Official Newsletter of the Marshall University Alumni Association | August 2022
Diversity – Integrity – Loyalty – Pride – Respect
Welcome Home
Do you remember your first day on campus?

The excitement. The nerves. The endless possibilities that lay ahead. Every August there exists is a palpable buzz on campus as residence halls and classrooms come to life and the Memorial Student Center Plaza and green spaces around campus begin to fill with hopeful young faces. As alumni, many of us look back on those first few days with fondness.

The same can be said for members of the Marshall University Alumni Association. The start of a new semester coincides with returns to campus for athletic events and alumni activities. It is an opportunity for those of us who have been away for a while to reconnect with our alma mater in new and meaningful ways. And, perhaps most importantly, this time of year presents a unique opportunity for alumni and current students to interact and learn from one another.

Good luck to all of the students returning to campus for the new semester, and safe travels to all of our alumni who will be traveling to athletic events and back to campus this fall. We can't wait to see you!

Enjoy reading this edition of Sons & Daughters. GO HERD!

MU Office of Alumni Relations
Former Thomson Reuters CEO appointed to Board of Governors
Jim Smith named newest member of Marshall BOG
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has appointed James C. “Jim” Smith to the Marshall University Board of Governors.

Smith, who splits his time between Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, and Toronto, will serve a four-year term ending June 30, 2026.

The former president and CEO of information and media giant Thomson Reuters, Smith is a 1981 graduate of Marshall, which he attended on a football scholarship. He has been inducted into Marshall’s College of Business Hall of Fame and was awarded an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

He replaces H. Toney Stroud, who resigned from the board last month to become the university’s chief legal officer.

“Marshall University changed my life, just as it has countless others,” Smith said. “I couldn’t be more honored to have this opportunity to help us keep doing that for future generations.”

Partnership leads to changes in speed limit around Huntington campus
Steps are being taken to calm traffic and enhance pedestrian safety on major thoroughfares near Marshall University’s campus and in downtown Huntington.

West Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Jimmy Wriston has issued a temporary order reducing the speed limit to 25 mph from 35 mph on Third and Fifth avenues between 6th and 20th streets. Speed limit signage modifications in the affected areas will begin this week.

Meanwhile, the City of Huntington has completed a new crosswalk on 20th Street between Third and Fifth Avenues that will make it safer for pedestrians crossing the street to access the Marshall University Recreation Center or Joan C. Edwards Stadium, and Marshall University will launch a public awareness campaign about pedestrian safety for students, faculty and staff beginning with the fall 2022 semester.

The speed limit reduction, crosswalk and awareness campaign are the result of ongoing discussions among Mayor Steve Williams, Marshall University administrators and officials with the West Virginia Division of Highways following a tragic incident in November 2021 in which a Marshall University student was struck and killed by an oncoming vehicle in the 1800 block of Third Avenue.

Marshall's Ali named to Walter Camp watch list
Marshall star running back Rasheen Ali, who last season collected Freshman All-American honors and led the nation in rushing touchdowns, was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation Watch List. The award goes to the 2022 National Player of the Year, the fourth-oldest accolade in the history of college football.

Ali is one of two Sun Belt Conference football players on the list, along with Coastal Carolina quarterback Grayson McCall.

The accolade is the latest for Ali, who has generated considerable preseason hype following his breakout freshman season in 2021. Last season, Ali dazzled in his first season of collegiate competition, with 1,832 all-purpose yards and a total of 25 touchdowns. The native of Cleveland, Ohio, ranked No. 1 nationally in rushing touchdowns and No. 10 in rushing yards. Overall, he led the nation in total touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and points scored. He ranked No. 10 nationally in all-purpose yards per game (140.9).

Changing The Game

More scholarships being awarded than ever before
During his tenure as president of Marshall University, Dr. Jerome A. Gilbert made it a priority to increase scholarship aid for the student body in the face of rising education costs, and thanks to the Marshall Rises campaign, scholarship aid has increased 44 percent over the last five years with 500 more students receiving aid annually.

Part of the increase has been thanks to the hard work by the university’s Office of Student Financial Assistance, which launched a brand-new way for students to apply for private scholarships through an online portal. Launched in January of 2020, the portal reduces the amount of time it takes both students and staff to find and apply for applicable scholarships.

