Official Newsletter of the Marshall University Alumni Association | June 2021
Diversity – Integrity – Loyalty – Pride – Respect
Thank You Herd Soccer!
Wow, what a ride!

For 98 minutes we all watched, palms sweaty, gripping our seats (for the very few who were still seated). Who would win? Would it be Indiana, with its eight national titles in men's soccer and a program steeped in tradition on the pitch? Or would it be Marshall, a newcomer to the national soccer scene? And then it happened, with time running low in overtime, Jamil Roberts banged in a rebounded shot off the boot of Vitor Dias. We had done it. The Thundering Herd had just won the national championship!

It was an experience that captivated the hearts and minds of all of Herd Nation. From coast to coast, Marshall alumni donning as much green as they could fit on their bodies crowded bars and restaurants, huddled at home with friends and family, or made the journey to Cary, North Carolina, creating an atmosphere that would rival that of a packed Joan C. Edwards Stadium in the fall. It was magical.

And it wasn't just that one game. During a two week stretch, Marshall found a way to unseat nationally ranked Fordham, No. 1 overall seed Clemson, defending national champions Georgetown and college soccer powerhouse North Carolina to reach the title tilt with Indiana.

What started back in 2019 when the Thundering Herd made their first appearance in the College Cup men's soccer tournament and earned a tournament win over West Virginia, to the magical run in 2020-21, Marshall's program has ascended from average, to great, to the best in all of college soccer. And it is all thanks to head coach Chris Grassie, who was quickly locked up for an extended stay with the program less than a week after winning that championship match.

So, on behalf of the entire #HerdAlum family - from the soccer diehards to the new converts - thank you to Coach Grassie and the entire Marshall University men's soccer team for a ride that we will never forget. After all...


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

Office of Alumni Relations
Matt Hayes
Larry Crum
Kasey Stevens
It was a magical night at WakeMed Soccer Park as the 10th-ranked Marshall men's soccer team etched its name into the NCAA College Cup history books, defeating the 3rd-ranked Indiana Hoosiers for the National Championship. Senior Jamil Roberts hit his third game-winner of the NCAA Tournament scoring the golden goal in the 98th minute.

The Thundering Herd caps its historical season with a record of 13-2-3. Marshall rolled through some stiff competition on its way to winning its first ever National Championship. The Herd began with a 2-1, overtime victory against No. 23 Fordham in the second round as redshirt sophomore Milo Yosef scored both goals.

Then Marshall took down the No. 1 seed Clemson Tigers, advancing 7-6 in the penalty kick shootout. The Herd advanced to the Elite 8 where it defeated the defending National Champions No. 8 Georgetown as Roberts scored his first game-winner of the postseason in the 70th minute off a pass from junior Vitor Dias. Marshall moved on to the College Cup and the Final Four for the first time in team history, and the Herd kept rolling on with a 1-0 win over No. 16 North Carolina as Roberts again scored the game-winner in the 60th minute, with another assist from Dias.

In four short seasons, head coach Chris Grassie took a Marshall program that missed the 2016 Conference USA Tournament to a National Champion.

Grassie signs new five-year agreement

Marshall men's soccer head coach Chris Grassie has signed a new five-year deal that keeps him signed through the 2025 season, the school announced Friday following the Thundering Herd's 2020 NCAA Title. Grassie will be compensated $375,750 annually.

"Right now we have the best program in the country," coach Grassie said. "I want to make sure we continue to grow and evolve so we can win more championships."

Encova Insurance makes $1.8 million gift to Lewis College of Business
The Encova Foundation of West Virginia has made a $1.8 million gift for the auditorium in Marshall University’s new Lewis College of Business building, home of the Brad D. Smith Schools of Business.

The new facility, which will be constructed on the 1400 block of Fourth Avenue, will feature a 360-seat, state-of-the-art auditorium that will be named the Encova Auditorium. Currently under design, the new facility is expected to be complete by the fall of 2023.  Classes are projected to begin in January 2024.

Freshman retention rate at an all-time high
Marshall University’s retention rate for freshmen is at an all-time high, marking significant success after a challenging year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First-time, full-time freshmen who enrolled in Fall 2019 returned for Fall 2020 at a rate of 78 percent, which is 5 percent higher than the previous year.

