Official Newsletter of the Marshall University Alumni Association | May 2023

Integrity - Respect - Diversity - Pride

Welcome Herd Alums

Do you remember your commencement ceremony?

The lights. The crowd. The emotions. For many, the moment is simply too much to comprehend at the time. There are certainly feelings of pride, of a job well done, but also feelings of sadness and closure. No longer are you a student at Marshall University, but rather you are taking the next big step in your life.

It is an overwhelming day, but one that many look back on with fond memories many years later. And for those who didn't walk in their commencement ceremony, you can still take pride in your accomplishments and live in the moment through the joy seen in the faces of graduates at Marshall each spring and winter.

The Marshall University Alumni Association and Foundation would like to take this time to say congratulations to all of the 2023 graduates. We welcome you with open arms to the #HerdAlum family and we can't wait to see what you accomplish!

Enjoy reading this edition of the Marshall University alumni newsletter. GO HERD!

MU Office of Alumni Relations

Marshall holds 2023 spring commencement

NIKE CEO serves as keynote speaker

About 800 students took to the stage on April 29 for Marshall University's spring commencement.

In addition to handing out diplomas during two ceremonies recognizing undergraduate and graduate students in the Class of 2023, students had an opportunity to hear from NIKE Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe, who was the keynote speaker for the event.

Donahoe is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He started his career at Bain & Company before becoming the firm’s president and CEO in 1999. Later, Donahoe led ServiceNow and eBay before being chosen to lead NIKE, Inc. in January 2020, having served on the company’s board of directors since 2014. As CEO, he is responsible for the continued growth of NIKE’s global business portfolio, which includes the Nike, Jordan and Converse brands.

Enjoy an abbreviated recap of the day in the link below!


Community Cares Week returns to campus May 23-26

Marshall University is preparing to welcome hundreds of volunteers to its campuses for its annual Community Cares Week: Giving Back to the Herd.

All members of the #MarshallUFamily, including alumni, community members, students, faculty and staff, are invited to volunteer their time and effort to help make Marshall shine. The sweat equity event is slated for Tuesday, May 23, through Friday, May 26.

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith says the event is all about pitching in time and effort to help the university we all call home.

“Last summer, our campus and community came together to embrace the idea of seeking creative ways to support worthwhile causes by donating our time, our talent or our treasure,” Smith said. “The idea emerged to tap into the amazing talent in our community and enlist an investment of time to assist us with completing some projects across our campus. Our first Community Cares Week was born and it was an amazing success.”

In the event’s inaugural year, 451 volunteers contributed a total of 1,240 hours of service doing landscaping, painting, pressure washing, deep cleaning and completing other special projects.


Day of Giving raises $72,000 for university

Marshall University held its second-ever Day of Giving across 36 hours on April 26-27. The event raised more than $72,000 for the university, with gifts from coast-to-coast covering 23 states.

The two-day event, hosted by the Marshall University Foundation, was an opportunity for the Marshall family to join together and make a lasting impact on the students of Marshall and to help shape the future of the institution.

While Marshall has participated in national giving days in the past, this was the second time the university has set aside its own day dedicated to garnering financial support and highlighting those who give back to the university.


Marshall Health, Marshall University and Mountain Health Network boards approve first step toward clinical integration

Marshall Health, Marshall University and Mountain Health Network governing boards voted unanimously last month to authorize signing a letter of intent to form an integrated academic health system with the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

Guided by each of their missions, the newly integrated academic health system will consist of Mountain Health Network’s four hospitals: Cabell Huntington Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, Hoops Family Children’s Hospital and Pleasant Valley Hospital; its ambulatory facilities, medical offices and employed physician practices; and Marshall Health’s physician practice and its facilities.

“Hospitals, physicians, and medical schools across the country are realizing the value of more closely aligning and harnessing the strengths of each entity to benefit the patients they serve,” stated Mountain Health Network CEO Kevin W. Yingling, R.Ph., M.D., FACP. “The hospitals, physician practice and medical school have a strong history of collaboration and the time is right to formalize our relationship.”


MU welcomes new deans, department heads after extensive searches

Marshall University has named multiple new administrators who will guide colleges and departments at the university beginning later this year.

