May 2006 News Releases

Wednesday May 31, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Dr. Lonnie G. Thompson elected to American Philosophical Society

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Dr. Lonnie G. Thompson, a Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University and a graduate of Marshall University, has been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States.

Members of the American Philosophical Society, which was founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin for the purpose of "promoting useful knowledge," are organized into five classes: Mathematical and Physical Sciences; Biological Sciences; Social Sciences; Humanities; and The Arts, Professions, and Leaders in Public & Private Affairs. Thompson was elected in April to the Mathematical and Physical Sciences class.

Today the society has 943 elected members, 791 from the United States and 152 from more than two dozen foreign countries.   Since 1900, more than 260 members have received the Nobel Prize.

Thompson, a glaciologist and a Senior Research Scientist with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State, has made 50 expeditions in 12 countries studying glaciers throughout the world.

He graduated from Marshall in 1970 with a BS degree in Geology. He and his wife, Dr. Ellen Moseley-Thompson, received the John Marshall Medal for Civic Responsibility from Marshall in 2002, and the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2003.

In 2001, Thompson was named one of America's Best in Science and Medicine by Time magazine and CNN. In 2005, he received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for his pioneering work in the collection and analysis of valuable climatic information contained in ice cores from tropical glaciers around the world. Some consider the Tyler Prize to be comparable to the Nobel Peace Prize.

The American Philosophical Society sustains its mission of "promoting useful knowledge" in three principal ways: It honors and engages leading scholars, scientists and professionals through elected membership and opportunities for multidisciplinary, intellectual fellowship, particularly in its semi-annual meetings.  It supports research, discovery and education through grants and fellowships, lectures, publications, prizes and exhibitions.  And, it serves scholars through a research library of manuscripts and other collections internationally recognized for their enduring historic value.

The American Philosophical Society's current activities reflect Franklin's spirit of inquiry, provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas, and convey its conviction that intellectual inquiry and critical thought are inherently in the best interest of the public.

For more information on the society, persons may contact Nora Monroe, Director of Membership & Prizes, at (215) 440-3430, or via email at

Direct Link to This Release

Wednesday May 31, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

MU's Summer Learning Disabilities Program is June 8-July 8

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's Summer Learning Disabilities Program for children in kindergarten through sixth grade will take place June 8 through July 8 on the Huntington campus, according to Dr. Barbara P. Guyer, Professor of Special Education and Director Emeritus of the H.E.L.P. Program.

The program is designed for students who have learning disabilities, mental impairments, or behavior disorders. Classes will be small, with no more than five students in each class, so that time will be available for individual attention, Guyer said.  

Emphasis will be placed on improving reading (decoding skills), reading comprehension, reading speed, arithmetic examples and story problems, as well as improving self-esteem, organizational skills, test-taking strategies and study skills.

Anyone interested in having their child participate in the program can call (304) 696-6317.  Contact with Gary Hatfield, summer school supervisor, can be made at

The cost for West Virginia residents is $175, metro (selected counties in Ohio and Kentucky) $200, and non-West Virginia residents, $275.  A few scholarships are available for children who qualify for a free lunch during the school year, and arrangements can be made to pay by installments, according to Guyer.  

Sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily.

Direct Link to This Release

Thursday May 25, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Reading and art exhibition by Marshall artists and writers is Tuesday, May 30 at Morris Building Gallery

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University students taking a collaborative course called Rendering the Landscape have taken their summer studies outdoors this month.  The artists and creative writers will present their work at an art exhibition and reading at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30 at the Morris Building Gallery in downtown Huntington.  The event is free and open to the public. 

Students from the department of art and design and the English department spent one week of the first summer session writing, painting, and drawing at Twin Falls State Park, located near Pineville, W.Va. They returned to Huntington this week to develop their projects for Tuesday's event.  Rendering the Landscape is traditionally offered each summer.  This year's course was taught by Emily Ritchey (Art) and John Van Kirk (English).

The Morris Building is located on the corner of 4th Avenue and 9th Street in Huntington.  During the past semester, the gallery has hosted numerous art openings showcasing artwork by each area in the department of art and design.  This event is the first to present work by students in two departments.

For more information, persons may contact Ritchey, gallery director with the department of art and design, at (304) 617-9557, or via email at; Van Kirk via email at; or the art department at (304) 696-6760.