Student vaccination awareness effort launched
Marshall University has introduced a public awareness campaign for its student population, encouraging them to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination in an effort to reach #thunderingherdimmunity when the fall semester begins in August.

The hashtag #thunderingherdimmunity plays off the medical term and Marshall’s sports teams.

Alumni Spotlight:
Austin Holmes

Oh, The Places You'll Go
“You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so…get on your way!”

While the oft-quoted line above is from a popular children’s book by Dr. Seuss, the stories contained within “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” about not giving up and seizing your moment carry so much more meaning and can easily be used to describe the launch points of so many bright young careers. 

Take, for instance, Marshall alumnus Austin Holmes. 

Born in Sissonville, West Virginia, Holmes never could have dreamed what adventures would await him after obtaining his Master of Science degree in Exercise Science from Marshall University in 2016. From the beaches of Florida to the picturesque backdrop of Naples, Italy, Holmes has embarked on a journey that has taken him around the world and to nearly two dozen countries as a fitness instructor for the United States Navy.

Maybe Dr. Seuss really did say it best when he said, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

Alumni News, Chapters
and Member Benefits
A fan base like no other!

There is no doubt about it, Marshall has the best fans and alumni on the planet!

Concluding what has been a historic month in the history of our university, we wanted to take a moment and recognize you, our #HerdAlum family, for your support of athletics, academics, students and your fellow alumni! Your support during Marshall's run to a national championship in men's soccer was one of the driving forces behind the team's success.

In the photo collage above, you can see just a few of the hundreds of images that were submitted of fans celebrating Marshall's national championship in men's soccer throughout the week. From all of us in the Office of Alumni Relations - thank you for your continued support and passion for Marshall University!
Career Services Offerings
There are always options available to alumni from the Marshall University Office of Career Education. Here are a few opportunities available to Herd Alums:

Finding a job and building a career can be daunting. Whether you’re looking for a full-time job or don’t know where to begin, Handshake is here to help.
As an alum, you can use Handshake to discover employers and opportunities, submit applications, and attend career expos and other events.

Register for an account by CLICKING HERE - and complete your profile to make the best impression.

A team member from the Office of Career Education will approve your alumni request- from there you can then explore thousands of opportunities that are tailored to your interests!

Career Exploration Experience (CEE)- Job Shadowing
Not looking for a job but looking for ways to give back? Become a host for Career Exploration Experience offered through the Office of Career Education!

CEE allows students to explore careers that they are interested in pursuing through job shadowing and informational interview opportunities. This program is an excellent opportunity for you to become campus involved, interact with students at Marshall, and contribute to the career exploration and professional development of our students.

To learn more, contact Ashley Vanderpool, Career Exploration Experience Coordinator, at [email protected].
National Championship shirts available at local retailers
Own a piece of Marshall history with the hottest item in town - shirts, hats and gear celebrating Marshall's national championship in men's soccer! Here are a few places you can go to get your championship gear today!

Purchasing Marshall gear from any officially licensed Marshall retailer helps support student scholarships!
Members of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Chapter watching the Marshall men's soccer team win the national championship at Buffalo Wings and Rings in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.
Chapters Are Back In Business!
It has been joy to see chapters starting to meet again! From National Soccer Championship game-watching parties to golf outings, we love to see our chapters active again and representing Herd Nation well.

Despite the pandemic, new chapters continued to form, including in areas such as Richmond, Virginia; the New England region; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; and Ocala, Florida.

While we all could have written off 2020 as a bad year, we saw great successes from the mentioned chapter leaders, and so many more alumni. The work done by our committed volunteers continues to change the lives of our students, of which many rely on private scholarships for tuition assistance for their Marshall education.

Looking to join an alumni chapter? For more information on chapters in your area, check out our chapter map on our website by clicking here!
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Did you know Marshall fielded its very first men's soccer team in 1979?