Marshall Provost Dr. Avi Mukherjee said the new leaders were selected after an extensive national search and that their expertise and guidance will be invaluable to the university.

Dr. Don Capener was appointed dean of the Lewis College of Business. Capener has served at the highest levels of university administration for 20 years, including as vice president at Monmouth College in Illinois, dean at both Jacksonville and Utah Valley universities, and as associate provost and graduate director at Utah Valley University (UVU).

Dr. Wesley Stites was appointed dean of the college of science. Stites comes to Marshall from the University of Arkansas where he has served in several capacities including associate vice chancellor for research and innovation.

Dr. Eric Blough will serve as the new dean of Marshall’s School of Pharmacy. Blough joined Marshall as an assistant professor in the department of biological sciences in 2003. In 2012, he became an inaugural faculty member at the school of pharmacy as an associate professor, and then in 2014 as a full professor. He has been serving as the interim dean of the school since January of 2022. 

Dr. Annette Ferguson was selected to steward Marshall’s nursing program. She has been a registered nurse for over 25 years with a focus in critical care and has worked in higher education as a nurse educator for over 18 years. She has been an associate professor of nursing at Marshall University since 2017.

Dr. Maria P. Gindhart was selected as dean of the College of Arts and Media. Gindhart joins Marshall University from Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta, where she has served as associate dean of the College of the Arts since October 2016.

Dr. Rob Quicke has been named the director of the W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Quicke is a tenured professor of communication at William Paterson University of New Jersey, where he served as chair of the communication department from 2017 to 2021.

Alumni News, Chapters

and Member Benefits

Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter hosts sold out event!

Seven-time Marshall University Alumni Association Chapter of the Year recipient, the Marshall University Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley, hosted its annual fundraising dinner on May 2 at the Grand Pointe Conference and Reception Center in Vienna, West Virginia, to a sold out crowd.

Since 2009, this annual event has raised more than $280,000 to support scholarships for students in Wood, Wirt, Ritchie, Tyler, Pleasants and Doddridge counties in West Virginia and Washington County in Ohio. In addition, the funds also support other academic and athletic endeavors.

The keynote speaker at the event was Marshall University President Brad D. Smith. Other attendees at the event from the university included head football coach Charles Huff, athletic director Christian Spears, head women's basketball coach Kim Stephens, Marshall Foundation CEO Ron Area, Executive Director of Big Green John Sutherland and others. The event also saw an appearance from West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice.

Jeffrey Sandy was the 2023 local honoree. Sandy is the West Virginia Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. He is a 1979 graduate of Marshall University. During his 43-year career, he has used his Marshall education to successfully accomplish significant investigations and advanced training domestically and internationally.

For more information about the Parkersburg-based Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter, reach out to chapter president Laurie Martin at [email protected].


Alumni Chapters on the move!

Alumni chapters are a vital cog in the wheel of success at Marshall University. Each alumni chapter provides its members with the means to stay connected to Marshall, while offering unique events and opportunities to give back to the university. 

Alumni chapters are about supporting the goals and objectives of Marshall University, representing Marshall in a positive light in your community, spreading the good news of Marshall to students in your area and fostering a strong bond between alumni and your chapter.

Currently, there are multiple chapters across the United States in varying states of development. Two of those chapters, in Annapolis, Maryland, and Ashland, Kentucky, held events to garner support for their growing groups.

The Greater Annapolis Area Alumni Chapter (pictured above) recently held its first chapter event as it prepares to support alumni in and around Annapolis and on the outer edges of Washington D.C. The chapter event in Ashland, Kentucky, (smaller photo) meanwhile, saw an outpouring of support from the Marshall University Alumni Association, Big Green and members of the Huntington Chapter, another group that is in the development stage.

To learn more about these and other chapters, or to talk about starting your own chapter, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at [email protected].


The original decorative arch was mounted over the entrance way to the 1870/1880 section of Old Main. At that time, this was the "official" entrance to the building. It was covered by plaster for over a century, and was later uncovered and carefully restored.

