Official Newsletter of the Marshall University Alumni Association | September 2020
Diversity – Integrity – Loyalty – Pride – Respect
Welcome Home
Greetings Herd Alums!


It is a word that we often use to associate with a place that we feel most comfortable. Our physical house. A favorite restaurant. A sporting venue. Our beloved university.

This year, home is going to take on an all-new meaning here at Marshall University. As you will read in the stories below, Homecoming will look completely different this year as we move into the virtual space like many of our peer institutions across the nation. It was a decision that was not taken lightly as we understand and respect the traditions and excitement that are associated with returning to campus in the fall to celebrate this time-honored tradition. But with so many questions regarding the weeks ahead and for the safety of our alumni, which is of paramount importance to us, we have decided to present an entirely new Homecoming experience this year that we are calling "Herd @ Home."

Stay tuned as we put together virtual and interactive activities for you to participate in. While we may not be able to physically gather together this year, we hope you will all join us online as we present to you a rare glimpse behind the scenes at the people, places and traditions that make Marshall University such a wonderful place to call home.

Until then, enjoy reading this edition of Sons & Daughters. GO HERD!

Office of Alumni Relations
Matt Hayes
Larry Crum
Kasey Stevens
Herd @ Home
MUAA Announces Virtual Homecoming in October

Greetings Marshall University friends and family. On behalf of Marshall University, the Office of Student Affairs and your Marshall University Alumni Association, we are excited to bring you a special announcement.

The past few months have been a challenge for all of us. We have all been forced to make changes in our lives, from how we work to the ways we interact with one another. The coronavirus pandemic has presented a challenge to each of us and we are proud in the ways that our university has dealt with these challenges and met them head-on. Marshall University has been a leader and an innovator in new and exciting ways to bring our students, alumni and friends the same Marshall experience that we all love and cherish.

So we are pleased to tell you that those traditions will continue in 2020, albeit in a completely fresh and innovative new format. We are excited to announce that Homecoming 2020 will take place as scheduled during the week of October 19-24 culminating with the Thundering Herd taking on the FAU Owls in the annual Homecoming game.

But this year’s Homecoming will look a little different than what you are used to. We are excited to bring to you “Herd @ Home,” an all-virtual, completely online Homecoming experience. While we are disappointed that we will not be able to meet in-person this year, we are excited to bring you a fresh new take on Homecoming with a week of activities for you to participate.

From games to webinars, interviews with campus leaders, tours of new and historic venues, virtual events such as a 5K and parade, we plan to bring you the best virtual content to make your time away from campus enjoyable.

So join us October 19-24 for “Herd @ Home” and be sure to take part in as many activities as your schedule will allow. We will be announcing the full schedule for Homecoming on in the coming weeks, so check back often.

While we can’t be together in-person this year, we hope that “Herd @ Home” will in some way fill that void and make you feel a part of the Marshall Homecoming experience. We can’t wait to see you online in October!

Marshall University Alumni Association
Marshall, Yeager Airport break ground for Bill Noe Flight School
Marshall President Jerome A. Gilbert and Yeager Airport Director Nick Keller joined federal and state officials last month at the airport in Charleston for the ceremonial groundbreaking for facilities to house the university's new Bill Noe Flight School.

Students return to campus during Week of Welcome
Marshall students returned to campus in August highlighted by the university's annual Week of Welcome for freshmen and first-year students.

The annual event helps new students better acclimate to the college experience through special activities, classes and group experiences. While this year's event was a little different due to COVID-19, students were still able to take in the "Marshall Experience" throughout the week.

New this year, students were greeted upon their arrival with the "porch portrait" outside the dorms for family photos. Welcome to all of our future Herd Alums!
Marshall Football Is Back!

Fans will be permitted at home football games
The Marshall University athletic department will allow spectators during the 2020 football season following consultation with and guidance provided by local, state and school health officials.

Stadium capacity will be reduced and those who purchased season tickets will be relocated throughout Joan C. Edwards Stadium in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. Additionally, a limited number of individual tickets will be made available throughout the season.
Health and safety measures in place as classes begin
Laptops and cell phones are the typical back-to-school items for Marshall University students, but this fall, during COVID-19, masks and hand sanitizers are necessary, too.

Stay up-to-date with the latest coronavirus updates from Marshall University
Keep informed on the latest news and updates from campus as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thundering Herd place five on C-USA preseason list
Marshall University had five student-athletes recognized on Conference USA's preseason football team, including its Most Valuable Player.