Direct Link to This Release

Wednesday May 24, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall Foundation names new Director of Special Projects

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Kristi K. Arrowood has joined the Marshall University Foundation, Inc. as Director of Special Projects, Foundation board chairman Monica Hatfield announced today.

Arrowood, a resident of Huntington, began her duties on May 1. Her primary responsibilities will include event planning for the foundation, as well as ad hoc special projects.

"My goal is to always try to do something significant that will make an impact on the people around me now, as well as produce an impact for the generations to come," Arrowood said. "This position will fit in perfectly with my goals."

Arrowood, who attended Marshall, received a Certified Development Professional certificate in 1999 from Development Marketing Associates Inc., which is based in Colorado and Indianapolis. She has done extensive work in the fields of development, feasibility studies, and capital campaigns since then all across the country.

Direct Link to This Release

Tuesday May 23, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Weisbergs donating $2.5 million to Marshall University; gift will support Division of Engineering and Computer Science

View Photo Gallery
View Video News Release
View Video of Complete Event 

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Arthur and Joan Weisberg, founders of State Electric Supply Co., Arthur's Enterprises and Service Wire Co. in Huntington, are contributing $2.5 million to Marshall University to support the Division of Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Information Technology and Engineering (CITE), President Stephen J. Kopp announced today. Kopp said the Marshall University Foundation, Inc. will receive the entire amount of the gift within five years.

The gift was announced during a news conference in the Drinko Library on Marshall's Huntington campus. Kopp also announced that the Arthur and Joan Weisberg Division of Engineering and Computer Science is being named in honor of the couple not only for today's gift, but for their many years of supporting the university.

"Art and Joan Weisberg have been wonderful supporters of Marshall University for years," Kopp said. "They have impacted the university in many ways, including establishment of the Arthur and Joan Meyer Weisberg Chair in Software Engineering 15 years ago. Today's most generous gift will enhance the Division of Engineering and Computer Science, and benefit engineering students for generations to come. We are very thankful for their tremendous support."
Art Weisberg said the reason for the gift to Marshall is simple. As the need for engineers grows, so does the importance of educating them locally. Marshall, he said, is the logical place for students to go for that education.
"Ten years ago we didn't have any engineers working for us (at State Electric)," Weisberg said. "We have eight now, and they are very valuable. None of them went to Marshall. To keep bringing people in is very difficult. We have local talent here, we can't sell ourselves short. Unless we have engineers (in Huntington), the standard of living is going to drop. Engineering is where we are going to have to fight."
Art Weisberg describes Marshall as "an asset to the community. If we are going to keep up in the future, we have to be technologically smart," he said. "Marshall is the vehicle we are going to use."

Read the entire press release at

Direct Link to This Release

Tuesday May 23, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

SURE program supports 13 Marshall undergraduate researchers

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University has received funding from West Virginia's Research Challenge Fund to advance research in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics through the support of undergraduate research.

Dr. Michael Norton, professor of Chemistry at MU, said the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program specifically funds 13 undergraduate students who receive stipends totaling $4,000 each and supplies for their research. SURE supports Marshall undergraduate researchers for a 10-week period, uninterrupted by classes, during the summer.

The SURE program, now in its second year, covers a wide array of topics and is directed by Norton. This year's program began Monday, May 22 and ends Friday, July 28. The program enables these researchers to gain knowledge and valuable experience in research of their choice and a head start in building their scientific careers.

This year's research students and project titles are:

  • Justin Angus, Physics: "Effects of Magnetic Fields on the Wannier-Frankel Hybrid Exciton;"
  • Cynthia Austin, Psychology: "Childhood influences on high risk behavior;"
  • Huan Cao, Chemistry: "DNA Nanostructure fabrication for Biomolecular studies;"
  • Elizabeth Fet, Biology: "Further study of Primates;"
  • Kristen Grinstead, Chemistry: "Proteins in reverse Micelles;"
  • David Sovic and Leana Lester, Integrated Science and Technology: "Development of novel Chromogenic Reagent;"
  • Andrew Lino, Geology:  "Rainfall trends in West Virginia;"
  • Charles Lowe, Biology:  "Stochastic Modeling of Sports Data;"
  • Deborah Preston, Biology:  "RhoA in Muscle unloading;"
  • Kevin Saunders, Biology: "Microhabitat selection of Salamander Larvae;"
  • Stacy Skidmore, Biology: "Purification of CHD-1;" and,
  • Cassie York, Biology:  "Biomass and Alkaloid Production in a Microgravity-based NASA Bioreactor."

