Official Newsletter of the Marshall University Alumni Association | June 2023

Integrity - Respect - Diversity - Pride

Our Community Cares

As you will read in the stories below, this past month Marshall University celebrated Community Cares Week. The event, billed as a chance to give back to Marshall and the Huntington community through sweat equity, began last year with a few hundred volunteers before ballooning to over 700 participants in 2023. Each person providing a labor of love in helping make our campus beautiful, while at the same time saying thank you to those who work tirelessly year-round to do the same.

This year, however, there was an added twist. Nearly a dozen alumni chapters across the country gathered together to provide similar community service projects in their areas. Each of these volunteers proudly donned special Community Cares Week shirts, promoting service in the name of Marshall University in their towns. Hundreds of hours were given in service that week, freshening public areas, volunteering at local schools and providing for our military. You will read all about it below.

The staff of the Marshall University Alumni Association and Marshall University Foundation would like to take this time to say thank you to all of the volunteers that participated during this special event.

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

MU Office of Alumni Relations

Hundreds of volunteers pitch in for Community Cares Week

Campus shines thanks to community support

Marshall University’s second annual Community Cares Week: Giving Back to the Herd was an overwhelming success, with hundreds of volunteers pitching in to make a positive impact on the university’s campuses and centers.

The four-day sweat equity event focused on engaging faculty, staff, students, community members, local businesses and alumni chapters to help check off “To Do List” items for the university, while giving back to the university that has invested in them. Alumni chapters who were unable to make it back to campus worked on service projects in their own communities as well.

This year, the volunteer week surpassed last year’s event by more than 60% with a total of 724 people who pre-registered or walked up to volunteer, working 1,958 service hours. Additionally, there were approximately 100 staff members working anywhere from one shift to all nine by leading projects, as well as a dozen staff or cabinet members serving lunches and drawing raffle prizes each day.


Marshall announces 'Super Marco' theme for 2023 Homecoming festivities

Marshall University is excited to celebrate Homecoming 2023 with a unique theme designed to bring out the inner child in all of us. The university will welcome alumni and supporters back to campus the week of Sept. 25-30 with “Super Marco: Level Up.”

The Super Mario Bros.-inspired theme will celebrate video games throughout the decades, while also paying tribute to the university leveling up its status as one of the nation’s top tier universities.

Several pillar Homecoming events will highlight the week-long celebration, including the annual Unity Walk, Homecoming Parade and numerous tailgates and gatherings throughout the day on Sept. 30. The Marshall University Alumni Association will also celebrate its reunion classes on Sept. 29, as the classes of 1973 and 1998 return to campus for a special evening.

The week will conclude with the Thundering Herd taking on the Old Dominion Monarchs in a Sun Belt Conference matchup at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Dr. Jerry Ross named chief enrollment officer at Marshall University

Dr. Jerry Ross has been appointed as Marshall University’s new chief enrollment officer and vice president of enrollment management, starting from July 3.

Ross will lead and direct the university’s enrollment management efforts, which include student success, financial aid, admissions and recruitment. His role will involve providing strategic guidance and leadership in these areas.

“We are thrilled to welcome such an accomplished leader to Marshall University, ” said Dr. Avi Mukherjee, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “The new appointee’s impressive background in enrollment management, online education, and student success makes him well-suited to achieve our strategic enrollment goals and attract and retain a diverse and talented student body.”

Ross has nearly 20 years of experience in enrollment management, having worked at various institutions such as Purdue University, Syracuse University, the University of Florida, West Virginia University and Southern Miss. He currently serves as the associate vice president for enrollment management at California State University, Chico.


Moss, Parker on 2024 College Football Hall of Fame Ballot

Marshall football greats Randy Moss and Chris Parker are on the ballot for the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation announced.

Moss and Parker were both listed on the 2024 Divisional Player Candidate list, which was due to their careers starting when Marshall was a member of Division I-AA (now FCS).

"What an incredible honor for Marshall to have multiple representatives on the most prestigious list in college football," Marshall Director of Athletics Christian Spears said. "Having two players as nominees not only speaks to the success and respect of Marshall's football program, but also to the impact those players had on college football. We applaud Randy and Chris for their accomplishments while representing the Thundering Herd and thank the National Football Foundation for recognizing them on the grandest scale, as well.

"Obviously, we recently nominated Randy and are thrilled for this enormous recognition for his remarkable accomplishments while at Marshall. The previous nomination of Chris Parker continues to bring Marshall enormous pride. It is our hope the voters will recognize his contributions to college football as well."


Game themes revealed for 2023 football season

Marshall Athletics has announced a schedule of its game themes for the 2023 season – all fittingly themed "We Are."

