April 2021 
West Liberty University invites prospective students to Meet Your Major! These new virtual informative programs were created to fit individuals based on interests! Taking place April 12 - 16, prospective Hilltoppers can pick from five colleges based on the majors that most suit them! Click here for details and to sign up todayThank you!
From left, President W. Franklin Evans and WesBanco CEO Todd Clossin are shown at the press event announcing the generous gift that funds the first-ever endowed professorship.
WesBanco gives $100,000 
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., March 22, 2021 — West Liberty University announced a gift of $100,000 from WesBanco today. The money will go toward funding the university’s first-ever endowed professorship. 

“This is an empowering gift that will strengthen academics in a real way, and I’m very grateful to WesBanco and to President and CEO Todd Clossin for placing trust in our university to deliver a solid return on this investment,” said Dr. W. Franklin Evans, WLU president.
“We are pleased to support the endowment of the Kenneth B. McMillen Distinguished Professorship in American Studies. Dr. Evans’ passion for funding faculty positions that expand and strengthen the West Liberty University educational experience is inspiring,” Clossin said.

“We are fortunate to have West Liberty University in our community. We all benefit from the quality of their students and we at WesBanco thank Dr. Evans for his leadership,” Clossin concluded.

Executive Director of the WLU Foundation Angela Zambito-Hill expressed her thanks for the gift that will be added to the already established Kenneth B. McMillen Fund.

McMillen died in 1985 and his wife Muriel started the fund in her husband’s memory, associate professor of Political Sciences from 1946-1980.

“We will soon be able to fund WLU's first-ever faculty position, the Kenneth B. McMillen Distinguished Professorship in American Studies,” she said. 

“This gift raises the bar especially for a small state college. It funds something I work for daily, endowment growth. This gift from our friends at WesBanco is uplifting and represents a robust addition to our portfolio of support for the university,” she said.

“The McMillen Endowed Professorship brings recognition to the university and will provide our students a unique opportunity to experience courses in the interdisciplinary field of American Studies under the supervision of a scholar dedicated to the study of American culture, history, and politics,” said Dr. Jeremy Larance, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts.

“Our goal is to reach $500,000 in this fund by the end of fiscal year 2023,” Zambito-Hill added. “We are looking for additional donors who value Liberal Arts and American Studies.”

The planned professorship means that the university can attract quality applicants and will strengthen the education of students studying the Liberal Arts at WLU.

“Professor McMillen is beloved by our alumni and he is remembered fondly by many,” Zambito-Hill said. “The WLU Foundation is thrilled to be able to now make this endowed professorship a reality with WesBanco’s gift.”

A special plaque honoring Professor McMillen and major donors to the endowed position will be installed in Elbin Library. For more, please contact the WLU Foundation at 304.336.5635.
Academic Strength
Posters are prominent in the annual research symposium known as RECAP.

Academics Shine 

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., March 31, 2021 — West Liberty University offers students a chance to compete for prizes based on academic success during the annual RECAP symposium.

Open to all undergraduate and graduate students, the competition rewards outstanding achievement in scholarly Research, Creative Activity, and Performance (RECAP). It also is a chance to win prizes.

“The competition is West Liberty University’s way to celebrate the research and creative efforts our students make yearly. All judging of presentations is to be completed by April 7 so that the committee can have time to prepare for the awards ceremony, which will be virtual this year due to pandemic safety concerns,” said Danielle Mehlman-Brightwell, a faculty member who serves on the RECAP committee.
The virtual awards ceremony will be streamed via Topper Station on April 14.

RECAP includes four different styles of academic scholarship consisting of research posters, oral presentations, research papers, artistic performances and creative works.

“RECAP drew 52 participants this spring and represents all academic colleges and many of our programs,” said Dr. Robert Kreisberg, professor of biology who has been involved in RECAP since its inception. 

The panel of judges, consisting of faculty, graded the students on their research and performances using a formal system of scoring.

Mehlman-Brightwell is overseeing the category of oral presentations. Other committee members include: Dr. Drew Banghart, assistant professor of English (research papers), Dr. Melinda Kreisberg, professor of biology (creative work and performances) and Dr. Gayle Jesse, associate professor of computer information systems (research posters).
Hughes Lecture 2021
Clockwise from left, poets Marc Harshman, Frank X. Walker and Kari Gunter-Seymour will be featured in the April 21 virtual event open to the public. 

Hughes Lecture 2021

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., April 7, 2021 — Three published poets will take the stage at WLU’s Hughes Lecture on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. Free and open to the public, the virtual performance gets started at 7 p.m.

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman, Ohio Poet Laureate Kari Gunter-Seymour, and Frank X. Walker, founder of the Affrilachian poets are the featured artists who will read from their work during the Hughes Lecture. The reading will be followed by questions and answers

“Like most institutions, the arrival of COVID-19 last spring resulted in cancellations and we had to cancel our 2020 lecture so we are pleased to have the Hughes Lecture back this spring,” said Dr. Scott Hanna, English professor and chair of the Hughes Lecture committee.

The date for the lecture honors both the celebration of National Poetry Month and the April birthday of William Shakespeare.

To attend the virtual lecture presented on Zoom, audience members must notify the WLU Foundation of their desire to attend and they will be sent a secure link via email. This is easy to do via the link: wlufoundation.org/hughes.