More information on the SURE program is available by calling Norton at (304) 696-6627.

Direct Link to This Release

Tuesday May 16, 2006
Contact: Bill Bissett, Director of Public Relations, (304) 746-2038

Politics and nonprofits to be discussed at journalism conference May 17-21 at Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - As part of their charge to examine the role of nonprofit groups and the media that cover their actions, the annual "Fourth Estate and The Third Sector" conference will bring journalists, experts and newsmakers from across the nation to Marshall University's Huntington campus this week. This event, co-sponsored by the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism & Mass Communications, is Wednesday through Sunday, May 17-21.

The "Fourth Estate and The Third Sector" is the nation's only program for journalists who cover nonprofit organizations.

Some of the highlights from the conference include:

Radisson Hotel - Wednesday, May 17

4:15 p.m. - Brian O'Connell, founding president of Independent Sector, is the leader of a Washington-based organization that speaks for the nonprofit sector.

7:30 p.m. - Brandt Ayers, columnist and chairman for The Anniston Star, will discuss community journalism and its relevance today.

Marshall's Memorial Student Center - Thursday, May 18

Noon - Marcellus Alexander, Executive Vice President, Television for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), will discuss "How to cover a nonprofit when your boss is on the board."

Marshall's Memorial Student Center - Friday, May 19

11:45 a.m. - Panel discussion about 527s, nonprofits and the 2004 Judicial Election, with panelists:

            -GOP Chair and Brent Benjamin Campaign Manager Rob Capehart

            -Warren McGraw Campaign Manager Andy Gallagher

            -And For The Sake Of The Kids Legal Counsel George Carenbauer

            -WV House Judiciary Chair Jon Amores (D-Kanawha)

3 p.m. - Aron Pilhofer, Special Projects Editor of The New York Times, will discuss Nonprofits & Politics.

Marshall's Memorial Student Center - Saturday, May 20

11 a.m. - Neal Denton, Vice President of Government Relations & Public Policy for the American Red Cross, will discuss the role of the Red Cross in recent disasters.    

For more information about the conference or any of the speakers, please contact Burnis Morris at (304) 696-4635 or

Direct Link to This Release

Tuesday May 16, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University now offers CFP Board-registered program in financial planning

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Lewis College of Business at Marshall University has registered with Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) to provide a new financial planning program. Marshall is the first university in West Virginia to offer a CFP Board certified financial planning program.

An independent certifying organization, CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP and Certified Financial PlannerTM, as well as federally registered CFP, which it awards to individuals who meet its education, examination, experience and ethics requirements.  Students completing the financial planning program at Marshall University will be eligible to sit for the national CFP Certification Examination administered by CFP Board.

"The CFP Board is pleased to have an educational institution of the caliber of Marshall University now offering its approved financial planning curriculum," said Barton C. Francis, CFP, chair of CFP Board's Board of Governors.  "As student interest in financial planning as a career continues to grow, we anticipate that Marshall University's program will contribute significantly to the number of qualified candidates seeking to sit for the CFP Certification Examination."

Lawrence Shao, Division Head of Finance and Economics at Marshall, said the university is pleased to offer a quality financial planning program at the Lewis College of Business.

"The curriculum taught in each of our financial planning courses has been approved by leaders in the industry," Shao said. "Once our students complete all course requirements and pass a national examination, they will be able to apply for their CFP certification."

In considering a school's application to register a program, CFP Board compares the program with the financial planning-related topics identified in extensive, periodic job-task analysis studies.   The job-task analyzes surveys from financial planning professionals to determine areas students should master in order to provide competent, ethical financial planning services.

The topics to be mastered can be categorized into the following broad subject areas: general principles of financial planning, insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning and estate planning.

"Students who major in finance will automatically complete two of the six courses that count toward the CFP requirements," Shao said. "If they plan their schedules carefully, our finance majors will be able to finish three of the CFP courses by the time they graduate. This will help distinguish them once they enter the job market."

More information on the program is available by contacting Shao at (304) 696-4330.