Movies to shine brighter at the Keith-Albee
The Marshall Artists Series has received an anonymous gift to invest in a state-of-the-art projector and cinema surround sound system to expand its program offerings. The equipment will be installed at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center. Many Marshall Artists Series patrons have indicated that seeing films at the Keith-Albee is special to them, and with an enhanced system, it will be a new and exciting experience.

Throughout its 84-year history, the Marshall Artists Series has been presenting art house and foreign language films as part of its programs. In fact, the very first event of the Marshall Artists Series in 1936 was a film, "Conquering the Antarctic," which featured a lecture with Rear Adm. Richard Byrd.

Alumni Spotlight: Randi Ward
The life and times of Marshall alumna Randi D. Ward, a retired Language Arts teacher from metro-Atlanta, can best be summed up in a single quote about her life's work.

"All of my stories must have happy endings. In my opinion, we need more happy endings in our troubled and crazy world. Books are for dreamers, like me," she said.

Ward is a dreamer. She is a traveler. She is a teacher, a creator and an artist. Ward is a small-town girl from Moundsville, West Virginia, who turned a passion for life into a career that has taken her all over the world.

Alumni News, Chapters
and Member Benefits
We Will Never Forget

50th Memorial Fountain Ceremony Page Now Live
Every Nov. 14, Marshall University's Memorial Fountain becomes sacred ground, as we come together to pay our respects. It is where every member of the Marshall family wants to be at noon on that date each year - gathered around that graceful monument with friends and our university community.

Now, Marshall is proud to unveil a brand new web page called Never Forget dedicated to those lost in the tragedy. The new website features newspaper clippings, video clips and historical documents from 1970 and beyond, as well as a tribute to the 75 lost that day. You can also leave a memory on the page to share with the Marshall community.

The Memorial Fountain Ceremony, remembering the 50th anniversary of the plane crash, will take place on November 14, 2020. Visit the website for more details as we get closer to the date.

MUAA Member Benefits Corner
Alumni Perks

Back-to-school may look a little different this year. CLICK HERE for some helpful online deals exclusively for Herd Alums to save you money on whatever your needs may be. And if your school days are long gone, these discounts can still be enjoyed by all!

Save on everything from dining to travel using the all-new MUAA Alumni Perks program! CLICK HERE and register to receive custom savings only available to Marshall alumni!
Chapter Spotlight of the Month:
Southern Coalfields Alumni & Big Green Club
The Marshall University Southern Coalfields Alumni & Big Green Club started separately in the 1980s, as the Beckley Athletic Club and the Alumni Club.

In 2017, the Beckley Big Green Chapter and the Beckley Alumni Chapters joined forces to create the Southern Coalfields Chapter. This unique combination allows the chapter to work together on giving to athletic and academic endeavors.

“That was big, it gave a new vigor for both sides,” Chapter President Doug Leeber said. “It seems like when we merged it caught traction immediately, I can’t tell you how powerful it is until you start coming to meetings and events, I can’t brag on them enough, the Herd is stronger together.”

In those three short years, the Southern Coalfields chapter has seen great successes with adding new annual events and continuing to support student academic and athletic scholarships.

“To actually see all the hard work of our chapter go to we’re giving a kid an opportunity to go to Marshall, just to give them $500 and represent our club and Marshall, it’s fantastic,” Leeber said.

“When I went to Marshall, I didn’t have much, I was a regular, poor college kid scraping by with everything he had. To now see that we can give back to them, even if it’s enough to help buy books, or it’s enough to help with their residence hall fees, it gives that student that chance, that extra edge, that may not go to college because they’re missing that little bit extra."

The President’s Circle in the Marshall University Foundation Lifetime Giving Societies was established a decade ago in recognition of individuals, corporations, or foundations who make a contribution or pledge of $100,000 or more in support of Marshall University throughout their lifetime. This giving at the chapter level shows tremendous generosity from the Southern Coalfields Chapter and what can be accomplished through a chapter, even in the midst of transitions and a pandemic.

At a regular chapter meeting, pre-pandemic, the Southern Coalfield Chapter has about 20 regular attendees, with chapter members from all walks of life— former football players and cheerleaders, insurance agents, real estate agents, current and retired teachers, construction business owners and more. This diverse group of volunteers helps create a strong chapter bringing different ideas and experiences to the table.

“It's all hands on deck, that’s the best part. Everyone is willing to pitch in and do anything- whether it be sell tickets, unstack boxes, or put out tables or help serve food, whatever the case may be, no one really complains, everyone jumps in,” Leeber said.

