Official Newsletter of the Marshall University Alumni Association | March 2021
Diversity – Integrity – Loyalty – Pride – Respect
Ice Ice Baby
Greetings Herd Alums!

As the photo below will attest, February was a challenging month for all of us at Marshall.

Huntington, like much of the country, was struck by a historic round of winter weather that blanketed campus with ice and snow and left much of the region without power. The storms also resulted in a full week of cancelled classes as students and staff were urged to remain at home and stay safe.

But, as always, Marshall and the Huntington community persisted and once again showed just why there is no place like home! During the storms we saw so many people go out of their way to help a neighbor, from helping cut up fallen trees to providing a warm place to rest and shower, the Marshall and Huntington communities came through in a time of need and truly made a difference.

To all of our sons and daughters who lent a helping hand during the February storms - either in the Tri-State area or across the nation in places like Texas - all of us on campus and at the Marshall University Alumni Association say thank you!

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

Office of Alumni Relations
Matt Hayes
Larry Crum
Kasey Stevens
Federal emergency relief money
to be distributed to students

Marshall University is awarding $4.5 million in emergency relief money to eligible students this semester, thanks to a COVID aid package approved by Congress in December.

Marshall officials say the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) guidelines direct how the money will be distributed, which will be based on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.) As such, students will be automatically awarded the grant, if eligible.

“We are very happy to have received this federal money to assist our students,” said Dr. Beverly Boggs, director of Marshall’s Office of Student Financial Assistance. “The award amounts will vary based on the Estimated Family Contribution, with the highest amount of $1,000 being given to students with the greatest need per their FAFSA on file.”

Boggs says other levels of emergency fund distribution are $400, $300 and $200, again based on the student’s existing FAFSA information.
In-person spring commencement planned; lays groundwork for near-normal fall 2021 term

Marshall University President Jerome A. Gilbert announced Monday the university’s spring 2021 commencement ceremony will be an in-person event on Saturday, May 1, at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium with pandemic health and safety precautions in place.

The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m., rain or shine, although in the case of continuing thunderstorms, Sunday, May 2, will serve as the alternate date. To maintain appropriate social distancing, each participating graduate will be provided with four (4) tickets for guests. Masks will be required for everyone in attendance. Graduating students also will be required to wear flat shoes to protect the football field turf.

Also on Monday, Gilbert announced the university would return to a near-normal fall term with most classes delivered in a face-to-face format. He said health and safety and academic committees have been working to develop scenarios and recommendations for the fall term, aimed at ensuring safety of students and employees.

Congratulations Byron Leftwich!
Congratulations to our very own Byron Leftwich on his Super Bowl victory last month as offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

Leftwich helped guide the Buccs to a 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. After starring at Marshall in the early 2000s, Leftwich was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars and played in the NFL from 2003-2012.

He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff as offensive coordinator in 2019.
Huff announces Herd football coaching staff
Marshall head football coach Charles Huff announced the majority of his 2021 staff last month.

"I'm very excited to announce this group," said Huff. "We talked about the core values that are important to me: positive attitude, elite work ethic, compete in everything they do and discipline. The same thing I require from my players, I was looking for in my coaches."

Bios for each staff member are listed in the link below. Additions to the staff will also be announced later this spring.

CEO Panel & Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series returns with virtual event on Wednesday, March 3

Marshall University’s Lewis College of Business and Brad D. Smith Schools of Business will host their third CEO Panel of the Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 3. The free event will be virtual and open to all, with a media Q&A session to follow.

Amidst a pandemic and season of adversity for many Americans, the featured speakers have a depth of perspective and experience to share. They include:

  • Marshall alum Brad D. Smith, executive chairman and former CEO of Intuit, who will serve as the panel’s moderator.
  • Shellye Archambeau, the first Black female CEO in California’s Silicon Valley, who serves as a board member for Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies and Okta Inc. and is the author of Unapologetically Ambitious.
  • Chris Gardner, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and the author of the critically acclaimed book Pursuit of Happyness, the basis for the award-winning movie starring Will Smith.