Direct Link to This Release

Friday May 12, 2006
Contact: Bill Bissett, Director of Public Relations, (304) 696-7153

Doubleheader Brings Marshall University Baseball Back to Appalachian Power Park on May 20

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - On May 20, 2006, Marshall University's Thundering Herd Baseball team will team up with the West Virginia Power for a Saturday Doubleheader, starting at 2 p.m.

Special appearances during the Marshall game include President Stephen J. Kopp, who will be throwing out the first pitch, along with music by the Marshall Pep Band.

For tickets, please contact Martha Hill with the Greater Kanawha Valley Alumni Club, 304/744-5149 or the Marshall Alumni Relations Office, 304/696-2901. Tickets are $6.00 each, with special ticket packages available.

Direct Link to This Release

Thursday May 11, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Southern West Virginia students awarded Chafin Scholarships

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. - Two southern West Virginia high school students have been awarded scholarships to attend Marshall University beginning this fall thanks to the generosity of Sen. H. Truman Chafin and his wife, Letitia Neese Chafin.   This is the first time the one-year, $5,000 scholarships have been awarded.

Aaron Wellman of Tolsia High School in Wayne County and Alyson Altizer of Burch High School in Mingo County were selected from more than a dozen outstanding students from the southern West Virginia area.  

The Marshall University Foundation, Inc. established the scholarship through the efforts of the Chafins and the Foundation for the Tri-State Community.

Incoming freshman students who live or attend high school in designated areas of West Virginia Senate District 6, which is represented by Sen. Chafin in the West Virginia Legislature, are eligible for the annual awards. Those areas include McDowell County, Mingo County and parts of Mercer, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

Letitia Neese Chafin is a member of Marshall University's Board of Governors.

Direct Link to This Release

Wednesday May 10, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

MU College of Business conducting study of city's operations

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's Lewis College of Business has been hired by members of the local business community to conduct a study of the city of Huntington's operations. City officials also are involved and participating in the study.

Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp, Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors Chairman Tom Gilpin and Mayor David Felinton announced details of the study today during a news conference at Marshall's Drinko Library on the Huntington campus.

"It's important that when the opportunity arises, the university partner with the city and assist in making informed decisions," Kopp said. "As a major stakeholder, we want to step up and assist in any way we can. We have the expertise and resources to conduct an impartial, evidence-based study."

Kopp said the goal of the study is to generate ideas on how the city can solve some of its financial problems. The study began in April and will continue through most of the summer, according to Dr. Paul Uselding, dean of the Lewis College of Business. "We hope to present a report to President Kopp by mid-September," Uselding said.

The study was facilitated by the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce. Recently, Chamber President and CEO Mark Bugher called a meeting of CEOs from five of the city's large employers - St. Mary's Medical Center, Cabell Huntington Hospital, Steel of West Virginia, Alcon Laboratories, Inc. and Marshall University - to discuss ways to help the city.

"We just started talking about what we could do to help," Bugher said. "Dr. Kopp suggested the university could do a study of how the city operates, and come up with some ideas as an independent third party."

Uselding, at Kopp's request, put together a proposal as to how the study would be done and what it would cost, and that proposal was shared with the business community and city officials. "We all agreed to it and the chamber took it upon itself to raise the money," Bugher said. "We all agreed we wanted to do something."

"The dean made it very clear that when this study is over, it will not be a list of exactly what has to be done," Bugher said. "This will be more of a benchmarking study, where they'll look at other similar communities with similar problems and similar demographics, and look at what they have done. We know further study may be needed when this is finished."

The following members of the business community combined to raise funds to pay for the study: Marshall University, St. Mary's Medical Center, Cabell Huntington Hospital, Steel of West Virginia, Alan Modliszewski with Alcon, Huddleston Bolen, LLP, Steptoe and Johnson, PLLC, Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce, Jenkins Fenstermaker, PLLC, and West Virginia American Water Co.

Felinton said he appreciates Marshall for doing the study and the businesses that funded it. "The university is an outstanding resource and can help us analyze our situation," he said.

Uselding said faculty members from the Lewis College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts are participating in the study. In addition to Uselding, the Marshall team includes Dr. Paul Hamilton, assistant professor of economics; Dr. Loren Wenzel, professor of accounting; Dr. Marybeth Beller, political scientist; Dr. Kurt Olmosk, associate professor of management and marketing; and Dr. Charles Stivason, assistant professor of accounting.