“We were trying to find scholarships for students by looking at each individual guidelines for each scholarship,” said Tara Hensley, senior financial aid counselor. “And then we didn’t really have something set up to where we could view a GPA or ACT score or the major they’re in or anything like that. We just had to search. It was countless hours.”

Alumni Spotlight:
Patricia Sazy & Denise Vickers

Lighthouses are often viewed as beacons of hope in the darkness. They provide a sense of safety to those who land on their shores. They provide a path leading you home. For Patricia Bodo Sazy and Martha Denise Vickers it was a book about lighthouses that united the two native West Virginians and Marshall University graduates.

“Caesar’s Lighthouse Adventures” is a delightful and informative children’s book written by Sazy and illustrated by Vickers. Caesar, a Lhasa Apso, travels up and down the East Coast with his fellow canine pals as they explore 12 fascinating lighthouses.

Sazy hails from Logan County and Vickers is from Charleston. Currently, they both not only live in Louisville, Kentucky, but they live in the same neighborhood. They became more closely acquainted during their time together in their neighborhood association while decorating for the 2019 holiday season. Each were unaware of their shared West Virginia roots until they began working on the book.

“She’s an excellent illustrator,” Sazy said. “We had gotten to know each other and when I started my book I called her. We then realized we were both from West Virginia and we both went to Marshall.”

“It was just happenstance that we found out we were both Marshall graduates,” Vickers added. “I had an education in art and she said she wanted to do a book on lighthouses and made me the illustrator.”

Alumni News, Chapters
and Member Benefits
Submit your Marshall travel photos!

This summer, travel with the Herd!

Throughout the summer months, we are going to be featuring photos of alumni and Thundering Herd supporters who represent Marshall University while traveling to local beaches and exotic locations around the world.

Submit your photos by sending them to or use the hashtag #MarshallUTravel. Safe travels and GO HERD!
John & Lisa Berger Gilmore
London, England
Sofie Wachtmeister
Siesta Key, Florida
Bill & Lori Woodrum
Cliffs of Moher in Ireland
Tim & Trudy Bucey
Matterhorn in Switzerland
Jamison Hunt,
Jaelyn Hunt, Steve Hunt
Mount Rainier National Park
Jim & Renee Woodrum
Honolulu, Hawaii
Alumni Awards
Nominate an awardee today!

YOU can be a part of Marshall's biggest night of the year for alumni!

Submit an online nomination today to recommend an outstanding member of the Marshall University family for an alumni award.

There are numerous awards including Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna, Distinguished Service to Marshall University, Outstanding Community Achievement and Distinguished Young Alumnus/Alumna.

Nominate someone today or learn more about the awards in the links below!
Woodlands Retirement Community
A premier Continuing Care Retirement Community in Huntington
The Marshall University Alumni Association is proud to partner with Woodlands Retirement Community located in Huntington, West Virginia.

Woodlands Retirement Community is a premier Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) for people 55 and over that sits atop 171 acres of spectacular property overlooking hilltops and valleys in the area. Woodlands is a community that offers peace of mind by catering to three defining areas of living. First, encouraging wellness through an active, independent lifestyle and the companionship of close friends. Second, spacious cottages and apartments and providing services, events and special amenities to provide an unparalleled independent living experience. Finally, providing every resident access to onsite assisted living and memory support, should health care services ever be required.

Woodlands has the distinction of being the region’s only LifeCare community. Residents who choose LifeCare have the security of knowing they will always be able to stay in their Woodlands home – near friends, old and new – even if their health care needs change and they outlive their financial resources.

MUAA Board of Directors
Meet Your Board
Meet your 2022-23 Marshall University Alumni Association Board of Directors. This group of dedicated individuals was on campus on Saturday, July 23, for their annual summer meeting and campus tours.

Interested in joining the board? Contact the alumni office at
Northcott Hall, the original science building, was the second building constructed on the Marshall campus. Though the building was razed in 1996, the archway entrance (seen above) was salvaged and repurposed as a window in the western wall of Drinko Library.

See more throwback photos and #HerdHistory every week on the Marshall University Alumni Association social media channels.