Marshall President Dr. Jerome Gilbert and Dr. Avi Mukherjee, dean of the Lewis College of Business, will provide welcoming remarks.

CLICK HERE to register and learn more.
You're invited to celebrate Huntington's Sesquicentennial in 2021!

The 150th Anniversary of Huntington will highlight the past, present and future of the city. The year-long campaign will focus on positive stories within the city’s neighborhoods and beyond through various events, collaborations, initiatives and more. The vision is to showcase that Huntington is “always home,” no matter where you find yourself.
Mountain Stage concert set for Friday, Apr. 16 at The Joan
Mountain Health Network will present West Virginia’s own live radio program, MOUNTAIN STAGE with Larry Groce, at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium to celebrate Huntington’s 150th anniversary of becoming a city. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 16.

All seating at the stadium will be general admission. Seating will be socially distanced. Doors at the stadium will open at 6:30 p.m.

MCGILL: 2021 football schedule once again has challenges
A year ago this month, the 2020 Marshall football schedule was revealed. A column written by yours truly ended with this line: "But the journey will be as challenging and intriguing as ever."

That prediction is at least half true. There's no way any of us knew at the time that was written what the coronavirus pandemic would deliver, and how it would alter collegiate athletics in the short and long term.

Why Do You
Love Marshall?
Last month we asked that very question ahead of Valentine's Day and received quite a mix of responses from our alumni family.

The top three words used to describe why we all love Marshall were:

  • Family
  • Tradition
  • Legacy

Other words that continually popped up included strength, friendship, love, excellence, home and community.

There is no doubt, at Marshall University, we are one big family and we appreciate all of you!
Spring Career Expo to take place in March

The 2021 Spring Career Expo will take place on Tuesday, March 30 and Wednesday, March 31 from 1-4 p.m. in the Don Morris Room on the second floor of the Memorial Student Center.

The Career Expo is open to all Marshall University alumni, students and faculty and recruiters will be sharing information on part-time, full-time and internship positions. March 30 will be the Business and Liberal Arts Expo and March 31 will feature the STEM and Health Professions Expo. Additionally, there will be a Virtual Educator Expo on Thursday, April 1.

For more information, visit or contact the Office of Career Education at or (304) 696-2370.
Get the latest COVID-19 updates from campus
Marshall recently published a COVID-19 dashboard that displays real-time data in an effort to keep students, employees, alumni and the surrounding community informed daily.

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Yandle

A Note of Kindness
It started with a note.

“Be nice to others. Not everyone will look like you. Learn to spot the unique and special things in other people. You have the power to touch someone’s life! Love, Dad.” 

As unlikely as it seems, those 31 words written on the side of a sandwich bag would forever change the relationship between a father and his then 9-year-old daughter and set in motion a whirlwind of unexpected events, including a book, dozens of messages from strangers, and an appearance on the TODAY Show.  

“I had no idea that it would become what it has,” recalled Chris Yandle about that first handwritten note made out to his daughter one morning before school. “Honestly, I thought I would only write a handful of messages to Addison, but when she told me not to forget her note one morning when we were running late, I knew then I couldn’t stop writing them for her. She may not read every one, but showing up is what counts.”

Alumni News, Chapters
and Member Benefits
MUAA announces affinity partnership upgrade
You owe it to yourself to check this out!

More choice and expanded coverage options are now available to Marshall University alumni!

Our insurance affinity program has been significantly upgraded for 2021. Membership in the MUAA provides you with access to this new portal. Within a few minutes on the portal, you can see if you are overpaying for home and auto insurance. In the weeks ahead, the portal will allow you to shop life insurance rates with top companies and even secure personal medical coverage via the Exchange.