Gilpin described the study as "an exciting initiative. From our perspective, there is no preordained result," he said. "We hope it results in something helpful. Whatever they find, we'll all take a look at it."                                

Bugher agreed that there are no specific expectations from the study.

"The only conditions we put on it when we met with the city is that the city provide Marshall with whatever information it needs, and that we would make the results public," Bugher said. "The chamber's role will be to advocate for changes it feels are most important."

Getting Marshall involved was important for validation of the study, he said.

"We're going to assume that because of the reputation of Marshall University and the School of Business, the recommendations they make will be valid and make sense," Bugher said. "They are a resource we ought to use, and the credibility of Marshall reduces some of the political aspects which are inevitably present in a study of these issues."

Direct Link to This Release

Tuesday May 9, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

News Conference at Marshall University to announce study

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - A news conference to announce a study being conducted by Marshall University's Lewis College of Business that ultimately could benefit the city of Huntington will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 10, in the atrium on the third floor of the Drinko Library on MU's Huntington campus.

Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp, Huntington Mayor David Felinton, and Lewis College of Business Dean Paul Uselding will join other business and city leaders in the news conference.  

WHAT: News conference to announce a study being conducted by Marshall University's Lewis College of Business that ultimately could benefit the city of Huntington

WHERE: Atrium on the third floor of the Drinko Library, Huntington campus

WHEN: 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 10

Direct Link to This Release

Tuesday May 9, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall's annual 'yard sale' is May 15-16

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University's central receiving department will conduct its annual spring "yard sale" Monday and Tuesday, May 15-16 in the Arts Warehouse located at 201 21st St. and 2nd Ave. in Huntington, across from State Electric Company.

The old saying, "one person's trash is another person's treasure" holds true for this sale, according to Carol Skaggs, who is coordinating it.  "We have a lot of treasures," Skaggs said.       

There is a wide array of items available, including vehicles, desks, copiers, chairs, cafeteria equipment, a table saw and much more, she said.

Bids will be taken on both days from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with items going to the highest bidders.  The sale is open to the public.

For additional information or if anyone has questions, contact Skaggs at (304) 696-6678, or

Direct Link to This Release

Monday May 8, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Funeral arrangements complete for Joan C. Edwards

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The funeral for philanthropist Joan C. Edwards, who died Sunday at Cabell Huntington Hospital, is set for 2:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11, at Trinity Episcopal Church.

Visitation is from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 at Klingel-Carpenter Mortuary, located at 328 6th Ave. in Huntington. Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 520 11th St., also in Huntington. Both the visitation and funeral are open to the public.

Per Edwards' request, the six pallbearers at the funeral will include three former Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine students wearing their white coats and three current Marshall University football players wearing their jerseys. Also at her request, music will be performed by a Marshall jazz combo during the funeral service.

"Joan Edwards was a glamorous and genteel person - charitable, visionary, gracious, sophisticated, insightful and very, very intelligent," said Dr. Charles H. McKown Jr., dean of the School of Medicine. "One of her passions was good health, and with virtually all of her passions she had one significant perspective: to focus her resources to provide long-lasting, far-reaching benefits.

"In health, she made her impact known through Marshall's medical school and the cancer center, which has brought to our region a new level of care for malignant illness. The people who will benefit most from her efforts are not necessarily those of us here today but our children, our grandchildren and many generations to come."

Bob Marcum, Marshall's director of athletics, described Edwards as "an amazing woman who touched countless people through her generosity."

"She and her husband loved the Thundering Herd and their contributions to athletics are immeasurable," Marcum said. "The fact that our football team plays in Joan C. Edwards Stadium and on James F. Edwards Field is a testament to their incredible legacy."

Dr. Marshall Onofrio, chair of Marshall's department of music, noted Edwards' many contributions to the arts at MU.

"Mrs. Edwards' contributions to the arts range from the performing arts center that bears her name, to the jazz center which reflects the first names of her and her late husband, and the jazz studies program which was her inspiration," Onofrio said. "With her support we initiated Jazz-MU-Tazz, which this year will celebrate its eighth festival. Her love of jazz will be celebrated at the service."

Onofrio said many Marshall students have been impacted by Edwards' generosity and encouragement.

"I am sure that several music students will remember fondly their meeting Mrs. Edwards at luncheons and receptions where she never failed to encourage them to pursue their dreams," Onofrio said.