Marshall Foundation
News and Updates
Salem, Hamad establish two scholarships in honor of their children
Dr. Asad Salem and his wife, Ghada Hamad, have recently established the Zaynab Salem Scholarship, named for their daughter, to support first-generation college students studying mechanical engineering at Marshall University’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

The couple had also established the Ebraheem Salem Engineering Scholarship in 2021 in memory of their son, who was Zaynab Salem’s twin brother.

Zaynab Salem earned her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Marshall in 2018. From there, she received her J.D. from Duke University, graduating in 2021. She is an associate practicing patent law at a global law firm in Austin, Texas. Asad Salem said her background in mechanical engineering prepared her for a career in an area of law that is increasing in necessity.

Hamad is also an engineer, but she decided to go into education, and she is a high school math teacher at Huntington High School.

65-year-old scholarship still impacts students today

In 1947, the Marshall University Foundation Inc. was chartered to receive, invest, administer and disburse private resources on behalf of Marshall University.

Ten years later, a well-respected lawyer and alumnus of the then Marshall College, Arthur B. Koontz, made a $20,000 donation to establish a scholarship, the largest donation of its kind to the college. The scholarship is still impacting students today.

Koontz was born at Kessler’s Cross Lanes in Nicholas County, West Virginia, January 29, 1885, one of 11 children. He attended school in Summersville before arriving at Marshall College in 1903.

Koontz’s grandson, George Ragland, said he doesn’t know how his grandfather found himself at Marshall. Ragland’s great-grandfather, John Koontz, was a farmer and stock raiser, but it is clear he valued higher education as all of his children went on to become successful educators, lawyers, doctors and political leaders.

Marshall Rises is the university’s largest fundraising effort to date. The comprehensive campaign includes five pillars where support is most needed:

1. Enhancing the Student Experience
2. Expanding Academics and Growing our Reputation
3. Creating an Environment of Innovative Learning
4. Forming a Foundation of Research and Creative Discovery
5. Deepening Community Partnerships

SOM's Standing Out in Our Field returns Aug. 27

After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, Standing Out in Our Field 7 is happening on August 27. This is the Marshall JCE School of Medicine's largest scholarship fundraiser to support the medical students.

As part of this year's Standing Out in Our Field, please help us raise scholarship dollars by donating on the Crowdfunding link below or by attending this fun event.
Weber named vice president for government relations

President Brad D. Smith today announced senior level university administrator, Charlotte Weber, director of RCBI and vice president of federal programs, has been promoted to vice president of government relations, effective Aug. 1. She will oversee federal, state and community government relations for the university.

The continued evolution of the university’s organization structure, which includes this announcement, allows for realignment of existing resources, and permits the university to expand areas of emphasis and focus.

HLC Quality Initiative set to begin fall 2022

In the fall semester, Marshall will begin a new, three-year quality initiative, as part of the Higher Learning Commission’s accreditation process. Included in the initiative is an array of projects, all with the intention of promoting a strong and inclusive institution through the three-year initiative and beyond.

The overall focus of the HLC Quality Initiative is Building a Stronger and More Inclusive Community. Each of the three years will have individual themes, which correspond with the initiative.

Physician Assistant program receives $1.5 million for rural training

The Physician Assistant (PA) program at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine has received a $1.46 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to enhance the rural training experience of every physician assistant student at Marshall University.

Through the five-year grant, program leaders will implement a four-week rural primary care rotation requirement that may be completed at a site affiliated with Lincoln Primary Care Center in southern West Virginia or Pleasant Valley Hospital in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, with the option of an additional four-week rotation at the other site.

First fellow named in new West Virginia National Guard cyber program

Marshall University welcomes Jaylan L. Mobley (pictured) of the West Virginia National Guard to serve as the university’s first West Virginia National Guard fellow. The fellowship was outlined in the university’s recent memorandum of understanding with the West Virginia National Guard and provides a fellow to work full-time in the Institute for Cyber Security (ICS).

The position will focus on research and involve teaching a class each semester and helping Marshall’s programs maintain a curriculum that is current and grounded in reality.

Submit Your
Content Today!
Have something you would like included in an upcoming issue of the Sons & Daughters alumni newsletter or an upcoming Marshall Magazine?

Please send your updates and content to
519 John Marshall Drive,
Huntington, WV 25703