Herd alums Tim and Becky Cyrus are longtime Marshall supporters who became involved with the chapter about five years ago when someone from the chapter noticed their Marshall apparel at a Beckley area restaurant and invited them to a meeting.

“One of the highlights of my year was the thank you letters from last year’s scholarship recipients. Just hearing their plans and how appreciative they were to get a little seed money to get started in school. I just imagine maybe four years from now they’ll be sitting where Tim and I are and helping others,” Becky said.

The chapter is working toward an endowed scholarship fund to reach more students, and currently gives $1,500 per year to four students in the counties they represent-Raleigh, Fayette, Wyoming and Summers.
That spirit of generosity encapsulates the Southern Coalfields Chapter, as they are committed to not only impacting the Marshall community, but the local Beckley community as well.

“They’re just an awesome group of people who are helping Marshall and the community in Beckley, trying to make life better for everyone the best we can in a small way, and we’re happy to be a part of it,” Tim said.

For more information on the Southern Coalfields Chapter or to get involved with the exciting work the chapter is doing, check out their Facebook page at
Marco has come in all shapes and forms during the years, but this version in the early days of Fairfield Stadium is one of the stranger ones. Did you know Marshall got the nickname the Thundering Herd in 1925, and later developed a bison mascot in the 1930s?
Marshall Foundation
News and Updates
Welcome Class of 2024!

The Marshall University Foundation would like to extend a warm welcome to all returning and new students! Throughout the annual Week of Welcome celebration, the Marshall Foundation presented the class banner for the Class of 2024 to sign at their convenience and receive their class pin. We can't wait to see what this class can achieve here at Marshall!
Donor Spotlight:
The Grubber Family
"Education is a privilege. Do not take the easy path; work hard while in school and your effort will be rewarded. Take advantage of your education to learn to think for yourself by carefully and critically evaluating the vast array of information in our world." - Karen Grubber

Articles of Gratitude
We are stronger together!

"Marshall changes lives. Marshall has educated many first-generation college graduates, which in turn changes families, neighborhoods and lives," said Dr. Joe Touma.

Read the latest edition of Articles of Gratitude featuring Drs. Joe and Omayma Touma, four Touma Foundation Scholars who are studying in the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and an incoming freshman who is a member of the latest cohort of Marshall's BS/MD program.

Alumni help Marshall rise through gift to projects

Brent (’02) and Lindsey Sobczak (’03), are helping Marshall Rise through their recent gift to support major initiatives in the university’s comprehensive campaign. The $25,000 contribution will be split between the new College of Business facility and Marshall University’s long-awaited baseball stadium.

New School of Medicine scholarship to support students from Kentucky

Kentucky natives Bobby L. and Eric K. Hardin Miller are establishing the Dr. Bobby L. and Eric K. Hardin Miller Scholarship for first-year medical students at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine with preference given to students from the state of Kentucky.

Virtual Herd Rally 2020
Did you miss the virtual Herd Rally held last Thursday?

Click on the link below to view the event in its entirety! Featuring interviews and fun interactions with Marshall athletes and coaches in football, basketball, soccer and volleyball, performances by the Marching Thunder and Marshall cheerleaders, appearances by Marco, the current student body president and much more, this annual event typically held outdoors at Pullman Square, took place entirely online this year due to the pandemic.

Watch now and get excited for the upcoming athletics season at Marshall University!

Dampier named interim dean of College of Engineering and Computer Sciences

Dr. David A. Dampier, associate dean for research and a professor of computer science at Marshall University, has been named interim dean of the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. Dampier replaces Dr. Wael Zatar, who has stepped down and will return to a faculty position in the college.

Master's program in preschool special education now available online

Marshall University’s Master of Arts in Special Education with a preschool emphasis is now a fully online program, with the exception of the student teaching experience. It is a 39-hour program that leads to full certification in preschool special education. .

Marshall joins ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge

Marshall has joined more than 170 institutions in committing to full student voter registration and participation in all elections through the ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge. ALL IN has launched a call to action for higher education presidents to fully engage students in electoral participation.

Board of Governors approves aviation maintenance program

The Marshall University Board of Governors moved a step closer to the takeoff of its new aviation maintenance program, a joint academic endeavor with Mountwest Community and Technical College. The program will be housed at Tri-State Airport.

NOTICE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many events in the Marshall community have been postponed or cancelled. Please CLICK HERE for updates and additional information. We remain focused and committed to offering the #MarshallUFamily the very best in events, updates and membership services to enjoy during this pandemic. We Are...MARSHALL!
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