GSC News

Glenville State College Recognizes Nine Outstanding Alumni


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Glenville State College
Public Relations Department
(304) 462-4115

GLENVILLE, WV – Alumni and friends of Glenville State College gathered on campus for Alumni Day on Saturday, April 27th where they enjoyed tours of the new Waco Center, lots of bluegrass music on the back lawn of the Alumni Center, and the evening’s alumni awards banquet where the prestigious Alumnus of the Year Award was presented to Rich Heffelfinger.

Rich Heffelfinger

Rich Heffelfinger

Heffelfinger was born in Troy, Ohio, graduated from high school, and then made West Virginia his home. He attended Glenville State College where he played football and graduated with honors in 1980 with a degree in education. He was introduced to the oil and gas industry during college in the form of summer employment, which then led to a lifetime career.

His first oil and gas job was with I.L. Morris Well Service in Glenville where he was introduced to people in the industry. The following summer he worked for Eastern American Energy, also in Glenville, which led to an almost 20 year career with the company. He held many titles during his time with Eastern American, finally serving as President in Charleston, West Virginia. Heffelfinger left Eastern American Energy in 2000 to join Rubin Resources as an owner and Executive Vice President and is still there today.

Service to the industry and community has been an important part of his life. Heffelfinger has been elected and served four terms on the Independent Oil and Gas Association of West Virginia (IOGAWV) Board of Directors, twice serving as president. He was honored by IOGAWV in 2006 with the Gunslinger Award for his distinguished service to the association and industry. In 2013 he was named Oil and Gas Man of the Year by the West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival.

Heffelfinger has also served on the Board of Directors for the West Virginia Oil & Natural Gas Association, Energize West Virginia, Capital State Bank, The Greater Kanawha Valley YMCA where he served two years as Chairman, Glenville State College Foundation Board, and Glenville State College Board of Governors where he is currently serving as Chairman.

He and his wife Twila reside in Charleston and have three children, Heather, Brock, and Blake, and one grandson, Casset Earl.

GSC Alumni Association President John Hoover (left) with Alumni Achievement Award recipient Kim Wilson

GSC Alumni Association President John Hoover (left) with Alumni Achievement Award recipient Kim Wilson

Kim Wilson, Class of 1974, received the Alumni Achievement Award for being named the 2014 South Carolina High School Principal of the Year by the South Carolina Association of School Administrators in December 2013.

A native of Parkersburg, West Virginia, he is principal at R.B. Stall High School in North Charleston, South Carolina.

During Wilson’s four years as principal at R.B. Stall golf, rugby, and swim teams have been added, fine arts program have tripled, and the number of school clubs has increased from five to 65. Under his guidance, an emphasis has been placed on improving academic assistance and professional development for instructors. The additional activities and tutoring opportunities are ways to keep students engaged at the school. Wilson’s school also partnered with the Boeing plant in North Carolina to offer an aerospace program which ties into college classes.

As the South Carolina principal winner, based on school improvement and achievement, Wilson will advance to the national competition in October 2014 in Washington, D.C.

In addition to his Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Glenville State College, Wilson holds a Master of Arts in Counseling and Rehabilitation from Marshall University, a Master of Science in Physical Education from Marshall, and a Specialist in Education degree from the Citadel.

Wilson’s wife Betsy is also a Parkersburg native. They have one son, Wesley.

Glenville State College Community Service Award recipient Mack Samples steps forward as fellow musician Buddy Griffin (left) and GSC Alumni Association President John Hoover (right) congratulate him

Glenville State College Community Service Award recipient Mack Samples steps forward as fellow musician Buddy Griffin (left) and GSC Alumni Association President John Hoover (right) congratulate him

Mack Samples of Duck, West Virginia was presented with the Community Service Award.

Samples is a 1964 GSC graduate and a widely-known square dance caller. He works tirelessly to promote and preserve Appalachian folk culture in song and dance by unselfishly giving his time to teach square dancing. He is also active in traditional music and continues a busy schedule with the Samples Brothers Band who tours the festival circuit. They have three CDs.

He and his wife Thelma (Wilson) Samples ’64 are enthusiastic square dancers. He was presented with the Vandalia Award during the Vandalia Festival in 2003. The award is the state’s highest for preservation of traditional life in West Virginia. As a result, he was featured on the cover of the Spring 2004 edition of Goldenseal magazine.

Samples placed first in the old time banjo contest and fifth in the fiddle contest at the Vandalia Festival in 2006 and is very active in the West Virginia State Folk Festival. In addition to being a talented artist, musician, and educator, Samples is also a novelist. He has written nine books, the most recent entitled 32 Shots: The 1894 Shootout at Boggs, West Virginia. The book is a historical novel about one of West Virginia’s most notorious shootouts which took place in the small town of Boggs in Webster County.

The Samples’ have two children, Tracy and Grayson, who are both graduates of GSC, and two grandchildren.

Edward McKown

Edward McKown

The family of Professor Edward P. McKown was presented with the Posthumous Award in recognition of his distinguished career and his dedication to Glenville State College.

