August 2021 

It's Not too Late 

Enjoy the brief video below to hear from senior Emily Rudy asking "What are you waiting for?"
What are you waiting for?
From left, President W. Franklin Evans presents Flip West with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree in recognition of her service. 
Degree Awarded 
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., July 12, 2021 — West Liberty University gained a new alumna at a special commencement ceremony held July 8, 2021 at Stratford Springs Restaurant.

Held to honor Phyllis J. “Flip” West of Wheeling and Naples, Fla., the live ceremony was streamed via Topper Station for family and guests who could not attend.

Approved by the Board of Governors, the honorary degree ceremony was planned for spring 2019, but was delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sen. Ryan Weld delivered a brief commencement speech stressing that you’re never too old to plan your future. Weld also thanked West for her enduring support.

President Dr. W. Franklin Evans conferred the degree upon West after welcoming the honoree and reading her official degree for all to enjoy and applaud.

The conferring of the doctoral degree is based on West’s support for the vision of West Liberty University as a model of educational excellence. It highlights the fact that she has distinguished herself as an individual of strong character and high ethical standards; and is a strong contributor to a number of WLU initiatives through the WLU Foundation.

Additionally, West has immersed herself in the Wheeling and Naples communities through the Make a Wish Foundation, United Way, and Collier County School Association holiday program for needy students. A positive advocate of continuing and lifelong learning, West was at a loss for words and was thrilled with the honor.

“This is the most precious gift that I have,” she said. “The two best gifts of my life are this diploma and my husband.”

“On behalf of the WLU Foundation Board of Directors and staff, we congratulate Flip West on this well-deserved honor and express our gratitude for all she and Gary have done to advance the university,” said Executive Director of the WLU Foundation Angie Zambito-Hill. 

Executive Director of Alumni Affairs Ron Witt delivered an alumni pledge and welcomed West officially to the alumni association, ending with the phrase “Hail to West Liberty.”

President Evans continued his remarks, speaking directly to Mrs. West:

“Thank you for the investment you made in the institution. There is a saying that behind every great man there is a great woman. You have been supportive and giving, standing with him (Gary) in support of this institution. Thank you. I realize that thank you are two small words but I want you to know how much we appreciate you.

“At graduation, I tell our graduates to give back, and refer to another saying that states ‘service is the rent you pay to be a human being.’ You have been an amazing human being in your philanthropy to WLU. I’m hoping this is just an extension of your philanthropy, so please don’t stop. And now you can proudly say I am an alum of WLU.”

West and her husband are responsible for many gifts to the university. The Gary E. West College of Business bears Mr. West’s name as an alumnus and long-time friend of the university and in recognition of his endowment of the West College of Business Scholarship Program. Other major gifts the couple are responsible for include the West Family Stadium and the West Family Athletic Complex, along with countless smaller gifts.

West started his career decades ago by purchasing Valley Welding Supply Company and refining the business practices he learned at WLU to grow the single shop into Valley National Gases, Inc. West’s business became the largest privately held distributor of industrial and medical gases and welding supplies in the United States. Gary and Flip West were married in 1959.
The special ceremony is archived on Topper Station and can be viewed here.

Save the Date

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 25, 2021 — In-person Homecoming will return to the West Liberty University Hilltop for fall 2021 and the date is set for the weekend of Oct. 15 – 17.

“We are looking forward to seeing alumni and friends join us back on campus after a year of virtual interactions,” said Dr. W. Franklin Evans, WLU president.

Plans are now in the works for creating a bigger and better celebration that will include both student and alumni activities. Details will be released later in the summer.

“We missed everyone last fall when Homecoming was canceled due to the pandemic and we want to spread the word now that alumni and friends should save the date and come home to the Hilltop for this annual celebration. We promise that it will be a great time,” said Ron Witt, executive director of Alumni Affairs.

“It will be a perfect time to meet our new president too, for those alumni who haven’t had a chance yet,” Witt added. President Evans began his tenure at WLU this past January.

The Hilltopper football team, coached by Roger Waialae, will play Fairmont State University in a 1 p.m., Saturday game that day. Halftime festivities will include the announcement of the Homecoming King and Queen and announcement of the Wall of Honor alumni.

For more information, please contact Witt at 304.336.8844.
Hilltopper Athletic Club fans enjoy the Charlie Annett Hospitality Box during home football games!
Hilltopper Athletic Club fans enjoy the Basketball Track VIP area during home games!

Athletic Club is Back

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Aug. 4, 2021 — After a year of pandemic restrictions, West Liberty University athletic fans will find a revitalized Hilltopper Athletic Club something to cheer about.

“We are back in action this fall with new and improved benefits for our fans, including corporate sponsorships. VIP club memberships are available at all levels, beginning with a Young Alumni rate and going all the way up to the Championship Sponsorship, so please call me at 304.336.8401 today,” said Alexis Montes, assistant director of Alumni Giving. 

“Hilltopper Athletic Club members are the backbone of support for our athletic programs and we are grateful to our loyal fans that join and provide the university with needed dollars for athletic improvements.”  Some of the improvements that the HAC paid for recently include:
  • Wall art for the basketball lobby in the Academic, Sports, & Recreation Complex (ASRC)
  • LED lighting for locker room entry ways
  • State of the art cameras for practices and mandated conference film exchange
  • Blatnik Hall upgrades to support wrestling, acro and tumbling, and cross country/track.
“It’s easy to see that by joining the Jack Adams Hilltopper Athletic Club, alumni and friends support the winning tradition of Hilltopper Athletics and boost WLU student-athletes! But just as important, the club offers VIP seating in the comfortable hospitality box and a great chance to mix and mingle with alumni and friends. Delicious game-day food, beverages, big screen TVs and more are all part of the advantage of being a member of the club,” Montes said.

Members receive admission to the Charlie Annett Hospitality Box during all home football games and admission to the Basketball Track VIP area. WLU’s football team kicks off a full 11-game schedule at home at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 2 when Coach Roger Waialae's Hilltoppers host Walsh (Ohio) under the lights at West Family Stadium.

Levels of giving and HAC perks start with a Championship Package at the $2,500 level, offering VIP Access for two for all home football and basketball games, parking pass, promotional deals, a VIP company party, plus other advantages. 

To find out more, or to become a part of Hilltopper Athletic Club’s winning tradition, please contact Montes at 304.336.8401 or visit
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