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


Marshall Foundation

News and Updates

Maier Foundation gifts $1 million to Marshall to establish Sandra D. Thomas Scholarship Fund

The Marshall University Foundation is pleased to announce the Maier Foundation has pledged $1 million to establish the Sandra D. Thomas Scholarship Fund at Marshall University.

Thomas, a Raleigh County native and 1977 graduate of Marshall University, was a member of the Marshall University Board of Governors and an 18-year board member of the Maier Foundation. After a courageous battle with cancer, she passed away in 2022. The scholarship fund will benefit need-based undergraduate students from West Virginia, with preference to students from Raleigh County.

Bradley Maier Rowe, chairman and president of the Maier Foundation, said Thomas was a champion for bettering the education of West Virginians, and expressed his heartfelt gratitude for all that she did for the state.

“Sandy had a steadfast commitment to improving higher education throughout the state of West Virginia,” Rowe said. “The foundation is honoring her legacy by creating the Sandra D. Thomas Scholarship Fund at Marshall University. This endowment will make it possible for Raleigh County students to follow in her footsteps and pursue their education at her alma mater.”


First commercial composting facility in West Virginia launched in April

A donation to Marshall University can impact not only students and the region but the entire state and even the world.

That was evident on April 14 at the ribbon cutting for the first commercial composting facility in West Virginia. This new facility sets Marshall apart as the only university in the world with this level of technology. It took students, the university sustainability department, two former university presidents, lawmakers, government agencies and donors like Leslie Petteys and Tom Wolf all working together to achieve this goal.


Alumnus establishes second scholarship for hometown medical students

Marshall University alumnus Shayne M. Gue, M.D., FACEP, FAAEM, has established a second scholarship at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine to support students from his home county.

Gue was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia, in Cabell County, and earned his medical degree from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in 2015.

“I am forever grateful for the education and training I received during my time at Marshall,” Gue said. “I owe all my successes to the opportunities and support I received along the way, and my hope is that this scholarship will be the support for many future students and their successes as well. As Maya Angelou said, ‘when we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.’”




RCBI begins a new chapter of service with new name

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith joined campus and community leaders, policymakers, and team members of the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) last month to announce a new name for the long-time institute, which now will be known as the Marshall Advanced Manufacturing Center. The announcement comes after approval from the Marshall Board of Governors at its Wednesday meeting.

The rebrand reflects the honing of technical services and workforce training solutions for manufacturers while also positioning the Marshall pillar of excellence for growth.


Board of Governors approves tuition and fees, budget for year

The Marshall University Board of Governors in April approved the university’s budget for fiscal year 2023-2024, which includes a 2.5% increase in tuition and fees for resident and non-resident undergraduate and graduate students, as well as an 11% reduction in tuition and fees for students identified as residents of the designated metro counties in Ohio and Kentucky.

The double-digit reduction for the metro region brings the tuition more in line with in-state tuition offered at schools in the region and compliments the previously approved expansion into additional Ohio and Kentucky counties.


Marshall softball gets to 40 wins, heads to Georgia for final series

Following a 2-1 victory over nationally ranked Virginia Tech on April 25, and another win over Texas State two days later, the Marshall University softball team reached 40 wins on the season. They joined the 2003, 2017 and 2019 teams as the only in program history to surpass 40 wins in a season.

Receiving votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Softball D1 Top 25 Coaches Poll, next up the Thundering Herd heads to Georgia for a series with Georgia Southern to close out the year.


Black earns 24-17 win over Green in annual Spring Game

The Black team jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held off a late surge by the Green team in a 24-17 win in front of 5,577 fans at the 2023 Marshall Spring Game, presented by Ohio Valley Bank, on Saturday afternoon.

Veterans stepped aside from the limelight and young running backs took full advantage for both sides as players showcased their ability on a beautiful day at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.


38 Questions with President Brad D. Smith

When it comes to the 38th president of Marshall University, Brad D. Smith, have you ever wondered what is his favorite holiday? What animal he would be if he could be one? His favorite band? Favorite movie? Favorite snacks?

Learn all of that, and much more, in this fun video getting to know the visionary leader of our university. Oh, and be on the lookout in the video for a special call with a popular West Virginia celebrity!


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.

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