CLICK HERE to check it out!
Help MU students succeed!
Attention Herd Alums: The Office of Career Education needs your help! Does your company or business offer internships or co-op programs? They'd love to help offer them to Marshall students! Email to get involved with The Office of Career Education!
Marshall Alumni podcast coming soon!
Hey Herd fans, listen up!

The Marshall University Alumni Association is currently developing an alumni podcast featuring news, updates and alumni interviews debuting later this year!

Do you know an alum that would be a great guest on our show? Let us know at and stay tuned for more information about how to listen!
Interested in an alumni chapter in your area?
Our chapters have faced many challenges through the past year, and faced them with grace and success.

From inventing creative solutions for traditional events, to meeting virtually for the year, our chapters have adapted and succeeded. We are also in the process of developing seven new chapters across the United States, thanks to some great volunteers taking the initiative!

Want to see a chapter in your area? It's possible one exists! Check out our Chapter Map on our website to learn more about existing chapters, or email us at to get one started in your area!
While the past month was a historic one in terms of weather, it is safe to say that Marshall University students are no strangers to snowy days on campus.

Glancing through the pages of any yearbook you will find dozens of images of students bundled up and braving the elements to make it to class, as this photo from the early 1980s shows. Do you have any fond memories of snowy days at Marshall?
Marshall Foundation
News and Updates
I Love Marshall!

We all love Marshall University! Now show that love by coloring your very own "I Love Marshall" coloring page courtesy of the Marshall University Foundation and share your artwork with us on social media! And be sure to check out the other coloring pages and activities for alumni of all ages by clicking here.

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 February 2021, 230 donors made 253 gifts towards the five pillars. To date, Marshall Rises has raised $144.9 million and has reached 96% of Phase I of the campaign.

Artifacts of Appreciation:
Alyssa Parks
"When I found out that I received the Marshall University Presidential Merit Based Scholarship and the West Virginia Promise Scholarship, I was so relieved and beyond thankful to know that I would not have to take out as much in loans.

"The campus is beautiful, the people are kind and school pride is overwhelming! I love Marshall because I have never witnessed a community take so much pride in their local college," said Alyssa Parks of Hedgesville, West Virginia.

Artifacts of Appreciation:
Malik Smith
"I was ecstatic to find out that someone had taken an interest in me and wanted to see me accomplish my goal. Everything, without receiving a scholarship in my earlier years at Marshall from maintaining my coursework and extra-curricular activities, would have been difficult. Scholarships have provided some financial incentive and provided me with a peace of mind with affording school," said Malik Q. Smith of Institute, West Virginia.

Board of Governors receives update on new college of business facility

Marshall University is moving forward with construction of a new state-of-the-art facility for the Lewis College of Business, to be built in the 1400 block of 4th Avenue on a plot of land that formerly housed The Flats on 4th apartment complex. Marshall purchased the land in December for $1.5 million.

Dean of Medicine honored with anonymous gift

A physician at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, who prefers to remain anonymous, has established an endowed scholarship in honor of its dean, Joseph I. Shapiro, M.D., in “the spirit of gratitude for his excellent leadership, vision, enduring commitment to the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and Marshall Health,” said the donor.

Internal medicine nurse practitioner fellowship earns accredidation

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has granted accreditation with distinction status to the internal medicine nurse practitioner fellowship program at Marshall Health.

The Marshall program is the 20th nurse practitioner fellowship to earn accreditation and the 17th in the nation to be granted “accreditation with distinction” status. The internal medicine nurse practitioner fellowship at Marshall is the first program of its kind in the state of West Virginia and the Tri-State region.

Teacher education program recognized for academic selectivity

Marshall University’s undergraduate elementary teacher preparation program has been named among the top in the country for maintaining selective academic admissions requirements by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonpartisan, not-for-profit research and policy organization.

Marshall’s program is among only 28% of the 1,276 NCTQ evaluated across the country and among only two programs in West Virginia to earn the highest distinction for selective admissions requirements.

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