It is part of a season-long celebration that incorporates our motto into many different initiatives. This season's celebration includes special recognition and special friends – such as beloved contemporary Christian singing talent and national inspiration Marlana VanHoose, who will join the Herd for a pair of games this season.

VanHoose, who was born with Cytomegalovirus and is blind, took the sold-out Cam Henderson Center by storm with her rendition of the National Anthem during the 2022-23 basketball season. Now, she will bring her talent to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for two games – to sing the National Anthem for the Virginia Tech game (Sept. 23) and to offer her rendition of God Bless America for the Military Appreciation game (Nov. 25).

For a full list of game themes, click on the link below.


Alumni News, Chapters

and Member Benefits

Community Cares Week expands beyond Huntington thanks to alumni chapters

Marshall's second annual Community Cares Week was a success - both in Huntington and around the country. In addition to hundreds of volunteers on campus, alumni chapters chipped in and participated in their own communities with service projects designed to give back and represent Marshall in a positive light.

The Marshall University Alumni Greater Annapolis Area Chapter formed earlier this year and has hit the ground running with its involvement in Community Cares Week being the chapter’s second event.

“It was really important for our chapter to participate as our leadership team felt it was an opportunity for us to support the university by giving back to the community even many miles away,” said Megan Barbour, chapter president. “The Marshall family cared about each of us during our time at the university so it’s our turn to show we care about the community of Marshall.”

The Annapolis chapter volunteered at the Kenneth R. Dunn Municipal Pool at Truxtun Park, which is gearing up for its summer season.

“The pool we are volunteering to clean at is always full of high school students and we hope our volunteering there continues to spread the word of Marshall and encourages young persons to be curious, explore their educational options and maybe find their college family in Huntington at Marshall,” Barbour said.

Down in the South, the Marshall University Alumni Association Raleigh-Durham Chapter provided travel kits to its local USO, based at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Morrisville, North Carolina. The chapter also encouraged local teachers to send artwork or notes from their students to share with the military personnel.

“North Carolina is home to several military bases, including Fort Bragg, the largest military base in the country,” said Barbara White, chapter president and chair of the chapters committee of the Marshall University Alumni Association board of directors. “For many of us, we want to give back to people who make so many sacrifices for our country, and as Marshall grads, we realize that some of these members are from our home state, or perhaps even Marshall alumni given that we have an active ROTC program. It’s a small way to say, ‘thank you for your service.’”

White said Annette Green, a member of the MUAA board of directors, identified the need for the travel kits and shared the idea with the chapter leadership team. Green is a USO volunteer at the RDU Airport and is spearheading this project in addition to her regular activities as a USO volunteer.

Back home in Huntington, the Marshall University Greater Huntington Alumni Chapter contributed to an array of projects on Marshall’s campus.

Jill Jackson, co-president of the chapter alongside Melissa Blatt, said it was essential for the recently reestablished chapter to take part in Community Cares Week.

“It’s been my goal since I joined the MUAA board to relaunch the chapter,” Jackson said. “For this to be one of our first projects is just the perfect opportunity to be together. I want this chapter to be the flagship chapter as Marshall is right in our backyard and as such, we need to be involved with events like this.”

Other contributing alumni chapters included the Marshall Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Myrtle Beach Marshall Alumni Chapter, Marshall University Black Alumni, Marshall University Southern Coalfields Alumni & Big Green Chapter, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Alumni Chapter, Eastern Panhandle Alumni Chapter, and Society of Yeager Scholars Alumni Chapter. More than 80 volunteers from among the chapters participated.


Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter Treasurer Ed Hoffman presents a check to Krystle Davis, senior director of donor relations at the Marshall University Foundation. They are joined by Danny Miller, director of philanthropy, and Matt James, executive director of alumni relations, at the Marshall Foundation.

Chapter Updates

Coaches Tour

Representatives from the Marshall University Alumni Association, the Big Green Scholarship Foundation and Marshall Athletics were busy during the month of May visiting alumni chapters in the region during their annual Coaches Tour stops.

Pictured above, the Southern Coalfields Alumni and Big Green Chapter, based out of Beckley, West Virginia, hosted its 33rd annual golf tournament and ball drop to raise money for scholarships.

Additionally, the Coaches Tour visited the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Alumni Chapter, Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter and others.

Mid-Ohio Valley Chapter

In May, the Marshall Alumni of the Mid-Ohio Valley chapter set a new record during their annual scholarship fundraiser dinner with more than $48,000 raised to help students attend Marshall University.

More than 250 individuals attended the dinner last month, attended by dozens of Marshall representatives including President Brad D. Smith and Athletic Director Christian Spears. Through tickets and an auction, the chapter raised funds for a variety of programs at Marshall including scholarships for incoming freshmen, the School of Medicine, H.E.L.P. Program and to athletic priorities at Big Green Scholarship Foundation.

