GSC News

Braxton County Sisters Among Oldest GSC Graduates

For Immediate Release:  March 22, 2012

Contact: Public Relations & Marketing Department
Glenville State College
Glenville, WV   26351
(304) 462-4115

Glenville, WV – Raised in the Braxton County community of Burnsville in the early 1900s, two of Glenville State College’s oldest graduates are reminded often of the importance of the education that they obtained at Glenville State College.  Sisters Beulah and Rena McPherson are also reminded of how that training propelled them to long and very rewarding teaching careers.

Braxton Sisters

Pictured from left to right: 100 year old Rena McPherson Enoch of Craigsville, West Virginia (Nicholas County) and 102 year old Beulah McPherson Fridley of Elkins, West Virginia (Randolph County). The sisters are originally from Burnsville in Braxton County and are among the oldest Glenville State College alumni. This photo was submitted by their nephew, Tom McPherson of Burnsville in Braxton County.

Beulah McPherson Fridley, now 102 years old and living in Elkins, West Virginia in Randolph County, received a Standard Normal teaching certificate from Glenville State Normal in 1929.  At that time, the sixteen-mile trip from Burnsville to Glenville was an all-day journey that involved riding a train from Burnsville to Gilmer Station and then traveling by paddle boat to Glenville on the Little Kanawha River.  Her teaching career began upon completion of the certificate program.  In the middle of her career, she returned to her alma mater and completed her AB degree in 1948 from Glenville State College.  Beulah enjoyed much teaching success in her career that spanned four decades in Braxton and Lewis Counties.

Her younger sister Rena McPherson Enoch, now 100 years old and living in Craigsville, West Virginia in Nicholas County, followed in her sister’s footsteps with a Standard Normal teaching certificate from Glenville State Normal in 1932.  She too came back to campus in mid-career and received her AB degree in 1952 from Glenville State College.  Rena retired from the Nicholas County school system after more than 30 years of teaching success and has never forgotten the significant part Glenville State College had in her education and teaching career.   This appreciation was conveyed to her alma mater a couple of years ago when she gifted a scholarship for GSC Hidden Promise Scholar students.  In making that donation, she explained that it was her way of giving back to the institution that made her success possible and recognized the potential in thousands of first generation college students in central West Virginia.

Glenville State College President Dr. Peter Barr notes that these siblings’ success stories and their unwavering appreciation to their alma mater are wonderful examples of what the college continues to hear almost daily from alums throughout the region, state, and nation.  “These two ladies looked to Glenville State Normal School as the ‘Lighthouse on the Hill’ in the late 1920s and early 1930s.  They were drawn to the beacon of hope and prosperity that Glenville represented then, and Glenville State College is proud to keep that light shining today for the generations that follow,” said Barr.

Beulah and Rena’s nephew, Tom McPherson of Burnsville, followed in the family’s tradition and graduated from Glenville State College with a teaching degree in 1958.   An avid supporter of his alma mater, Tom has been a member of the Glenville State College Board of Governors and was former president of the GSC Foundation that houses scholarships including GSC’s Hidden Promise scholarships that his aunts identify with today.  He served as loan officer for Kanawha Union Bank before rising to the position of President.  After the financial institution merged with United Bank in 1988, he served as Executive Vice President for United Bankshares until his retirement.  Tom and his wife, Mary Lee, reside in Burnsville.  They have three children:  Jerry, Brad, and Sherrie.

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