Appointed in 2012, Harshman is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia and resides in Wheeling. A native of Randolph County, Ind., Harshman began to write as a high school student and published his first poem while a student at Yale.

His fourteenth children’s book, “Fallingwater,” co-written with Anna Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017 and has been an Amazon Book of the Month choice, as well as a Junior Library Guild selection. 

His latest collection of poems, “Woman In Red Anorak,” won the 2017 Blue Lynx Prize and was published by Lynx House/University of Washington Press in 2018.

He is co-winner of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award for this poem, “Poet in the Schools” and his Thanksgiving poem, “Dispatch from the Mountain State,” was recently printed in the New York Times. 

Harshman holds degrees from Bethany College, Yale Divinity School, and the University of Pittsburgh. In 2014, Harshman received an honorary doctoral degree from WLU. 

Gunter-Seymour is a ninth generation Appalachian and is the first woman and first Appalachian to be selected to serve as Poet Laureate of Ohio.

Her current collection, winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award, “A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen,” is available from Sheila-Na Gig Editions. She is the founder and executive director of the Women of Appalachia Project, an arts organization that addresses discrimination directed at women from the Appalachian region.

Gunter-Seymour has provided poetry workshops to incarcerated teens and adults and women in recovery and teaches virtual monthly generative writing workshops to the general public. 
She holds a bachelor of fine arts in graphic design and a master in commercial photography degrees, and is a retired instructor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Her award-winning photography has been published nationally.

Walker is a native of Danville, Ky., a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and completed an MFA in writing at Spalding University in May 2003. He has lectured, conducted workshops, read poetry and exhibited at over 300 national conferences and universities.

A founding member of the Affrilachian Poets, he is the editor of “America! What’s My Name? The “Other” Poets Unfurl the Flag” and “Eclipsing a Nappy New Millennium.”

A Kentucky Arts Council Al Smith Fellowship recipient, his poems have been converted into a stage production by the University of Kentucky (UK) and is widely anthologized in numerous collections.

His visual art is in the private collections of Spike Lee, Opal Palmer Adisa, Morris FX Jeff, and Bill and Camille Cosby. The University of Kentucky awarded him an honorary doctoral degree for his community work and artistic achievements and he now serves as associate professor at UK. He is the editor/publisher of “PLUCK!,” the Journal of Affrilachian Art & Culture.

The Hughes Lecture Series is named after Dr. Raymond Grove Hughes, a beloved teacher who joined West Liberty in 1931. His endowment gift established the Hughes Lecture Series Endowed Fund, managed by the WLU Foundation. For more info call 304.336.5635.
Go Toppers!
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Hilltoppers to Host

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., April 5, 2021 – The wrestling team will have the opportunity to defend its 2021 NCAA Division II Super Region Three crown on its home mat next season.
The NCAA announced Monday that West Liberty has been selected to host the 2022 NCAA Division II Super Region Three championship tournament. The one-day event is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2022 inside the ASRC on the Hilltopper campus.
Wrestlers from the following Super Region 3 schools – Ashland, Davenport, Findlay, Glenville State, Indianapolis, Lake Erie, Notre Dame (Ohio), Ohio Valley, Tiffin and Wheeling – will join the Black and Gold in the battle to qualify for the 2022 National Championships. The NCAA Division II Nationals will return to the Americas Center in St. Louis for the second straight year on March 11-12, 2022.
"We're excited and honored to have been chosen to host the 2022 NCAA Division II wrestling regional," WLU athletic director Lynn Ullom said. "We have a long history of successfully conducting first-class NCAA events at our venues and appreciate the opportunity to bring yet another championship tournament to the Ohio Valley."
This marks the fourth time West Liberty has been selected to host an NCAA Division II regional wrestling event, having hosted previous regionals in 2002, 2015 and 2019. The Hilltoppers also served as host school for the 2003 NCAA Division II National Wrestling Championships at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling and have hosted numerous regional championships in such various sports as basketball, softball and golf over the years.
"Having the opportunity to host another NCAA regional isn't just a great thing for us, it's a great thing for all the other Super Region 3 teams," head coach Danny Irwin said. "Hosting these events is no small or easy task but our administration and staff always do an astounding job of ensuring a first-class experience for all the coaches and student-athletes. I'm sure that's why we've been selected to host so many championship events."
Irwin, the reigning Super Region 3 Coach of the Year, and his Hilltoppers are looking to build on the momentum from their historic 2021 season. West Liberty won the school's first-ever NCAA Division II regional title, placed fourth at the NCAA Nationals in St. Louis – WLU's highest national finish in program history – and had multiple national champions for the first time in more than 60 years of wrestling on the hilltop.
With a star-studded nucleus returning and another bumper recruiting crop on the way, the Hilltoppers are committed to making another trophy run at nationals and can't wait to go for back-to-back regional titles in front of their loyal fans.
"After the year we've all gone through, a nice bonus to having the regional here is helping give some of our local Ohio Valley businesses a little boost as they work to get back to where they want to be," Irwin said. "I know our coaches and student-athletes are looking forward to having a full and raucous crowd in the arena next February, which will definitely give our guys a bump in their performance!"
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