Recently awarded co-chapter of the year for 2023, the Parkersburg-area chapter awarded eight scholarships last year to students in the area, bringing their lifetime total to 112 scholarships awarded. 


Marshall's final Homecoming game at Fairfield Stadium took place on Oct. 20, 1990. In that game, UT Chattanooga scored with 20 seconds remaining to steal a 29-23 victory. The following year the Thundering Herd played its home games in the newly-opened Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

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


Marshall Foundation

News and Updates

United Bank pledges $100,000 to Marshall University's new Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation

The Marshall University Foundation and United Bank have announced that the bank has pledged a $100,000 gift in support of the new Brad D. Smith Center for Business and Innovation at Marshall University.

In addition to investing in the new building, the student organization space in the facility will be named in honor of United Bank for their support of Marshall University.

Andrew Dawson, market president of United Bank’s Huntington market, said that investing in Marshall’s newest academic facility is also an investment in Huntington and the region.

“At United Bank, we are proud to invest in our communities, the state we call home and local students through education. It is important to invest in the new College of Business because of how pivotal Marshall University and the College of Business are to the local and regional economy,” Dawson said. “Marshall is integral in educating and training the next generation of talent in the region. Once graduates enter the workforce, it is going to raise the talent level in the region. We will begin to see an influx of high-level students and professionals to the region because of this significant investment in high-quality business education.”



Isabella Griffith

Because of the Yeager Scholarship, former student body president Isabella Griffiths has had a Marshall experience like no other.


In addition to opening the door to meeting new people and mastering new subjects, Bella had an opportunity to study abroad this past summer, visiting Oxford University and touring Europe where she had the chance to experience new cultures and the world.

"The Yeager Scholarship was an amazing opportunity and I'm very blessed to have it. It gave me the opportunity to study new subjects, to meet amazing new people from all over the world and this past summer it afforded me the opportunity study abroad. I would have none of that if it weren't for scholarships through Marshall." 

Caleb Spainhower

Caleb, a three-time graduate of Marshall from Raceland, Kentucky, chose to attend Marshall because of the "family atmosphere that encompasses each class of students and faculty."

"I started my journey as a young Kentucky boy with a passion for science and a dream of becoming a doctor. Through the generous and selfless acts of making my scholarships possible, I was able to finish undergrad and my master's degree without any debt. But on top of that, I have now achieved that dream of becoming a surgeon. Without a shadow of a doubt, I could not have made it without the kind and caring acts of each of you that helped me pursue my lifelong dream through the scholarships. From the bottom of my heart, thank you."

Allison Himes

Allison, recent Class of 2023 graduate from South Point, Ohio, double majored in music and psychology with a goal to become a music therapist. Allison was very active on campus as a resident advisor and desk assistant in the residence halls, a presidential and School of Music ambassador, a tour guide and a BCM worship team member. She plans to stay involved and give back with her time and service, continuing to be a resource to Marshall.

"Scholarships mean support for my future. It means so much to me that someone would invest and fund into a student's life. It takes so much weight off my shoulders to know that I won't have to worry about paying for college and that is only because of the wonderful donors that support us."



Univeristy returns to D.C. with State of the University July 26

Marshall University President Brad D. Smith cordially invites residents in and around the Washington D.C. area to attend the 2023 Marshall University State of the University Address on July 26.

This wonderful event provides a unique opportunity for faculty, staff, alumni and friends to interact with congressional members and their staff to learn how Marshall is tackling the challenges of tomorrow with the solutions of today.

RSVP >>>

Marshall SOM to host Standing Out in Our Field 8 Aug. 26

The School of Medicine presents its annual scholarship fundraiser, Standing Out in Our Field. We'll spend the evening in "Margaritaville," beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and followed by dinner & dancing from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Barboursville (WV) Soccer Complex.

Dinner will be served by current medical school students. Music will be provided by Santa Cruz. Thank you to our Dean's Circle sponsor Mountain Health Network.


Researches seek participants for study on art intervention in aging

Researchers at Marshall University seek participants aged 55 or older for a new health study designed to examine the impact of visual art activities on the well-being of aging adults.

This health study, supported with funding from The Huntington Foundation, will evaluate the effectiveness of a community-based visual art workshop as a way to improve multiple areas of health and well-being by using assessment tools for cognition, depression, stress, pain, social connection and loneliness.


Rolling Thunder Bike Share auction open to public

Own a piece of Marshall history!

The Rolling Thunder Bike Share is being upgraded and you have the opportunity to own a limited edition, Marshall-branded bicycle from the inaugural bike share at Marshall.

These bikes are perfect for the avid Marshall fan's memorabilia collection or to ride through town in style. The auction is open to the public and runs through June 19 at 4:30 p.m.


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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