Huntington, W. Va. He graduated from Huntington High School and Marshall University, where he was a basketball, football and track star in the late 1950s.

After graduation, Richard volunteered for duty in the U.S. Marine Corps. He commanded Mike Company, Third Battalion, Fourth Marine Regiment, Third Marine Division, during a tour in Vietnam’s Demilitarized Zone in South Vietnam and was awarded the Silver and Bronze stars, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

After eight years of duty, Richard resigned his commission as a major in 1968. He then became the vice president for First National Bank of Atlanta until 1974. In 1972, he graduated from Louisiana State University’s School of Banking of the South. Two years later, he became president and CEO of First Georgia Bank, and from 1986 to 1993, he was vice chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Federal Bank. From 1993 to 1996, he worked as vice chairman and COO of First Financial Management Corp. In Atlanta, and he currently chairs the hoard at ebank.com. Richard has been active in both civic and professional organizations throughout his business career. He also is a past member of the Young Presidents and Chief Executive Officers world-wide organizations.

Richard has recently authored “Yesterdays are Forever, A Memoir-A Rite of Passage Through the Marine Corps and Vietnam War.” The proceeds will fund the Richard Delyn Jackson endowment for New Business Frontiers. He also authored the “Last Fast. White Boy: A Memoir”. Proceeds will fund the endowment with the Big Green Scholarship Foundation


F. Selby Wellman

F. Selby Wellman was born in Williamson.WV. to Fred and Hene Wellman. When he was 11, his father moved the family to Huntington. Selby graduated from Huntington High School and later from Marshall University, where he met his future wile. Donna Bins.

After graduation, Selby spent five years in the US. Air Force, where he was trained in computer programming. After an honorable discharge, he was hired as a systems engineer with IBM in Huntington and spent 15 years climbing the corporate ladder.

Selby left IBM as manager of its commercial operations in Washington, DC, taking a job as president of Sales and Marketing at a high-tech networking company in Florida. In the 1980s Selby accepted a corporate officer’s position with Fibercom, a fiber optics company in Roanoke, Virginia, and in 1994, he began his career with a small Silicon Valley company called Cisco Systems.

Selby became senior vice president for Product Development and Marketing in San Jose, California, and for the next six years, served as a corporate officer with Cisco, which became the fastest growing company in the history of American business.

Selby serves on many educational and professional committees, boards of directors and has been instrumental in helping Marshall become a world-class user of networking technology.

In September 2000, Selby took an early retirement to spend time with his Wife, Donna, and their two sons, Brent and Brian.


Cecil H. Underwood

Cecil H. Underwood was born in Joseph’s Mills, WV, the first child of Silas and Della Forrester Underwood. Growing up on a farm and wanting to follow in his father’s footsteps, Cecil studied vocational agriculture at Tyler County High School and went to study agriculture at Salem College.

After one semester at Salem College, Cecil changed his major to political science, history and speech, with a minor in Biology. He earned his master’s degree from WVU in political science, writing his thesis on the legislative process in WV, which was later published.

Education and Politics have been constants in Cecil’s life. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, he taught high school at St. Mary’s for two years before becoming assistant to the president of Marietta College. In 1950, he became vice president in charge of Public Relations for Salem.

In 1956, Cecil left his position when he was elected Governor of WV, although his activity in education never ceased. After serving as governor, Cecil turned to a career in business. He became vice president of Island Creek Coal Company and left that position to become director, then vice president of government and civic affairs for the Monsanto Company. He then was president of Franswood Corp., a land development company and then became president of Cecil Underwood Associated, a public affairs consulting service.

Cecil was re-elected Governor of WV serving from 1997-2001. He is married to the former Hovah Hall and has three children, Ceclia Ann, Craig Hall and Sharon Sue.

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