Marshall President Stephen J. Kopp said Edwards was a role model for people who wish to make a positive difference in the world. "She was a boundary-breaker, someone who refused to let others limit her in any way," Kopp said. "In many ways her love of jazz music and the performing arts were metaphors for Joan's persona and life.

"She was a strong-willed individual who livened up the room wherever she was. She encouraged women to make an impact in areas that in her view had been male dominions for too many years, like medicine. That impact is evident in Marshall University's medical school, which is named for Joan. It is the first in the country to be named after a woman."

Direct Link to This Release

Wednesday May 3, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Students will be first from College Program for Students with Asperger's Syndrome to graduate from Marshall University

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Goodman will graduate with a master's degree in special education and Reinhardt will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in physics. Goodman will take part in commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. Reinhardt will not be able to attend.

Both, however, plan to attend a luncheon in their honor at noon Thursday, May 4 at the Autism Training Center in Old main room 315 on Marshall's Huntington campus.

"Both of these students are truly remarkable," Dr. Barbara Becker-Cottrill, executive director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center, said. "There were many obstacles to overcome to get to the point of graduation.  Faculty, staff and administration at Marshall University were supportive every step of the way and the students felt that. We knew they could succeed, they knew they could succeed, and with the right support they are seeing a dream come true with a bright future ahead."

Program director Dr. Kimberly Ramsey said people with Asperger's Syndrome fall on the higher end of the autism spectrum. A primary area of difficulty is in relating socially to others, she said.

The College Program for Students with Asperger's Syndrome was developed four years ago by the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall and is unique in the nation for the highly individualized support it provides, Ramsey said.

"There was a great need for a program that would assist students who had difficulty with the social aspects of college but had the academic grades to attend and succeed at college," Ramsey said. "Social challenges can include difficulties understanding another's point of view, taking things literally, being overly sensitive to sounds and other environmental stimulation and obsessive compulsive behaviors. The program provides academic and social tutors and a variety of highly individualized support for each student that helps them overcome their specific challenges." 

Ramsey said many parents of students in the program have said they never thought their children would be able to attend college. While they knew their children had strengths and talents, the thought of trying to survive on a college campus was a road block, she said.

"This program maximizes each student's potential, offers the level of help they need to attend classes, take tests and complete assignments, and helps them enjoy social activities of interest to them," Ramsey said.

Eight students currently are enrolled in the program, and three new students will begin in the fall 2006 semester.  The two graduating students will seek employment after graduation. Goodman hopes to work in the field of special education, and Reinhardt may continue attending Marshall in hopes of obtaining another degree.

More information is available by contacting Ramsey or Becker-Cottrill at (304) 696-2332.

Direct Link to This Release

Wednesday May 3, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

James L. Skidmore to speak at Marshall CTC commencement

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - James L. Skidmore, Chancellor of Community and Technical College Education with the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education, will be the keynote speaker at the Marshall Community and Technical College's commencement this week.

The ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Friday, May 5 on Buskirk Field on Marshall University's main campus in Huntington. If it rains, the ceremony will be moved to the Don Morris Room in the Memorial Student Center. The CTC will award a record 353 degrees.

Skidmore, a native of Braxton County, W.Va., has more than 25 years experience in higher education. Prior to his current position, he served as the Vice Chancellor for Community and Technical College Education. He also has served in positions at what are now West Virginia University Institute of Technology, and West Virginia State University, as well as West Virginia Board of Regents, a predecessor to the Higher Education Policy Commission.

Skidmore has been involved with the state level administration of community and technical college education since joining the central office staff in January 1986. He has been involved in the implementation of Senate Bills 547, 653, 703 and 448 as they pertain to new directions for community and technical college education in West Virginia.

In addition to his duties in the central office, Skidmore serves on numerous state-wide committees dealing with workforce development, economic development and other issues relating to community college education.

Direct Link to This Release

Wednesday May 3, 2006
Contact: Bill Bissett, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Marshall University professor receives Fulbright Scholarship for international lecture and research

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Robin C. "Rob" Capehart, an associate professor and Director of Tax Studies at Marshall University's Lewis College of Business, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for 2006-2007.

As one of the most prestigious and competitive awards for faculty of U.S. institutions of higher learning, the Fulbright Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars (CIES). Individuals who receive a Fulbright Scholarship lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.

