By Will Adkins
As a representative of The Phoenix, I was fortunate to attend the 150th anniversary Gala for Glenville State College. The event also celebrated the school’s change from college to university status, which followed the gala the following Tuesday.
The gala was a formal event with many high-profile members of the college. Individuals who attended were faculty and staff, coaches, current and former board members, donors, and alumni. It took place in the ballroom on the third floor of the Mollohan, where the Aramark staff catered the event, serving filets, shrimp, pasta, and asparagus. There was a plethora of drinks available at the gala, ranging from champagne to Michelob ultra. There was even a sweet and festive Glenville-blue beverage (whipped cream optional). Dinner and drinks were included with the $35 ticket for the admittance.
Speeches were made and toasts were given at the gala, with an opening prayer being said by a local priest. Following the prayer, former Glenville Provost Kathy Butler spoke on the rich history of Glenville, explaining how the citizens of Glenville managed to raise the funds for the opening of the school by themselves. She pointed to the illustrious reputation that the college has when it comes to producing some of the top educators in the state and how it is only right that the education program is the department to catapult us into university status. After that, Wayne de Rosset, Professor Emeritus of English, gave a toast to Glenville, its faculty and staff, board of governors, and students, as well as the future of the college.
Among the eating, drinking, and making merry activities, I was able to get a hold of a few of the faculty and staff for some comments on the massive changes coming to the college.
For Mike Kellar, head football coach for Glenville State, “the possibilities are limitless.” Kellar praised the administration, noting that they have done a wonderful job getting us to this point in time for our school. Kellar also mentioned the new attention the name will bring to possible recruits. “The university status will be big for recruiting. The option to get a master’s degree at the same school where you participate in athletics is very attractive to not only football players, but for all student athletes.”
Maureen Gildein, a key member in the education department, had much to say about the changes. “This addition offers a wonderful opportunity for the close-to-home students in central West Virginia. The option for these students to come to Glenville for a master's degree in education is so valuable.” She was also very high on the affordability of the new program: “Knowing that they do not have to travel too far or pay far more at another college for the degree is a huge win for us. I feel like that is a major boost when it comes to Glenville’s attractiveness.”
The admissions office was certainly excited for the school’s name change. J.D. Hensler, a recent addition to the department, was optimistic about the expansion of Glenville State now that it is a university. “With the addition of the master’s program for education comes a lot of new opportunities to expand our masters’ programs in the future, possibly opening up to graduate programs in business, criminal justice, and more.” Hensler is also excited about the possible addition of money that the program will bring in.
Larry Gwinn, an admissions counselor, is most excited about the possible growth in the overall success of the student. “You would have to imagine that the job placement for Glenville State grads will increase; the chance for current education majors to be able to stay where they are and get their master’s degree under professors they know and have relationships with will be big.”
After all this was said, Rikki Butler, the admissions counselor in charge of international students, kept her comments short and sweet. When asked if excited for the new opportunities on Glenville’s horizon, her answer was simple: “Yes!”
The night was a celebration of the success and the progression of Glenville State, full of laughter and dancing that went late into the night. I stayed until the last dance, enjoying the passion for Glenville and its success that was palpable in the ballroom. This celebration and gathering of those who care for it supported the idea that the best is yet to come for Glenville State University.
I hope we can do it again soon.