From that very first year - a 1-11-1 season under head coach Ed Saad - to the national championship winning team under the guidance of Chris Grassie, the Thundering Herd has become a rising power in the world of collegiate soccer.
Marshall Foundation
News and Updates
McCloud Family Scholarship established at MU

Marshall alumnus Donald McCloud has established the McCloud Family Scholarship for the university. He received his Bachelor of Business Administration in marketing from Marshall University in 1975. Dr. Beth McCloud, Donald McCloud’s daughter, received both her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry in 2004 and Doctor of Medicine in 2008 from the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

The McCloud Family Scholarship supports full-time undergraduate students who are residents of West Virginia. Students must be in good academic standing with a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate need per the standards of Marshall University’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. First preference is given to a chemistry major from Logan High School in Logan County, West Virginia. Second preference to a physics, engineering or biology major from Logan High School; if none, then from Logan County, West Virginia. Third preference is to a chemistry major from any other county in West Virginia, but preferably the southern counties of Boone, Fayette, Greenbrier, Lincoln, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Raleigh, Summers and Wyoming. The award is renewable for up to four years if the student remains in good academic standing and continues to demonstrate financial need.

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

In May 2021, 593 donors made 883 gifts towards the five pillars as we approach our goal of $150 million!

Artifacts of Appreciation:
Anna Christina Marsh
"I was overjoyed and excited to learn that I would get to continue being part of the Marshall University Dance Team as their graduate assistant/coach. This great honor allows me to do what I love and give back to the dance team, which has so greatly enriched my life; therefore, I would love to develop the program further. I love that I get to continue to be and feel like a part of Marshall University through a pandemic," said Hurricane native, Anna Christina Marsh.

Artifacts of Appreciation:
Madison Knight
"Scholarships not only mean that someone is financially supporting me, they are also supporting my goals and endeavors and rooting for my success. I was excited to learn that I received financial help, which lessens the burden on me and allows me to focus more on my academics and less about money. I would like to tell my scholarship donors how truly grateful I am for their support. It means so much to have them cheering for me as a student," said Madison Knight, a recipient of the John Marshall, Honors and PROMISE Scholarships.

Quarterly Donor Spotlight:

Richard Plymale

In 1947, a 16-year-old Richard Plymale graduated from high school and enrolled in a small college in Mississippi. After attending college for one year with "no clear-cut goals," Richard decided not to return for his sophomore year.

The Korean War began after he made this decision, so he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served for four years. During his time in the Navy, Richard married and had a child, so upon being honorably discharged, he realized a formal education was necessary to adequately support his family. Working 48 hours a week at his full-time job, Richard enrolled at Marshall College.

Little Free Library installed at Yeager Airport in Charleston

Marshall University Libraries and the Cabell County Career Technology Center unveiled a Marshall-themed Little Free Library (LFL) at Yeager Airport in Charleston (CRW) on Thursday, May 13.

The Kelly green, M-shaped library was created from an idea by Dr. Kelli Johnson, associate university librarian at Marshall. The library was created by students in Bret Masters’ building technology class at the CCCTC. Johnson said it was Johnny Bradley, supervisor of library operations at Marshall, who suggested reaching out to Masters in hopes he would be willing to take on the build with his class.

Virtual Jazz Camp for students and adults set for June 14-18

Marshall University’s jazz studies program will host a Virtual Jazz Camp June 14-18 for music students age 13 through adults. The virtual sessions will be offered with sessions at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day and will be livestreamed through the Marshall University Jazz Facebook page.

Jazz-MU-Tazz jazz camp is typically a six-day, five-night camp that is an immersive experience for high school musicians to learn about jazz improvisation and traditions of the jazz idiom. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and safety guidelines, the camp will again be offered as a Virtual Jazz Camp.

NIH awards professor $1.8 million for nicotine addiction research

Brandon J. Henderson, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomedical sciences at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine has been awarded a Research Project Grant (R01), one of the most competitive grants issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Henderson was awarded the $1.86 million five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the neurobiological and neurophysiological changes that occur due to vaping nicotine in flavored products.

WMUL-FM students take home national awards

Students from WMUL-FM, Marshall University’s public radio station, brought home awards from three national broadcasting competitions: the 2020 Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Mark of Excellence Contest, the Hermes Creative Awards 2020-2021 competition, and the 27th Annual Communicator Awards 2021 Audio Competition.

WMUL-FM students won one first-place award and one finalist award in the SPJ Mark of Excellence Contest for Region Four, consisting of West Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and western Pennsylvania.

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!
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