With this award, Capehart will travel to Moldova, formerly part of the Soviet Union, to review the country's governmental infrastructure and technology capability, in addition to authoring a guide on the development and implementation of its property tax system.

"As a member of Marshall's faculty, it's a great honor to receive this award that recognizes academic work on an international level," Capehart said. "There are a number of emerging democracies in eastern Europe that are seeking assistance in developing the governmental processes that are needed when moving from a command economy to a market economy. This is a great opportunity to participate in this important transition."

Dr. Paul Uselding, dean of Lewis College of Business, said he appreciates the recognition this award brings to Marshall. "This award is a very special achievement," Uselding said. "It is a rare occurrence within academia that deserves recognition and assists in the strong reputation of our business faculty."

Capehart is from Wheeling, W.Va., and served as the Secretary of Tax & Revenue in Governor Cecil H. Underwood's second administration. In addition to his law degree from West Virginia University, Capehart also earned his Master of Law in Taxation from Georgetown University.

To request a photograph of Capehart, please contact Bill Bissett at

Direct Link to This Release

Monday May 1, 2006
Contact: Dave Wellman, Director of Communications, (304) 696-7153

Hooding ceremonies Thursday and Friday in Charleston, Huntington

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Hooding ceremonies to honor those receiving Marshall University master's and education specialist degrees will take place separately in Charleston and Huntington prior to Marshall's commencement on Saturday, May 6.

The Charleston ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 4 at the Municipal Auditorium.  In Huntington, the ceremony is set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 5 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.  Approximately 340 graduates are expected to attend the two ceremonies.

Each graduate will be recognized individually when a faculty member presents a hood in a color indicative of the recipient's field of study.

In addition, two faculty members, one from the Huntington campus and one from the South Charleston campus, will be honored with the Ashland Inc. Outstanding Graduate Advising Awards.  Two Distinguished Graduate Student Alumnus Awards, one from each campus, also will be given.

Faculty members to be honored are Dr. Kateryna Schray, who teaches English on the Huntington campus, and Dr. Michael Sullivan, special education, from the South Charleston campus.   

One of Schray's nominators called her "the most encouraging professor" she had at Marshall.  Another noted, "Her energy and passion for literature and for her profession inspires others to learn and to make a difference in this field." Another student commended her for "single-handedly creating the only program in the state to offer a medieval/renaissance emphasis," the Graduate Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies.

The chair of her department described Schray as "by far the most student-centric professor I have ever known or worked with.  Her students know this, recognize this and seek her out."

Sullivan's nominators had high praise for him for the work he does beyond the classroom and beyond the world of his research.  One student called him "one of the most committed and caring persons I know when it comes to meeting the needs of those students who participate in special education."

A colleague commented, "Routinely he is available to current and former students and spends untold amounts of time patiently guiding and directing them."  A superintendent of schools said, "Dr. Sullivan is pleasant, professional, outgoing and always takes the time to meet individually with persons requesting this assistance."

Students who will receive Distinguished Graduate Student Alumnus awards are Scott R. Smith from the Huntington campus and Gary L. Park from the South Charleston campus. 

Park earned his bachelor's degree from West Virginia University and a master's degree in Public Administration from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies, now Marshall University. He was president of Thomas Memorial Hospital in South Charleston from 1986 to 1992.  He was president of Wesley Long Community Hospital from 1992 to 1997 when Wesley Long merged with Moses Cone Health System.

Park was Executive Vice President and CEO of Moses Cone from 1997 to 2000.  Currently he is president of the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill.  He also serves as CEO of Rex Healthcare, a 400-bed hospital in Raleigh that is part of the University of North Carolina Health Care System.

Smith earned his bachelor's degree from Marshall in 1967 and completed his master's degree at the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies in 1974.  He became vice president and then president of McCoy & McCoy, an environmental consulting company. In 1989, he founded his own business now known as the Smith Management Group.

In 2004, Smith was appointed chief of staff and executive director of Regulatory Affairs/The Kentucky Environmental and Public Protections Cabinet.  Smith has been actively involved in energy issues related to power plant development, ethanol, bio-diesel and clean coal technologies.

In addition to more than 50 publications and presentations, Smith has frequently provided expert witness and testimony in court and before governmental committees.  For a number of years he was on Marshall's Advisory Board of Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Science Center.

Direct Link to This Release