A music teacher for 45 years, McKown taught students from kindergarten through graduate school. He was a master teacher of the Orff Schulwerk approach and a highly regarded clinician on state and national levels.

McKown, Class of 1961, received his master’s degree from Marshall University and was founding director of the Parkersburg South High School Band. He also directed the Fayetteville High School Band and the Parkersburg High School Big Red Band. His love of the theater led him to direct, produce, and star in several productions on his favorite stage with the Parkersburg Actors Guild.

He returned to his alma mater in 1979 as an assistant professor of music and worked at GSC until 1994.

McKown, who died October 19, 2013, was preceded in death by his wife, former GSC Alumni Director Linda (Lambiotte) McKown ’62 in 1989, their infant son Greg, two sisters, Lou Lilly and Helen Wade, and two brothers, Charles and Jack.

Surviving family members include four brothers: Robert ’72 of Fayetteville, Ted of Ocala, Florida, Paul ’59 of Charleston, and Frank of Naples, Florida. He is further survived by his twin sister Marty Booth of Vienna and godson Kevin Carr ’91 of Alexandria, Virginia.

Phil and Kathie Tharp were recently recognized as Outstanding Teachers

Phil and Kathie Tharp were recently recognized as Outstanding Teachers

Phil ‘75 and Kathie (Fox) Tharp ‘74 have distinguished themselves in the field of education and, as such, were recognized together as Outstanding Public School Teachers.

Kathie holds teaching certifications in Elementary Education, Middle School Education 5-8, and Art Education NK-12. During her 40 year career she taught elementary art, eighth grade physical science, sixth through eighth grade art and computer art, and high school Art I, Photo I, 3-D Design I and II, Honors 3-D III, and Honors Independent Studies in 3-D Design. Her teaching career also led her to Australia where she taught two grade levels. She currently teaches at Crosby High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

She holds numerous state and national awards and has presented at the National Art Education Association national conferences in 2005 (Boston) and 2010 (Seattle).

Phil has over 21 years of science teaching experience of which 18 months was spent teaching in Australia, ten years at Parkersburg High School, and four years at Clover Hill High School in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

In 1991 he was selected as one of four core teachers to form a new Governor’s School in Richmond, Virginia. Starting with 70 students, the school now has 727 students and was ranked by Newsweek in the top twenty elite public high schools in the United States.

Phil was the science curriculum specialist at the school up until his appointment as Coordinator of Administration in 1997. He is a past director of the Summer Residential Governor’s School for NASA Langley and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

He holds a master’s degree in Educational Administration from West Virginia University and has taken postgraduate courses in research design, administration, and coursework in gifted education from Virginia Commonwealth University. He recently rotated off of a three-year term on the Virginia Advisory Committee for the Education of the Gifted.

The Tharps have two children and five grandchildren.

Alumni Association President John Hoover (left) with Outstanding Young Alumnus Matt Cogar

Alumni Association President John Hoover (left) with Outstanding Young Alumnus Matt Cogar

Matt Cogar, Class of 2010, received the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award. He has been recognized both nationally and internationally and brought much recognition to his alma mater by finishing in second place at the Stihl Timbersports Series World Championship that was held in Stuttgart, Germany in October 2013. Leading up to the World Championship, Cogar had won the United States Professional Championship competition that was held in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee in June 2013. He was the youngest champion the series had seen since it began in 1985.

He and his family were recently interviewed by Brian Williams on the nationally syndicated ABC news network.

He has been competing in the Stihl Timbersports Series for four years and the second place finish at the U.S. competition propelled him to be a member of the team that traveled to the World Championship competition in Stuttgart, Germany.

Most recently, Cogar won the Stihl Timbersports U.S. Pro Championship for the second straight year. His win, in addition to having the designation of the best lumberjack athlete in the country, came with a brand new truck. He will represent the U.S. team at the World Championship again this year in Austria in November.

Cogar currently works for Gander Mountain. He and his wife, Emma (Bailey) Cogar ’10, reside in Charleston.

Outstanding Young Alumna Award recipient Maggie Beth Ponton with GSC Professor Emeritus Harry Rich (left) and GSC Alumni Association President John Hoover (right)

Outstanding Young Alumna Award recipient Maggie Beth Ponton with GSC Professor Emeritus Harry Rich (left) and GSC Alumni Association President John Hoover (right)

Maggie Beth (Smith) Ponton ’06 received the Outstanding Young Alumna Award. She is currently in her eighth year as General Music teacher at Hedgesville Middle School in Hedgesville, West Virginia.

She currently serves as director for the HMS Handbell & Choir Chime Ensembles. The groups have performed at several venues including New York City and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

She also serves on the Superintendent’s Advisory Council for Berkeley County.

A native of Beckley, Ponton holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Salem International University. She became a Nationally Board Certified music teacher in 2011 and has completed Orff Levels I & II from the University of Kentucky.

She was recently recognized by the WV Society for General Music and the WV Music Educators Association as the 2013 West Virginia General Music Teacher of the Year. She was also a top five finalist for the Berkeley County Teacher of the Year.

When she is not playing flute for the community or singing in her church choir, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband, Tony.

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